Jeff Jarvis—Dell Hell: The End?

Jeff Jarvis—Dell Hell: The End?


The Official Dell Corporate Blog

Jeff Jarvis—Dell Hell: The End?

As some of you may already know, Jeff Jarvis spent a day at Dell a couple of weeks ago to write a BusinessWeek story. He spent some time with Michael Dell, and captured a vlog that's part of the that story and also part of his post on Buzzmachine.

Beyond that, he spent time with other execs Dick Hunter, Mark Jarvis, Manish Mehta and members of our digital media team as well. Of course, we'd be crazy not to be happy with the end result.

I got a chance to interview Jeff near the end of the day, and here is the vlog that resulted.

Format: flv

There's a lot of folks here at Dell doing the work that Jeff praises us for. I'm personally humbled to be part of it. But I'm also aware that Jeff himself rightfully questions whether or not this is the end of Dell Hell. I'll be the first to admit that we're at the beginning of a long-term turnaround in regards to improving Customer Service in the Uniited States and beyond.

Without a doubt, we're working hard to write the next chapter.


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  • Congratulations to you and the entire Dell team.  You have come a long, long way.  And it's great to see a "We won't rest on our laurels" approach to the future. Mazl tov!
  • I have to agree. There have been significant improvements at Dell, over the past 10 months. I'm looking forward to seeing how service is this time next year.  Keep up the good work.

  • I can say that, as a new Dell customer, I've been quite pleased with Dell's PowerEdge product line and Linux support.  I was originally rather leary about going with Dell due to some misconceptions I had with regard to product quality and company direction. 

    I really get the sense that Dell "gets it" with regard to delivering real value with their offerings.  Dell has embraced Linux in fundamental way that HP (I'm a former HP customer) has not.  Their commitment is apparent in this regard, and this makes me feel that Dell's Interests are in line with that of my business.

  • Dell is one of the best known case studies in the Social Media industry of a company who has turned completely around.  The efforts are completley commendable, impressive, and it really is exciting.

     Over the past years, I've been watching this program, and have started to chronologically track the journey (see link above).

    Great job to the Lionel and the whole team, up to Michael who really gets it.

  • The link to the ogg file of the video seems to be broken.
  • This is indeed a great way to bring the story back full circle.  Dell is no longer part of the "social media cautionary tales" and is instead now a great example of the benefit of embracing change and listening to social media.  I think the most powerful part of this story is how the blogging is working together with the streamlining of customer service.  Both that are having the net effect.  It is telling that one of the earlier comments is from Tom, a new satisfied Dell customer.  A year ago, the first comments would have been from disgruntled customers.  That is the most powerful testament of all.
  • Scott: Sorry to see that you've had to go two weeks without a working machine. I've forwarded your details to our Technical Support team.

    You will be hearing from someone soon.

  • I own three Dell computers and am looking for a new laptop.  It may not be a Dell.  I have heard many stories about Dell service and support and I found out what all those gripes were all about.

    My Dimension 8350 was giving me a warning that the battery was low.  No big deal, I have replaced batteries many times in PCs.  I could not find the battery number in any of the manuals or on-line.  I tried on-line service and after a long wait I got a response and he was unable to give me a battery number and suggested I call service. I called the service number and after a long wait I was connected to someone, probably in India, who read his unctuous script and all I could get from him was a Dell part number to order, not a battery number.  I gave up after wasting better than an hour.

    I finally disconnected everything, opened the PC and read the battery part number. Having finally opened up the PC and not wanting to repeat the process, I went to Radio Shack, bought the battery and replaced it and put everything back.  I had to do an errand then, rather than at my convenience.

    A total waste of time.  If this is what the new Dell is like, then I look elsewhere. Maybe Apple. 


    Might look at that - Enough things to be repaired! 

  • Wow Lionel:

     You're certainly making yourself available on this thread.  Where exactly were you to speak to customer complaints/questions on the 'Inspiron Notebook Product Delay' thread?

    It seems you're happy to enter into a conversation, as long as it's on your own terms.  It's all just optics, no substance.  Go ahead, keep patting yourselves on the back.  I'll shop somewhere else.

    Why don't you answer the questions I posed on the Notebook Product Delay thread???

  • Wow, the maturity level of some is quite impressive.
  • I found the article interesting but the video's sound was very low.  I thought it was nice to see Michael Dell's answers but he seemed to be trying very hard to find the correct words to use rather than just telling it like it is.  I found the interview Lionel did of Jeff Jarvis much more interesting and of better video/audio quality.  Mr Jarvis gave a lot of insight on what the future of the Dell community sites might be.
  • jervis961: Thanks, glad you liked the interview with Jeff.

    Jarvis himself recorded the video with Michael, so it was done with different equipment than we used in the studio.

  • That "mature" guy's right....All I see here is 'Lionel Menchaca', 'Lionel Menchaca' on the answers pool, yet on the other one he was nearly nowhere to be found...hmmm, interesting. Although I will give him credit for his 5 or so replies he made on that particular thread...hehehe
  • I have spent years defending Dell as the complaints of poor Customer Service continued. But I can honestly say with the treatment of the last 2 days in particular I will now tell everyone I know NEVER to try to deal with Dell again. I probably have purchased 10 computers over the years from Dell for me, my husband, my son, and 3 of my best friends. I researched and am known as staying on top of latest upgrades - but no more. I have spent a total of 10 hours over the last month on hold with Dell...with them saying "YOU did not this...YOU did not that...You called the wrong...” The only mistake I made is not listening to ever growing complaints concerning Dell's service. I repeat NEVER again. My husband oversees several large banks and I will make it my new goal to make sure no one I know EVER purchases a Dell computer again. I have 2 new ones- one less then 2 weeks old and 1 purchased in April- XPS Laptop and a soon as I can I will be rid of them. I have only been trying to purchase more RAM for my XPS 1210 with Vista and trying to use a Gift card that Dell sent me with my system for $75.00 - Since April I have been trying to use the Gift Card- Blue hard card printed with my name..a number and big $75 dollars printed on it but I seriously spent one day from 7:00 am until 10:00 PM off and on "on hold" with Dell as they repeatedly had me re-order my one tiny order over, over and over. Always saying I promise Miss __­­_ let me put you on hold just two more minutes...oh Miss____you have called the wrong Customer Service here is the Correct #....I would call that number and they would try for hours to get the order through...but of course "I" once again had made a mistake...they eventually gave me a case # ...what a joke...I still spent hours repeating the information over and over. They eventually blamed American Express because that is who prints the card and said "I" of course needed to call American Express. They take no responsibility for their lies, deceits and wrong information.

    I wish I could throw away every computer in my house (all Dell's  unfortunately) and all the Dell's at the business's I work with but I WILL become the new, well-versed, outspoken "NEVER purchase anything from Dell again" spokeswomen. Thank goodness I have many outlets available to me. Several times my husband asked as I sat hours and hours on hold why I was fooling with them and I responded because I can—I am a business woman with deep pockets and large expense accounts. Unfortunately, there are people who cannot fight this horrible, HORRIBLE situation and I do not want them in this situation. If I could get on Oprah and have her do an entire show on how people are treated by this company I would and I will try. I hope that this grows into a world-wide ban of all that Dell sells.

    My son-in-laws have tried for years to get me to switch to Apple.  I can say with complete authority and sincerity that I am sorry I have ever given Dell one dollar of my money and will try to help others to never give them another dollar.

  • I am strong Dell supporter, buying nothing but Dell computers for over 10 years in all my businesses and for home use. Anyone that I come across who is considering a computer, I tell them "Got to get a Dell Dude". As a result none of friends, family or close business associates run anything except a Dell.

    Most of my "old"  Dell Latitude laptops have been handed down to my kids. After 6 years the batteries in those systems are still going strong.

    Every time I had a problem Dell responded quickly and replaced the failing component in no time at all. 

    However, recently the network card in a 6 month old XPS410 failed and it took several calls and almost 2 weeks to get the issue resolved. 

    Now I am shocked to find out that the battery in my Inspiron E7105 that died just after a year is a very common problem being reported by many other owners. For a hardly used battery such longevity is unacceptable. Clearly these batteries are being designed to last only a year, regardless of use.

    It is with great sadness that I see the great Dell computer go the way of the cheap PC's. Hopefully Dell sees where it is headed and actually listens to what it's customers are now experiencing.

  • Ouch....I guess listening starts here.


    Is anyone listening?? 

  • I have just been reading some of the sorry experiences customers have had with Dell and I have to report that I also did not have a very good experience.

    I had ordered a 1520 laptop through a Dell kiosk at a local shopping mall.  The young saleman did not inform me that with a glossy LED panel there could be a problem with reflections and that there was an option for a anti-glare screen.  Well!! There sure is a lot of glare.  It was like a mirror - I don't like looking at myself while working on a computer.  I called customer service and got the Center in India.  I had a very difficult time understanding the two people I had to talk to over there.  At one point it sounded like a fight was going on in the background.  Was he working from home?  I finally got an authorized return number but it took 30 minutes which should have taken only 5 minutes.

    Both the experience at the kiosk and with foreign customer service leaves a sour taste in my mouth regarding Dell.  Customer service would be much more efficent if it were done in this country and there would be greater satisfaction.  Dell, are you LISTENING?


  • John: I'm sorry that we've put you in that situation. I've sent you an e-mail seeking more details from you so that we can try to get to the bottom of this.

    I can't publish other Dell employee's e-mail addresses here, but you are welcome to contact me directly at

  •  I opened a Dell Preferred Account in January 2004 and purchased 2 Dell computers with it, one in 2004 and one in 2005. I was purchasing a 3rd computer today and found out that the account had been closed for "inactivity" and the closure reported to the credit rating agencies. No notice was ever received by me. As anyone with a bit of knowledge about credit reporting will tell you, a credit card closing by an issuer negatively impacts your credit rating. Your "preferred accounts" department told me it is company policy to close accounts that are inactive for a year. My question is why would Dell treat its most loyal customers in this manner by negatively impacting their credit ratings. Surely Dell does not believe that customers should be purchasing new computers once a year. I wish someone could explain to me what benefit there is to Dell with a credit policy that downgrades the ratings of your best customers. Had I known this in advance, I would never have opened the account in the first place and simply used another card.

  • Richard: Thanks for your comment... I apologize for the frustration.

    I'm not clear on the details behind Dell Financial Services and its policies. I'll ask someone from that team to follow up with you directly.

  • I have never had a postive experience with Dell. The language problems alone is enough to make me pull my hair out. I take that back, the person who took my order spoke English as a FIRST language. It was all down hill from there.

    When I bought and paid for this computer, I spoke English, and English only, still do.  SInce my initial purchace, I have never spoken with a person who had  working knowledge of the English language.  Then, when they speak garbled English at a rate only the Marahani would understand, it becomes YOUR fault that you can't understand them.

    Problems can't be resolved because of the language barrier, and there ARE problems, oh MY are their problems. 

    And the loaded programs are only trials. Oh my HP I got full programs, Oh I probably paid for them, but the price I paid was for what I needed.

    There is literally NO CHANCE that I will ever buy a Dell again.


  • Judging by the storm of issues surrounding Dell's XPS 630i, I am surprised anybody at Dell can say with a straight face that Dell is actually trying to better the customer service. I can to this very spot looking for help since one of the other people having issues said that Lionel was very helpful. I posted my request on the blog. Its been 7 days now and it has still not posted. I imagine it has been moderated out of existance. I'm suprised some of the posts in this blog are here. Most of the people I have been speaking to that have posted negative comments find that the post vanishes from sight quite quickly. So I am posting this to see if it will actually see the light of day. I hope it does, and I hope that someone steps in to help not just the XPS 630i customers that were lied too and are currently being stonewalled by Dell, but all of the folks here that not treated anywhere NEAR how a customer should be treated.

  • Peter,

    The only reason some comments are not posted is that they violate the Terms of Service agreement that includes, no profanity, abusiveness to other posters.

    The poster should be notified by email the reason it was not posted.


  • Congrats guys.  A huge accomplishment!  Plus, you have a great humble perspective on it too...  Good on 'ya!