“My name is John, and I am a customer advocate at Dell headquarters.”


The Official Dell Corporate Blog

“My name is John, and I am a customer advocate at Dell headquarters.”

Since joining the team in July, I have typed these words hundreds of times, and I’ve always taken for granted the words would be believed by the recipient. Until a blogger voiced concern about my honesty several weeks ago, I didn’t realize people were placing a large amount of trust in me by merely responding when I contacted them.

When the blogger questioned my veracity, I was decidedly taken aback, but it did make me think. There really wasn’t any reason for this person to believe me other than evidence posted by other bloggers I’ve contacted; bloggers who were happy enough with the results I’d provided to chronicle the exchange on their blogs. For the first time, I felt it necessary to reach into my collection of success stories to provide a blogger I was contacting evidence of my authenticity.

In a previous post, Downs Deering introduced us as a team of Customer Advocates who were reaching out to customers in the blogosphere. Every day, we receive reports from a search string in Technorati and other blog search engines, and we meticulously analyze the results. When we find someone who has an unresolved issue with their Dell computer or our services, we reach out to offer assistance.

The job has been one of the most rewarding I’ve ever had. I’ve had an MP3 player named after me, was able to disclose my opinion about a Hasselhoff music video, worked with our European representatives to solve a problem for a customer halfway around the world, and even had the opportunity to try to reach out to Jeff Jarvis.

In this vlog, you’ll hear more from me and some of my counterparts on the team. If you need help with your Dell, let us know. If you don’t have a blog, you can send us an e-mail at customer_advocate@dell.com."

See the Ogg Theora format for our Linux readers out there.


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  • Hey Dell CA Group,

    I've been in contact with a few people from the Dell Customer Advocacy group.

    Overall, the work you guys are doing is great, and I hope you keep going strong.  I've had both great, and disappointing experiences in my interaction with you guys so far, but in the end you've been very helpful and have done good by me.

    The two issues I've seen that need the most work from the Advocacy Group are:

     1) Some E-mail to your group either doesn't receive a response, or the response takes.. weeks.  I'm sure you guys have had alot of E-mail coming in, and it's likely not easy to keep up, but please see what you can do about this.  I've directed quite a few people to the customer_advocate@dell.com address to seek resolution with ongoing (and imo easily solvable) issues, but some of them have stated they never heard back from anyone at Dell.com and just returned or resold their equipment. :(

    2) Follow up.  In my personal experience with your team, I've found a few minor, but very noticeable issues were overlooked. They'd fall under the heading of follow up.. going back over the original E-mail thread you have had with a customer, to make sure you're not missing a detail.  This is a time killer, but I believe it makes the difference between a happy customer, and a customer who walks away with a solution but isn't satisfied with the experience.

    A small example of issue #2 would be as follows.. a customer with an Inspiron 1710 is looking for a way to play surround sound with their 5.1 speaker system.  After a few E-Mail messages back and forth, the customer is informed he requires a special cable/adaptor to use an RCA/coax s/pdif audio connection with surround sound speakers.  These Dell cables come with either component video, or composite video connectors with the audio connector they need on each type of cable.  Early in the E-mail conversation, the customer mentions they have an hdtv that has component video, wanted the surround sound while enjoying DVD's, but the actual question the customer first posed was "How do I get surround sound from my laptop to my 5.1 speakers?" 

    The advocate in the end, provides a link to buy a cable with composite video and the audio s/pdif connector, which directly provides a solution to the actual question asked. But, it does not take into account some of the information provided during the discussion. The cable with component connections would have been appropriate for this customer.

    I've noticed this type of situation has occured a number of times in different ways, to both myself, and others, and is an issue of attention to detail, or someone being too rushed to push out an answer and move onto the next customers issue.  Simple mistakes do happen, but when the same type of oversights occur regularly, it's not an issue of making a simple mistake here or there.

    I'd like to reiterate, the work you guys are doing is great, and even with the issues I've mentioned, I have also seen ALOT of good resolutions being provided to Dell customers by the Advocacy Group. I'm hoping my feedback can only help to improve the customers experience, and my own in the future.

    Also, Lionel... the Flash video solution in this post, functions far better than the WMV control did. Being able to use the slider to seek through the video would have been very useful in past posts, and will likely be for future video blogs. Thanks!


  • John, your colleauge Richard Binhammer sent me the link to this post.  Yes, I was impressed how you guys track customer issues because Richard reached out to me after I posted my complaint online on my blog.

    So keep up the good work - things are changing at Dell, as I myself noted in a subsequent post.
  • So those are the guys that helped make good on a dead 5150 inspiron??  Thanks go to all.  Strangely enough, about a  week after that was resolved, another person found me and asked if I could help them with a laptop problem.  Guess what...it was another 5150.   I directed them to this blog hoping they would receive an equally good resolution to their problem.   Don't know what happened in the end..but again, thanks to you guys at Dell trying to make customers happy.
  •  I can't imagine any Dell user to be "happy enough" with the "results" provided by anyone from Dell.  I was approached by someone who said they were from Dell about a post I made on my lifejournal, and I can't help but notice that mysteriously, this user named "dellca" is now the owner of a suspended account.  Which is it--did Dell suspended it, or did livejournal realize what a fraud it was?  Seriously, is this where my warranty money goes?  Why not hiring more people to pick up phones so I don't have to wait on hold for a half hour only to be hung up on?  Why not hire more people to read emails so I can get a timely response?  Why not hire more people to make defective products to replace the defective products in people's machine.  I had to wait over a week for Dell to send me my last defective motherboard.  Now they told me one business day.  Two business days and counting.  Not surprising when I call and ask about my order status, after talking to a machine that can't understand me, I have to talk to a person I can't understand who tells me that Dell has no record of me even existing.  Not at all surprised.  There is no communication between any department at Dell.  Everyone I talked to said customer_advocate@dell.com is a fraud.  You don't even let your employees know what's going on, why should you tell me.  Trolling people's blogs seems like an inefficent use of resources, especially considering that there must be so many people dissatatisfed with the piece of utter worthlessness that Dell calls a computer.  This comment does not even begin to express how dissatisfied I am with Dell.  I'll end on a high note.  After over 12 hours of complaining on the phone and getting hung up on, I got stuck with a totally useless computer for 21 days until a refurbished one can be sent.  After just under 2 hours of complaining, by dad got me a sweet deal, supposedly, I have no faith in Dell's ability to follow through, wherein a tech would be sent out, was it today, surely not, and a new, not refurbished, computer would be sent to me in 10 days.  Why should I believe this is anything other than sexual discrimination?

  • Chris, I know John, and he's a good guy. He was telling the truth—our facilities in Round Rock were closed for nearly three days due to ice storms.
  • Eric: Thanks for commenting. Hopefully, when you decide to buy more machines down the road, we'll offer a product you'll want to buy.
  • John,You

    approached me a while back and I believe you were sincere in helping me out.  I didn't believe you at first, but when I saw the path you were taking to visit my website, I could see it was coming from a legit Dell address.  Other than that, I did of course believe you, but in the end I couldn't surrender my laptop even for a few days.  The service you supplied was very noteworthy, but when it came time to buy another high-powered machine, I went another direction.  Nothing to do with the service, but I just didn't like the way my Dell was built, the endless pre-installed software, or the way it keeps lagging in WOW after about 45 minutes of play. (I believe that it has something to do with the machine heating up).  Side by side with the new machine (HP), you can definitely see that Dell is putting out an inferior product in the $1,500 laptop range.


  • Awesome... glad it worked out Chris.
  • I was here yesterday and authored some of the above comments. Actually, I should have given Dell's C.A. another day. This evening, I received his response.

    Dell is addressing my RAM issues and I couldn't be happier. While I had a rough go of it with Calcutta Tech Support, I've got to say that the C.A. Program has been smooth.

    Presently, I'm running on two of the four modules, so my inconvenience is minor. It may be another week before the new RAM modules are here and I'm fine with that as well as popping them in myself if that gets it done quicker.

    As a suggestion to the others, get in touch with the C.A.'s if Tech Support is giving you fits and it can't be resolved. They really do have the power to do something, providing it's within reason.

    No, I don't work for Dell. I'm happy with my E510 which has been dependable until the RAM issues surfaced. Thanks Dell/John!

  • The problem isn't your people, at least the ones that can speak English.  The problem I have faced is the loonnnnggggg time on the phone to fix issues.  I have called twice and have spent more than three hours on the phone.  That is nuts!  My fancy and very expensive Dell PC (XPS 600) is a piece of junk.  It is the worst computer I've ever owned.  I had two other Dells before this one and had a great experience until now.  Calling customer / technical support is similar to buying a car.  It is a terrible experience that I avoid like the bird flu.  I am on the phone right now because another part broke last night.  I don't know how you expect to stay in business with this type of support and machines of such poor quality.  I used to love Dell.  I can name 4 or 5 people that own Dells because I told them to buy a Dell.  I will never tell anyone that again.  In fact, I have told dozens of people in the last few months of my very poor experience and how Dell has fallen.  Maybe it's just karma for making outsourcing customer support. 

  • I too had a bad experience with Dell. For some unknown reason, my brand new Dell XPS 700 system decided to bite the dust to the point it just crashes constantly, blue screens, locks up, and shuts itself off. After dealing with Customer Care for a while I decided to vent some of my anger towards the situation on my personal blog and low and behold to my surprise I was contacted by Larry from the Dell Customer Advocate team. And thanks to Larrys hard work and dedication on the situation and keeping me informed about it, I changed my mind about doing a return on the system and getting a refund. I plan on keeping my XPS 700 and hoping all goes well.

    Larry, if you ever get around to reading this, or my blog again - THANK YOU!

  • go to all. Strangely enough, about a week after that was resolved, another person found me and asked if I could help them with a laptop problem. Guess what...it was another 5150.
  • My current experience with Dell customer service and specifically the "customer advocate" is similar to Emily's in this thread. There has been NO advocacy for me, just the old school run around that has been so well documented in cyberspace already. I am still in the battle though!

    I don't take it too seriously however, knowing in advance that this would all happen, thanks to the dell community forums. Which BTW I applaud dell for hosting! 

    Perhaps the "Soul of Dell" corporate philosophy has not reached the cold realms of Canada yet, but we hope and dream along with our American cousins!

  • One of my blog friends said I should re-post my latest blog here. It's a great idea, so I am. Here it is....

    Don't buy a Dell!

     Just over a year ago, I bought a new computer. It's a Dell XPS 400, with lots of upgrades.
    I should have known better, right off the bat I had problems. The hard drive had to be replaced, the memory had to be replaced, it had to be reformatted a couple of times.
    The last time I had serious problems, I still had the 1 year warranty coverage. I spent hours and hours on the phone with their XPS computer specialists.
    There was one point where they thought that doing a "system restore" would help, thing is, this computer won't do a system restore. The problem was solved without having to do one, but, no one ever told me why my computer which is supposed to be able to do a system restore, won't, and or can't do one.
    It's just over a year now, and my one year warranty expired.
    I now have a Dell XPS computer that cost me approx 1200/1300 dollars, that, will not do a system restore, gives memory errors every time you close a window, and runs as slow on DSL as my old computer on dial-up. (The memory errors started AFTER my warranty expired)
    I don't have the money or the patience to sit on the phone for hours with them any more to have them shuffle me from person to person, with no one really knowing how to fix it, and no one had the balls enough to tell me I got a lemon, or integrity enough to have offered to exchange it in the first place (when the hard drive went bad within a week or two).
    Lesson learned,... #1. Don't buy a Dell, #2. IF you do buy a Dell, make sure you buy an extended warranty of, oh, let's say, at least 10 years.
  • I was wondering if this site still gets a response of any kind from anyone at Dell???

    I have written in detail about my woes with my 1800FP monitor just dying on me on three (3) different occasions in the last month with no response whatsoever. Even an automated reply would let me know there is someone on the other end. :)

    After talking to countless repair techs in this area, I am amazed that Dell didn't contact me about the very real power supply problem this particular model has. Many of the techs said it should have been replaced or recalled by Dell either way long ago.

    Why is the small business owner the last to know and the last to get a solution when Dell hardware goes bad??? I don't expect Dell to send me a newer unit, but I do think that they should respond and offer to fix the one I have already purchased.

    I will be looking at other companies for our next upgrades this Spring. I have only purchased Dell's for the last 7 years and this 1800FP and the one they originally sent(dead pixels) were the only defective purchases I have made.