Tuesday, June 22, 2010

#DellCAP On-Line Passion Required

Just about a month ago I was introduced to Mack Collier by Lisa Petrilli. In addition to writing an interesting blog and tweeting helpful information, Mack also runs a Twitter #blogchat every Sunday evening at 9:00PM EST/EDT...and by the way he helps companies understand the "social" part of social media. What I learn from Mack, I in turn share with my Webconsuls' team members and clients. All good. This past week Mack facilitated and moderated Dell's Customer Advisory Panel which took place in Round Rock, TX. Yesterday Mack wrote a blog about this experience: "Teaching a Brontosaurus to run; My review of #DellCAP". I hope you will read it whether or not you are a Dell customer. I took the time to comment to Mack and he agreed to let me share my thoughts here. I now understand the importance of on-line passion!

Here is my OP-ED...
June 22, 2010
Hi Mack,

I enjoyed reading this recap today. I was sort of following you on Twitter last week while you were participating in #DellCAP. I have a couple of questions/observations. But first I want you and your other readers to know a little about my Dell user experience.

First of all, you should know that our small company has been a Dell customer since July 2001. In the past nine years we have spent $12000+ with Dell. We are obviously not their largest customer or their smallest, but maybe we are one of their smaller consistent customers.

Second, when we first started buying from Dell their customer service was excellent and it was provided from staff located in the United States. When it became obvious that Dell had begun to outsource their customer service, we made a conscious decision to purchase Dell ProSup port. We have found if you time your calls just so…you might actually speak to someone in the United States!

Here are my questions/observations:

1. How did Dell define/select its most passionate customers? What were the parameters used to invite these "passionate customers"? Individuals, businesses (large and small), multiple purchases, social media flare, clever complaint letters, clever complimentary letters, etc. It seems that one pre-requisite for being invited as a customer who had had a negative experience was that they "had used social media to voice their displeasure." If that is the case, what about the customer who writes a letter, sends an email, etc, as opposed to blogging, tweeting or facebooking about their negative experience? Does old fashion passion not matter?

2. I am not surprised that #DellCAP participants wanted to see Dell succeed. I think it is human nature that we want our purchase choices to be validated and we want to know there is a viable company to turn to should we experience problems.

3. Has Dell pushed a pencil to determine the "cost" of their decision to outsource customer service? By this I mean, Dell believed or assumed that most customers weren't willing to pay higher prices just to get better service; however, how many customers did they lose as a result of this decision which was based on an assumption?

As a Dell customer, here are few things that Dell might like to know about my user experience:

• Once an order is placed, make sure the sales person is reachable, post sale – prior to delivery.

• The itemized receipt/invoice should have a unit price and amount for each item, as opposed to just listing each item with Unit Price 0.00 and amount 0.00, with the exception of the Tower.

• If a customer has paid by personal check or business credit card in the past, don't make the sales call so confusing that your customer ends up with a Dell Financial Services Credit Card with an interest rate of 17.99%. To add insult to injury, they spelled our business name incorrectly on the account! Don’t worry we paid it in full.

• In days long ago, the new PC came with a wall map size glossy Start Here Set-Up Guide. But our latest purchase came with a flimsy 10 page Setup and Features Information booklet, with a font size of maybe 6. (See photo below)

Well, Mack, I will enjoy following the impact of #DellCAP. I can tell you this; it seems your GUYNamedNathan is enjoying his new Dell notebook: "#DellCAP attendees, if you kept the box to the notebook Dell gave us. It makes a great mousepad for BlueTrack mice."

I know this is a long comment, I am hoping you will not mind if I use it on my Judy's OP-ED blog. Let me know if that would be ok with you.
Here is Mack's reply:

June 22, 2010
Judy thanks for the comment, and it's yours, you can use it anyway you want.

I think with this first meeting, Dell was trying to be 'all things to all people'. I think they wanted to bring in some business customers, and some personal customers. I do think they placed a premium on selecting customers that had either voiced their displeasure or excitement, via social media. My guess is they chose social media because it would be easy to collect a pool of potential participants quickly and easily.

My feeling was that the #DellCAP meetings were extremely beneficial to Dell when it comes to how their customers view customer support, especially outsourced customer support. I don’t think Dell realized how important this was to customers, OR that so many of the participants seemed to be willing to pay more for the computer, if exceptional customer service would be included as part of the purchase.

This was obviously the 'first step' for Dell, and I am sure that they have a ton of tweaks/changes in mind if they continue this effort in a similar form. I can't wait to see what they do next!
Let me know what you think?  Do you exercise on-line passion to improve your customer service experience?
Which Set-Up Guide Enhances the User's Experience?


SarahatDell said...

Hi Judy -

Thanks for the post and your interest in #DellCAP! We'll definitely keep you in the loop as we expend the CAP Days program. Our hope is that we can leverage this across our segments and across key countries.

We selected our customers/attendees by browsing Twitter, Yelp and Facebook for our most vocal critics and evangelists. There were a couple of individuals that were selected based on employee recommendations because of direct emails, letters, calls they'd received as well (such as @foxracer186 who @princesshaley helped join Twitter while he was here).

To Mack's point, #DellCAP was extremely beneficial not only from the feedback we received, but for our executives to hear from the group face-to-face and realize the issues at hand. Again, the work has just begun and now is the hard part of taking all the feedback to the business and implementing real changes. Some of these are already coming... You can connect with @MichelleBatDell on Twitter, as she's already driving some key improvements to Dell support.


Judy Helfand said...

I am so happy that you stopped by today to read my OP-ED. Mack kept his Twitter followers tuned-in somewhat while he was facilitating #DellCAP, but his review was really fascinating to me, as we have been a DELL house for a lot of years.
While we are on Twitter and Facebook, typically we are able to work out our difficulties the old fashion way--persistent phone calls, but it has become more difficult over the years.
We like DELL products, but I wanted to share some of my own customer service observations with #DellCAP.
I hope next time to meet you in Austin!

Lionel M. said...

Judy... I saw this, and just wanted to say thanks for being a loyal Dell customer.


Judy Helfand said...

Hi Lionel,
Thank you for reading my OP-ED. It is good to know that you appreciate our business loyalty. My business partners will be impressed that two Dell employees read and commented on my post.
I am going to continue to follow #DellCAP on Twitter.

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