Losing Trust in Dell

I’ve been a regular Dell customer for years. I’m not a big customer, but I buy something from them every year or two on average: a PC, a laptop, a TV, a replacement part, a monitor, something. Mostly I’ve been satisfied with my purchases, but the more stories like this one I hear, the more I think I’m not going to buy from them again. I’ve been lucky so far, but I don’t want to take any more chances.

I don’t think the bean counters at these companies recognize just how much damage poor products and support do to them over the long run. In the short term, they save money on support calls and returns that erode their profit margins. In the long term, more and more people just become unwilling to consider buying from them, and their marketshare erodes to a small fraction of its former level.

It’s well known that it’s much harder to acquire a new customer than to keep an old one. What isn’t so well known is that once you lose a customer, it’s almost impossible to get them back.

5 Responses to “Losing Trust in Dell”

  1. RichardatDELL Says:

    Dear Mr. Harold,
    I want you to know that we at Dell are concerned about that story too. In fact, so much so that I have commented on that site that we would like to contact the customer,solve the issues and get to the bottom of what apparently went wrong. In addition to leaving a comment about wanting to be in touch with the customer, in case he reads the comments, I have also contacted Ed Foster and asked him to contact the customer and see if the customer’s contact information could be given to me for follow up and resolution.

    Mr. Harold, let me assure you, we take these customer issues very seriously. We know we made some mistakes. You might want to check out the recent Michael Dell interview with Fortune magazine: http://money.cnn.com/2006/09/04/magazines/fortune/dell_intv.fortune/index.htm

    We have already invested an additional $150 million over a couple quarters to expand our support teams, retrain peoeple and put in place a series of other initiatives. Kevin just announced a further expansion and focus when he launched what we call Dell 2.0 ( for example check out http://www.accmanpro.com/2006/09/14/dell-20-why-not/: )

    Essentially, we are going to focus more on the ‘direct’ connection with customers–to improve product design (just announced plans to hire 500 product engineers), beef up our services and support even further to ensure we deliver the best customer experience bar none.

    We are not perfect, but we have turned a corner. We expect to emerge stronger as a result, because our history is that when confronting business challenges like this we get it done “right”

  2. Michael Studman Says:

    “It’s well known that it’s much harder to acquire a new customer than to keep an old one.”

    Indeed. And Dell seem to be quite selective in choosing the new customers they want. It took my partner 8 separate phone calls (over a period of a couple of hours) to buy his Dell desktop. Each time, when he told the customer representative that he didn’t want the monitor and keyboard (because he already had one), he was disconnected shortly after. It took a direct appeal to a Dell supervisor on the 8th go to ensure the sale proceeded.

    Presumably the sale dipped below a profitability threshold and Dell saw no interest (or perhaps the consultant saw no self-interest) in continuing the sale process. I’m open to other explanations but the point at which the disconnect occurred was too eerily similar in each of the seven cases.

    My thought was: if that’s how mercenary they are before the sale, how will they treat him after the sale?

    I make a point of telling this story to any friend looking to buy a computer.

  3. RichardatDELL Says:

    we heard you and want to follow up on the specifics about this sale, determine what the problem-issue was on our end and correct it. To do that we need to be in touch with the customer you referenced or yourself. Could you please email this mailbox (Customer_Advocate@Dell.com )and use my name either in reply or subject line, and this blog conversation so the connection is made to these comments. We hope to be in toouch.

    In the meantime, we agree that what happened sends the absolute wrong impression about our company focus before and after the sale, given that our direct connection with customers is something we value. Speaking of wrong impressions, its why we are changing even the way we talk about customers (some used to be transactional), because that in itself implies values we dont want associated with any one customer.

    Looking forward to our chance tot follow up directtly with you. And our apologies

  4. Michael Studman Says:

    Sorry to sully your blog with an irrelevant (to you) followup, Elliotte, but I just wanted RichardatDELL to know that a response was sent about 2 weeks ago using the above instructions. We’re waiting to hear back.

  5. Mokka mit Schlag » Shopping for a Gaming PC Says:

    […] Dell is a little expensive at $1199, and not as reliable as they used to be. […]

Leave a Reply