Sunday, 13 July 2008

Dell Customer Service - Part 1 - Simplify IT.

Customer service is an emotive issue for many Dell consumers. My experience on IdeaStorm and Dell Forums has shown me that many consumers have encountered problems with Dells customer service. Inconsistent short term special deals, poorly designed marketing and poor telephone support have left many customers feeling disgruntled and ripped off. The following is my opinion of what Dell needs to do to correct these issues.

Dell has made much noise about it's campaign to "simplify IT". What a shame it is then that this campaign was never extended to the consumer market. This is in fact the first step Dell needs to take. Not because Dells customers are stupid. But because communication is so much easier when it is kept simple.

Rather than telling the consumer the potential for the product. Tell them what it is actually for. Tell them what they can actually do with it. Rather than show off all the potential things we could have with the product. Show us what we are actually getting.

Too many times in the past has Dell made promises about products it never intended to keep. The XPS 700 upgrades, the M1330 remote controls and recently LightFX to name a few. Dell needs to focus it's message to the consumer. Dells consumers shouldn't have to campaign to make Dell keep these promises.

After Sales Support

People hate call centers. They make us feel like we're children getting into trouble for doing something naughty. And when they are over seas call centers the language barrier takes the frustration to intolerable levels.

Dell needs to ditch the over seas call centers in favor of more local call centers. Web based support should be utilized whenever and where ever possible. Develop a proper on-line knowledge base. I believe customers actually prefer to solve problems on their own. Ditch the Microsoft Internet Explorer centric support tools. Go with open source technologies for support. Adopt open standards on your web sites. ActiveX does not work for Linux customers! PHP does!

Use e-mail support more often. E-mails give everybody time to calm down and think. Customers can communicate more clearly what they want to say. Tech support can take a little more time to investigate the problem. They can even request log files for examination. Implement an instant on OS like Splashtop. If the main OS goes belly up, then at least the consumer can still get help. There are so many more tools Dell could use but don't use.

Borrow a few ideas from Linux. Package repositories for drivers and pre-installed applications! How much easier life could be if Dell was more imaginative with it's tech support.

The call center in the 21st century should be the last resort.

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