Recently I wrote about a bad support experience I had with Dell. Today in my inbox was an invitation to participate in a survey about my experience.
My survey responses, which were completely honest, were not glowing. Although Dell ultimately resolved my problem (the cabling shipment arrived the following day), the hoops I was forced to jump through were unacceptable. Dell’s support seemed fundamentally broken, and I had to fight to make it work.
When asked what Dell would need to do before I would feel comfortable recommending them to others, I wrote:
I would need confidence that Dell makes it easy for clued-in technical customers to speak with clued-in support personnel. As things stand, clued-in customers waste too much time on the phone with ineffective support personnel. In my case, I was handed off numerous times and ended up speaking with seven support persons, and only the final person had the knowledge and empowerment to make the situation right for this customer.
I also gave them a link to my article about the experience. It will be interesting to see if anybody reads it.
In any case, I am glad I received the survey invitation. At least it shows that Dell is trying to improve. Further, the survey asked the right questions: I was able to adequately express my dissatisfaction and point out where I thought their process had broken down.
I do hope somebody at Dell figures it out because support is the company’s Achilles heel. HP, in my experience, smokes Dell in this regard.
Update: It looks like my article got the attention of CMP Media’s CRN, a source of “vital information for VARs and technology integrators.” Edward F. Moltzen linked to my article in his article of 6 July 2006: Dell Works, Spends To Get Back Into Good Graces.
Perhaps not entirely coincidentally, on the very same day, a “customer advocate” with Dell’s headquarters in Round Rock, Texas, sent me an email offering help and asking for feedback. Owing to a mix-up, I did not receive his email until he re-sent it on 11 July, but I have since responded with a detailed summary of my experience.
Things are getting interesting.
Update 2006-07-21: It seems the Dell customer advocate was serious about fixing problems. He reviewed my case and was able to identify a user-interface problem with Dell’s web site that probably led to a good part of my difficulties. The problem is that a non-support phone number is offered in a portion of the support section of Dell’s web site. Customers, like me, who call the phone number are connected to people trained to handle pre-invoice issues, not support. Oops. As of this writing, the UI problem still exists, but I trust that it will be solved soon.