Sunday, September 23, 2007

Incompetent or just Crooked?

Well, in case you are thinking that Micheal Dell is bringing dell customer service up to at least an acceptable standard... think again!

Despite the hundreds of millions spent by Dell to turn around customer service they are , if anything, going backwards... have a read of this story on

Nobody at Dell can help Kevin return two broken hard drives. Kevin's Seagate 320GB FreeAgent drive refuses to power on, and his 160GB Western Digital won't boot. Kevin sent Dell a note after wrangling with eleven CSRs over five hours:

I called tonight due to 2 harddrives I purchased 26 days ago. Both drives have completely failed. One is knocking and the other won't power on at all. I called Dell and have been transferred to 11 people and 3 different calls:

1st Call - 48 Minutes (Disconnected during transfer)
2nd Call - 91 Minutes (Disconnected trying to transfer me)
3rd Call: 138 Minutes - Disconnected during transfer.

I am fed up and it is absolutely ridiculous. They have no idea what department to send me to. So far I have talked to:
"Customer Care"
"Dell Care"
"Business Sales"
"Hardware support"
"Desktop Support"
"Technical Support"

I have 4 different case numbers they have assigned me and still nothing to show for it. They can't even tell me who I need to talk to or what I need to do to get the parts replaced. I have spent close to $240.00 and wasted hours of my time away from my family trying to repair this issue.

The original hard drive I ordered is an external drive that I was able to connect and move all of my data to... Then it just wouldn't power on. Tried multiple power outlets, will not power up. I have lost all of my data there.

Then I purchased an internal drive, I have had it less than a month and it is knocking and won't boot. I am very dissatisfied and the award winning customer care has to be the farthest from the truth.

Case #: 1734xxx82
Order Numbers:
718xxx24 - 160GB
710xxx785 - 320GB

The note didn't get Dell's attention, but a complaint to the Better Business Bureau did. A Dell representative called Kevin to arrange the returns:

BUT!!!! 30 minutes into the call as she is taking my address info and giving her apologetic speech...Oh wait! I'm sorry Mr. Hatfield but we can't replace these. Have a nice day.

Hopefully one of Dell's damage control ninjas can explain exactly which Dell department, if any, is responsible for handling busted hard drives.

So all I can say is way to go Dell! You make my job of trashing your company so much easier.. and you are so deserving of it that it is a pleasure!

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Dell Hell - By the Numbers 7

Well, lets get September rolling with a look at the numbers...

7 - Number of times Dell contacted us this summer

0 - Number of new solutions offered by Dell to our problems

20 - Percentage drop in sales of notebooks this year at Dell

3-1 - Amount HP is outselling Dell in notebook computers

1058 - Number of comments (mostly negative) on direct2dell re: delays on shipping. A record even for the sorry state of Dell...

5 - responses by Dell to the 1058 comments

0 - responses by Dell to the 1058 that might be useful

887,000 - Number of notebooks Dell sold in the quarter (-20%)

1,100,000 - Number of notebooks Apple sold in the quarter (+42%)

2,400,000 - Number of notebooks HP sold in the quarter

?? - If I put a number here I'd just be guessing at how many days delay there is for Dell's new colored laptops but have a read of the direct2dell blog and see what you come up with... many are waiting over two months at the moment by my understanding.

Not only do they sell Edsels they also borrow from Henry Ford too... "you can have any color you want, as long as its black"!

No wonder Mac sales are up 42%, Customer Service, despite $150 Million spent this year on revamping, is still in the toilet and then to make matters worse they start targeting students with offers for colored laptops they know they can't reasonably supply.

Apple, Lenovo, HP et al are picking off Dell's market share as a result...

Friday, September 7, 2007

Apple shows the way, Dell lost in the woods.

A very interesting lesson in Customer Service and core values was highlighted yesterday by the announcement by Apple that they would be refunding customers who purchased iphones from Apple in the last two months.

The phones were originally priced at $200 above current prices and the thousands of customers who bought phones at the inflated price will now receive a $100 rebate on the phones purchased at the higher price.

Wait a minute... a company sells a product, then decides to lower prices and in order not to loose customers who previously bought products at the higher price, are VOLUNTEERING to rebate customers???????

Who would have thought.

Now, is there anything to be learned by all this? Well, Apple sold 42% more laptops this quarter than they did last year, so obviously something is being done right...

Dell on the other hand? Well, stay tuned tomorrow when we do our monthly review of the numbers...

Thursday, September 6, 2007

The Sounds of Silence or is it One Hand Clapping

Well, I thought I would hold off on my next blog until I heard back from the two Escalation team members from Dell who recently contacted me. Oddly, after contacting me, they never did reply back. So, instead I will share with you the email I sent to them and let you decide if a response was warranted. Ronak who is the recipient of the following letter is a member of the Escalation team at Dell... and for the record I did eventually hear from Robin Chacko's supervisor... he offered me a %10 discount on a refurbished motherboard!

EMAIL TO "Ronak" who has never been heard from since....

Hi Ronak: I have been in touch with your colleague on 08/16/07 about this issue and it seems more than one person from Dell has responded to our contacts. Here (below) is the email I sent to Robin Chacko...

I have yet to hear back from her on the email sent, so I am not sure if you were intending to take over from her? If so, I am available at this return email or by phone xxx xxx-xxxx

regards, duff sigurdson


Hello Robin: We are pleased but most puzzled to hear from Dell again. I trust you are up to speed on our file so I won't repeat it all here, except in summary FYI with my suggestions for a solution below that....

After speaking at length and over a period of months with as diverse a crowd as Lionel Menchaca at direct2dell, another on-line bigwig known as Richard@dell, the Better Business Bureau, and a number of senior staff at Dell Canada, we had reached the conclusion that Dell was not willing to do more to solve our problem other than to sell us a refurbished motherboard for our problematic 9100.

This was unsatisfactory to us as we feel that the problem is directly related to the design and manufacture of the model and a replacement mob (at $700 installed), was not a solution, i.e. replacing a known faulty part with another faulty part that has been "remanufactured" is not a workable fix!

The computer was approximately 2 1/2 years old when it failed and it was a top of the line Inspiron 9100. Hardly the typical life span one would expect from a flagship model from the world's (then) leading computer manufacturer.

Dell has taken old, loyal customers (my wife and I who have been with your company since the early days), and potential new customers (my daughter and her network of friends who follow this saga), and turned them in to a customer relations nightmare... (see

Our position is you have sold us an "EDSEL" and although we understand the tightrope you are walking what with all the class action suits surrounding the inspiron line, we believe Dell should replace the faulty computer with a model which you are confident will not die a premature death.

No need for a "mea culpa" or anything else... just a "hey, your computer sucked, we are sorry you got stuck in dell hell, and we DO want you all as future customers..."

I will mention here that many similar cases to ours have been resolved (usually by members of the Executive Escalation Team) by replacing faulty computers EVEN when out of warranty, You can read examples in the dell forums.

What we don't want is for Dell to tell us they are cutting off the topic and consider the case closed as unresolved (Richard@Dell online back in early June), AND THEN contact us again to follow up (Early July), fail to follow up THAT call (mid July), and then wind up here in another email to someone at your end (Mid August).

BTW, A tech called two nights ago (see my latest posts at direct2dell in the "Real People are here and they are Listening" section). I almost cried when he wanted to "review" my problem but I stayed polite, answered his questions and listened to his offer to sell me a refurbished motherboard. It all seemed a bit pointless and so it was.

In any case, I noted yesterday that despite the $150 million invested in customer service in the last while, Dells' ratings dropped this year to the same levels as during the Customer Service crisis at Dell in 2005. Somehow this doesn't surprise me.

When you compare the cost to dell of replacing our faulty 9100 with that money and those figures, and you add in the bonus that you would be "doing the right thing", it is a no brainer... Dell won't recognize that the computer is an "edsel" and that is fine by us, but Dell should recognize that the computer should have lasted longer than it did, that we are valued customers and that it is worth keeping us. Selling us a top of the line model at top of the line prices, and after it dies 2.5 years later saying "so sad, too bad" is not on the list of "Tips for Good Customer Relations".

I look forward to hearing your solutions to this issue, a fresh set of eyes and ears is often the way out of the woods.

regards, duff sigurdson