Earlier this week (July 10 to be exact), Direct2Dell made it to the one year mark. Since that time last year, we've been busy... we launched Dell's internal blog, Direct2Dell Chinese and Spanish, and updated the Dell Community Forum (DCF). We also launched IdeaStorm and StudioDell, and kicked off a presence in Second Life. Before Direct2Dell existed, we pulled together a team to support customers in the blogosphere. Now we also have folks who respond to Dell topics that aren’t product-specific.
While we've made progress, I'm not saying everything is where we want it to be. We stumbled out of the gate. Some things went well, others didn't. We arranged an interview between a blogger and a Dell VP. Through my work on the blog, I've had the good fortune to meet bloggers like Virginia Miracle, Jeff Jarvis, Tony Hung, Robert Scoble, John Jantsch, Jeremiah Owyang (who's someone I continue to learn a lot from). All in all, I think Mack Collier provided a pretty fair assessment of where we are right now.
While we're a bit smarter than those early days, what strikes me is how that pales in comparison to what we still need to learn. No question we need improve in lots of ways. Frankly, if we’re doing this right, I should be saying that at any point in time.
So, where do we go from here? Tightening the link between Direct2Dell and other properties like DCF, IdeaStorm and StudioDell is something we're starting to do. Beyond that, we hope to expand to more languages so we can enter more conversations where they occur. I'll look to bring in guest bloggers to provide outside perspective from time to time. We'll continue to our efforts to re-orient our company to adjust to the speed of the blogosphere. We'll look to give customers more of a reason to join the discussion. For a bit of context, we're currently averaging about 3.5 million page views and 250,000 unique visitors a month.
Just about every time someone wants to talk to me about Direct2Dell, they ask my perspective on corporate blogging. In the past year of running the blog, here are the things we've learned that stand out to me:
If you made it this far, you're probably sick of hearing me talk. Thanks to our customers and all Direct2Dell readers who have helped us make it to this point. It's been an honor to be a part of this.
I welcome your thoughts where we've been and what you think we need to do more of in the future.
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Great annual overview of Direct2Dell. Can you imagine even 5 years ago that companies would embrace the kind of candid assessment you just gave?
Anyone who reads your blog posts or has had the pleasure of meeting you in person would never doubt Dell's sincerity when it comes to customer conversations.
Keep up the great work and hope to bump into you in Austin or on the road.
I have to say, I have been beyond disappointed with Dell's customer service this week. I purchased a 1420 laptop from Dell on Tuesday, and did so because I had read reviews on Cnet and PCMagazine.com about how it had an mini-remote that fit in the express card slot. It wasn't part of the package on the EPP Side, or on the Home/Office side, when I purchased through an agent.
Since that time, I have been on the phone or chat for 5 straight days trying to see if I can get the remote, and on top of this, discovered that my DPA account is now negative when it was still positive some dollars and change. I have yet to get the remote, I have been shipped the wrong remote, I've been told to contact sales, customer care, EPP Customer care, Spare Parts. My sales agent has not responded to my emails or phone calls. I'm just completely disappointed in Dell right now.
I understand I am just one person in a customer base of millions, but I have always bought Dell and always supported Dell and it's just disappointing that this is how bad your customer experience has become.
Randy: Sorry to hear you're running into problems trying to get a remote. Even though it may not have been clear in some of the reviews you read, the remote that you're asking about is a $15 option.
I bet you already saw this on Notebook Forum.com but you can go to this link for a picture of the Dell Travel Remote (it's the one that fits in the Express Card slot) and a feature overview.
I'll ask someone to follow up with you on Monday to straighten this out. Again, sorry for the inconvenience.
I think the numbers speak for themselves in the work you have done this past year, moving from 50% negative to the 20's in a year is a vast improvement. Keep on focusing on customer service and listening to customers and you should be able to get those numbers down even more. Congratulations on following a good strategy that keeps on working.
Lionel, Dell, and the entire outreach team.
Happy first birthday!
This post deserves far more comments than this. The way you as a person, as a team and as a company have approached and handled many of the issues we both share is a lesson in skill, persistence and heart-felt passion for excellence.
I myself joined the blogosphere as a direct consequence of Richard Binhammer's first appearance on Shel Israel's blog and from there on in my world has literally exploded.
Keep it simple and sincere like you have since day 1, and never stop exploring - the blogoshpere's got a lot of rocks worth taking a look under!
Lionel, thanks for the help. I appreciate it. The problem with the remote is that talking to Dell (customer care, sales, etc), no one can find the remote on the website via part number or otherwise.
It creates a lot of confusion. Thanks for having some one get in touch with me. I appreciate that. I await their email or call.
I love Dell and they have always been good to me over the last 5 years and I love all the innovations and ways they treat their customers. This time it has just left a bit of a sour taste in my mouth.
Coincidentally, it has been 10 years since the first blog. Here is an article on The Wall Street Journal: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB118436667045766268.html
Happy 1st birthday.
While I find this forum encouraging, stories like Randy's above are still far too common. He's wasted 5 days getting the run around over a $15 part. I understand his frustration -- I've been a customer/victim of Dell myself. It's great that Dell is making an effort, but I still can't think of a reason I'd chance doing business with an organization that's 'trying' to do business vs. one that actually CAN do business.
Joe: Thanks for the honest comment.
I agree that Randy's situation is an unfortunate one, and know that it's not good to be on the receiving end of that kind of frustration... that's why I wanted to get him in touch with someone who can fix the issue.
It's not my intent to stand here and make excuses, but there's a lot of details to work through on new product transitions. That challenge also exists for others in our industry. That said, its definitely up to Dell as a company to fix those issues as quickly as we can when they do come up.
The other thing I would argue is that this blog gives customers a chance to voice dissatisfaction openly. Not many companies do that.
At an anecdotal level, I'm starting to see some positive comments and direct e-mails come my way. The reality is that it's a long-term process, if we can continue to elimate issues like Randy's, we should be in a different place a year from now.
Thanks for getting someone in touch with me. I appreciate that and it should make everything a bit smoother.
I do want to mention that the remote was never an option for me when I got the laptop, either through home/office or EPP (which is where I purchased it). Currently it is an option for home/office but not EPP. So I never had the ability to add the remote on.
The other problem currently is that no one at Dell can find the remote via part number at all. The ones that do find it say that it is only able to be purchased as part of a new system and is not available separately so that is a current issue you guys are having with the new Inspirons and the $15 dollar remote.
However, I think that all issues occur for a reason and with rolling out a new line of laptops, obviously there will be some bugs in the system that your customers can bring to light to help Dell out even more.
I just hope that my situation is resolved and someone can actually find the $15 dollar remote in the system to send out to me, since me and a lot of people from the notebook forums are having massive troubles getting old media center (clunky) remotes instead of the proper one that you listed in the link on Dell.com. Apparently no one can find that one.
I appreciate the ability I have to voice an issue about this, because I was losing hair trying to voice it to many different departments with no resolution. I also wish Dell the best of success in the last part of 2007 and 2008.
Happy Birthday! It's good to know that you're still looking to learn more.
I have a lesson to pass on. This is a worldwide corporate blog, why not use it to post information that affects all customers worldwide? A lot of information (e.g. new product releases, upgrade programs, etc) seems to relate to the US market only.