Now's not the time to mince words, so let me just say it... we blew it.
I'm referring to a recent blog post from an ex-Dell kiosk employee that received more attention after the Consumerist blogged about it, and even more still after we asked them to remove it.In this case, I agree with what Jeff Jarvis had to say: instead of trying to control information that was made public, we should have simply corrected anything that was inaccurate. We didn't do that, and now we're paying for it.
I believe in the customer voice-that's why I signed up for this job in the first place. There's simply no cheating the system. When we're on the right track, folks tend to say some good things about us (or at least give us a second chance). When we mess up, they let us know quickly and vocally. Then everyone watches our reaction like a hawk.
Now, if you'll allow me to shift gears just a bit, here's our own 22 23 Confessions list:
1. Ok, we goofed. We shouldn't have sent a notice. To my earlier point, we appreciate the reminder from the community. Point taken. Yesterday, we also responded to a related IdeaStorm idea from user jmxz. To see more, take a look for comments from our own dell_admin1 and my good pal richard_b.
2. An easy way to scope out deals is to go to the Home and Home Office section of Dell.com and click "As Advertised." In other words, click here. You can see what we're currently offering and then chat live with a rep if you like.
3. We have simplified our pricing and promos. We have reduced the number of promotions per product line and the number for a single product. We've also simplified our rebates.
4. Small Business will be different than Home and Home Office soon. There will be a real difference between systems we offer to consumers vs. small business users that goes beyond price. Since these details depend on upcoming changes in both our Inspiron line and our small business systems, I can't share more details just yet, but you will hear more in a few weeks.
5. We are committed to being the greenest technology company on the planet. It's the right thing to do for ourselves, our environment and our customers. See details in the Programs section of this page for more information.
6. When your computer's effective life has ended, we still care about it as much as you do, so we provide free recycling for all consumers worldwide. We can't wait for our competitors to catch up, since we all benefit from improving our environment. Please remind them.
7. We don't think many people get excited when they have to call the Geek Squad, wait around at their house and then fork over cash when you can do the same thing in the comfort of your home on your own schedule for free. Maybe we're crazy, but we think this is more effective. Turns out our customers seem to agree. DellConnect has helped over 5 million consumers for free and has a 93% satisfaction rate in a little over one year of service. Other tools like PC-Tune-Up help automate confusing aspects of system maintenance And new tools like Dell Support Center centralize system-specific information and provide several options for reaching support to make troubleshooting easier.
8. What if you only had to make one click to make a difference in the environment? Well, we do this everyday via our Plant a Tree for Me program. Through it, we empower our consumers to offset their system's carbon footprint by making a small contribution to purchase a tree at the time of purchase or whenever you want. And, Michael Dell is personally matching any contribution you make in June, July and August.
9. We normally wouldn't have said this in the past, but we have some very cool PCs being introduced later this month. Stay tuned and you'll see what we mean. Matter of fact, I've seen some pictures here and here.
10. We have a very great way for all of our customers to share ideas with us at www.ideastorm.com. Michael actually takes your ideas and shares them widely in our company to ensure that we're all paying attention. When Michael shares ideas with us, I can tell you that we listen extra carefully.
11. Speaking of Michael, you may know that our CEO is only 42 years old. He is a true tech enthusiast who plays World of Warcraft, reads blog posts (and not just Dell's), tracks your ideas on IdeaStorm and he really does have a notebook that runs Ubuntu 7.04.
12. We think we should do more than sell PCs, which is why we have helped over 10,000 children in the U.S. learn how to take apart and build PCs via our TechKnow program and it is also why nearly half of our employees participate in charities. We can always do more, but this is a good start and one of the ways we try to say thank you for your business.
13. It's getting easier to talk with us everyday. You can go to www.dell.com/conversations to learn more. We hope to hear from you and most importantly, we hope to hear your ideas on how we can improve. Many of these tools like the support.dell.com, the Dell Community Forum and Direct2Dell offer additional ways for customers to reach Dell and the community for support.
14. Most of you are probably not checking out a PC and then trekking through the mountains to get home, but for those of you that are, we've built one of the most rugged PCs in the business.
15. We blog in two other languages: Chinese and Spanish-feel free to join the conversation if that suits you. We're having fun with our Chinese blog, since we're the first company to offer one in our industry. There will be a lot more to come.
16. Our XPS systems will soon receive service from technicians in the U.S. and Canada if you buy the system in the U.S. or Canada. We've also hiring more service and support team members in North America in the last 12 months or so.
17. If you want to find Dell products and savings you saw featured in print, just refer to the E-value code for any Dell product in the catalog, flyer or print ad to find the product online.
18. There are a number of Web sites that aggregate Dell coupon offers. Just Google "Dell coupon codes."
19. Dell offers choice. Our customers can order systems with Windows XP, Vista, Ubuntu, or no operating system at all. If Steve Jobs ever changes his tune on OS X, we'd probably offer it too.
20. Dell stands behind its products. Recent example is the XPS 700 Motherboard Exchange program. Here goes the simplified version. About a year ago, we launched a product and promised an upgrade path to next-generation third-party BTX system boards. Since the aftermarket did not materialize as we had hoped, we announced our intentions to offer an XPS 720 motherboard with on-site installation for any XPS 700 customers at no charge. Stay tuned.
21. We have started offering Dell Outlet coupon codes on Twitter.com. More details soon on Direct2Dell.
22. We've made even more progress on the bloatware issue. Now, much more software is optional for all of our consumer and XPS products. We've recently started shipping a software uninstall utility for consumers in the US to make it simple to remove software you will not use. More details here next week.
23. Did I mention that we goofed?
No matter where we are at any point in time, there's always room for improvement. The key to our success in these areas depends squarely on opening the lines of communications with our customers, taking some time to assess what the feedback means, and taking action on that feedback.
We'll keep doing that, and think we'll ultimately be a better company for it. Thanks for indulging me.
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I commend dell on appoligizing for the mistake. Not all companies will admit that they made one
to the marketing/pr team: well done, you're almost there :)
* go a little lighter on the advertising links (it gets obvious..)
* make the article about half as long in future (we have short attention spans) * keep the message a bit simpler e.g. (we goofed, what we've learnt, product placement, we're-one-of-you-anecdote about the ceo)
I am still waiting on the Ubuntu machines to have more options on video cards. If I could order it with the nvidia 8800 like you can with the windows option I would order one today.
There is linux support for the 8800
Seems like a lot of publicity for Dell without any cost.
I think Dell can only beneift from this publicity.
The difference between quality of Dell and HP systems in negligible. For most consumers price is King and the Dell confessions told you when to get the best deals on Dell systems.
Wouldn't surprise me if it was all just a publicity stunt by Dell.
Oldest trick in the book.
Well done Dell!
Thanks for dropping by my boycott Dell post and letting me know about Dell's latest developments.
You've done a great job containing what could have been an ugly situation. You turned a mistake into a learning opportunity. This is how you deal with a crisis.
Great post. Posts like this make you look like you "get it". I hope that you can convince the entire organization that the time of threatening lawyer letters is over.
When attacked on the internet: Counter with facts, in public. It's the only thing that works now.
All the best, Anders
PS And glad to see you mention the XPS m1330, I am so going to get one. Now if only I could get it with Ubuntu here in Spain, Europe.
PPS And please follow my suggestion :o)
Amazing job with this article,
I have been a loyal dell fan since 1997 when I got my first dell at 16, I loved the customer service so much, I was a non paid dell sales man trying to get people to buy Dell's. But 3 months back when I had a monitor problem, I had spent 9 hrs yes 9 hrs on the phone to get the problem resolved. Now a new dell monitor I bought last month is acting up, I am terrified to call dell customer service. Part of me says I should live with the problem. Well I will be posting my 9 hours of dell customer service hell experience somewhere.
BTW the XPS m1330 looks very nice, great job on the design. I am happy dell is coming up with designs that will compete with Apple.
Well done DELL, I think the momentum is with you now.
New exciting products, and a more responsive and more proactive approach- all good pointers to the continuing improvement in customer perception DELL is now beginning to enjoy.
Hey, Imnotta. I saw your comment on Engadget as well. First off, before you doubt my overall sincerity, I'd recommend that you take a look at some of my recent posts here on Direct2Dell.
Regarding the confessions, sorry you didn't find many of them useful. Most are sales and marketing related just like the ones we reacted to. I know that some folks may already be familiar with E-Value codes and coupon codes, but some customers aren't. I included those because many in the blogosphere thought we were trying to hide those things.
I can assure you it was a sincere post. And though you may not agree, I would ask that you not make a judgement based on a single post. I've run the blog since we launched it in July, and I'd hope that we attract readers because of the content itself and humanness and sincerity.
Hmmm, I'm skeptical of your post, and your sincerity, and the count of "confessions" you offer. This article reads like it was vetted by a PR agency and perhaps Michael Dell, and I wonder if Mr. Menchaca was specifically hired to take the heat and quell the Fires of Screwup.
Yes, there's some flavor of Mea Culpa, but nothing that I'd truly call candor - more like acknowledgement that Dell has made customers angry. And guess what: We Already Know That Lionel.
So don't give us fluffy apologies. Give us real details. Calling those 23 items "confessions" is further evidence that the Dell corporation sees consumers as malleable sheep.
Telling us where coupons are posted (#18 and #21) isn't a confession.
Telling us that DellConnect has a 93% satisfaction rate (#7) isn't a confession.
Telling us how to use E-value codes (#17) isn't a confession.
Telling us that you make a mountaineering-ready laptop (#14) isn't a confession.
Telling us that the company promotes environmentalism (#8) isn't a confession.
C'mon, 2/3rds of those confessions really ain't.
It's long overdue that there is acknowledgement of missteps, but this MARKETING RHETORIC is far too little, far too sanitized and far too scripted. This post reeks of damage control, not repentance.
Shame on you Lionel. When you and Dell want to get real, it would be welcome. But when you offer marketing spin in confessional clothing, you hurt your own name and do nothing to improve Dell's.
Don't know whether you personally posted a comment on my blog or if it was just an automated system scanning for posts related to this problem, but I'm glad you did.
Your post does show how a company should respond to issues. Admit being wrong, apologizing and promising to improve. Be humble.
I'm still a bit heartbroken with Dell, but this post shows that our relationship might still have a chance. You'd be a great marriage counselor. ;)
J2R: I did not post a comment on your blog, but JohnP@Dell did. I can definitely say he's a real person. Matter of fact, we sit right across from each other.
Glad to hear that it (potentially) has made an impression on you. I can assure you that we don't use automated responses to post to blogs... there's always real people behind those words.
Thanks for taking the time to come here and leave a comment.
That's all fine and dandy, Dell, but please hurry up with releasing of Dell Tablet PC because otherwise I have to draw my comics with Toshiba Tablet PC yet...
You obviously know what customers like and don't like, want and don't want - and as long as thats carried out and well-executed, it will lead to even more sucess.
JBL is a prime example - a large international company, but I can still pick up the phone and talk to someone who knows what they are doing...and better yet, I can get their name and call them back! Personal service from a massive company.
I have had multiple Dell notebooks and currently use XPS M1210. Despite having tremendous number of problems and contacting tech support, I have been nothing but in the same condition again. However, the service offered was always upto par and matches Dell's repute as a Fortune company.
Introducing new notebooks is definitely a step in the right direction because your older notebooks (Inspiron 6400/1505) are not visually appealing. I can see that your chat support has streamlined and they're the best at what they do. I don't use phone support for my notebook, but I have at my University and it's really not that bad.
I can see why there have been tremendous amonts of changes recently which started mainly after HP's lead over Dell (This is an assumption because we do watch markets).
Either way, I don't see a big deal in what is happening right now regarding Dell's former employee's confessions. Things are just being blown out of proportion a little.