People who have been following Dell's progression in social media know that we are in the midst of transitioning from a centralized team that carried out all social media efforts to a more decentralized hub and spoke model. It's really about scaling social media. For us to scale our efforts, we need to make social media a core part of Dell's business functions. In Dell's case, it's clear that providing support for our customers in the digital realm is one of the most vital aspects of our overall social media strategy.
The image above is one that I’ve discussed for a while. The Customer Service piece (highlighted in blue) is the part I want to focus on today. We are in the midst of growing that team, which is part of members from our Technical Support and Customer Care organizations. Overall, they are responsible for replying to requests for service in a variety of places, from our own sites like the community forum and Direct2Dell. But they also respond to third-party forums and blogs, and help support customers in specific social networks. Two of the most prevalent social networks we’re actively engaging with customers in are in Facebook and Twitter. That’s where I’ll focus the rest of this post.
Back in March, we rolled out a bit of an experiment. We added a widget on our Dell Consumer Facebook page that allowed a customer to reach out to Dell Support from within Facebook.
Clicking on the widget automatically walks customers through a simple form (see below) that makes it easy for customers request support from Dell. Many customers within Facebook like the idea when we rolled it out. We gained traction slowly at first and then moved to make it a little more visible by adding a Support tab on the Facebook page.
In that Support section of our Facebook page, we pull in the latest Dell Community Forum threads…and have links to some of the most viewed pages on support.dell.com.
This Support tab in Facebook on all of our English pages. We’ve rolled it out on most Spanish pages and have plans to add it in more languages next quarter. Since we’ve added the widget in Facebook, about 1,500 customers have reached out to us there.
Twitter is the other part I wanted to call out today. Last month at TWTRCON 2010, @StefanieatDell outlined the four ways Dell uses Twitter to connect with our customers: to inform, sell, engage and support. Many folks in the blogosphere of focused on the results of our sales on Twitter, but to me, that's less important than support.
Supporting our customers in Twitter is something we've been doing for a while, primarily through individuals like @ChrisBatDell, @BillatDell and many others In May, we took steps to formalize that process. That's when we rolled out a centralized account with the express purpose of providing support: @DellCares. Since we piloted the effort back in May, we’ve grown the team to the point where we now have 24/7 global coverage in English. We’re ramping up in the Spanish language, and like Facebook, we have plans to roll out support in additional languages beginning next quarter. The team has steadily gained traction, to where it now has almost 2,500 followers. More importantly, the @DellCares team has directly supported 1,800 customers via Twitter.
We are measuring many aspects of this outreach in Twitter and Facebook. The initial results are promising: roughly 2/3 of the Dell customers we’ve helped claim a positive customer experience with Dell after out support interaction, and feedback from other customers has been very positive. Still, our goal here is not to replace traditional support methods. Instead, our goal is to be there for customers who wish to get support from us through social media.
If you are one of those customers, next time you need help with a Dell product, ping @DellCares on Twitter or reach out to our support team via the Dell Support form in Facebook.
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This is, of course, a good idea, however here is my customer support and tech support experience so far. I feel like I am shouting up the mountain and there is nobody there. I wrote this letter hoping that someone would read it and respond:
In October of 2009 my company purchased a $4,000 Studio XPS desktop upon my arrival at the company. Initially I was surprised and frustrated that the order was delayed for three weeks after its scheduled delivery date. However, I was pleased to receive it and optimistic that I would be satisfied with the product itself. However, almost immediately the computer began to restart randomly in the middle of whatever I was doing. First this occurred about once a week, then increasing to as often as several times a day. The steps I took to resolve the problem are as follows:
I called technical support. The first person I talked to reinstalled a video card driver and suggested that I restart the computer once in a while. That did not solve the problem.
The second time I called, the tech walked me through adjusting the BIOS settings, which disabled the RAID that couples my two hard drives. He could not restore it. It took us a few hours to fix; the tech rep, however, had no idea how to fix it and it was a collective effort of my colleagues that did it. That did not solve the problem
I called again several times - my call history should be in your files. Finally after numerous software repair attempts, tech support became convinced that this was, as I suspected, a hardware problem, and they sent a tech to my office (in April, I think?) to replace the power supply, RAM, and motherboard. Again the RAID was disabled and restored only as a result of the efforts of my colleagues.
The person who sent the tech promised to follow up on whether the problem was solved, but I never received that email.
The problem has not been resolved; in fact it restarted several times on the day of the repairs shortly after the tech left my office. It became progressively worse, now rebooting several times a day, which has rendered it completely unusable. Up to this point, I have spent at least 10 hours on the phone with Dell, which is far fewer than the number of hours I have spent recovering lost work as a result of the restarts. In fact, it was my utter exasperation with the whole process that caused me to delay initiating it again until it became intolerable, even though the repairs failed to fix the problem back in April.
I believe I have given Dell every reasonable opportunity to make this right, but I cannot afford to lose any more time and valuable productivity because of a defective product. I would like to send the computer back for a refund. I called the customer service and they referred me to technical support, claiming that they can only accept a return within 21 days of purchase. Another option they suggested was to buy a new computer and return the old one for a refund. However, the frustration that we have experienced does not inspire confidence to purchase another Dell. Considering the experience that we have had over the past few months, I think that accepting a return in this case is more than reasonable, but in any case I expect Dell to stand behind their product and provide us with a satisfactory resolution. In fact, it was your reputation for products and support that led us to purchase a Dell in the first place. Our company is a team of analysts and consultants who depend on powerful machines to deliver sophisticated data analysis to our clients. We replace these machines on a relatively short cycle. I don't see how it could possibly make business sense for Dell to squander the opportunity to satisfactorily resolve this situation and make me, and by extension, our company, a satisfied customer. I look forward to your response.
I hate to bombard blog posts (I have already posted my comment on a couple of other posts), but I feel I must respond to this one.
The system/process/model you describe above is great in theory and it is a brave move to make blogs and facebook pages public , because troubled customers have the habit of spitting venom. So I must admire Dell's theory.
However, does the senior management apply metrics to measure the success/failure of these theories? If yes, how ? and can you release some findings?
Following is what I experienced.