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Bold moves – DeLL

May 21, 2007

dell.gif  Service Untitled does a 3 part interview with Dell’s Dick Hunter, VP of Customer Experience.    Clearly Dell is leaving no stone unturned in it’s efforts to repair it’s customer service reputation.   While one could easily discount this interview as a fairly transparent piece of PR, the transparency of it is the key to it’s value.

To build credibility with the audience, Dick not only serves up a lot of insider facts, but readily admits to some perceived bad directions the company had embarked upon.  While none of the information is particularly damaging in the hands of a competitor, it is not the sort of thing that we would be used to companies freely sharing.

For example, one doesn’t often share survey methodology, and response rates ….

“We do three types of surveys: one is very in depth – about 80 questions long that we send out to 100,000 people. We get about 5 or 6% return rate. We call that the loyalty survey. Each week we send out about 100,000 email surveys that are typically about 20 questions long. The return rate is roughly the same return rate – about 7% return rate. We just started a short IVR survey, which is right after a call with a customer. It’s a telephone voice survey that is typically 3-5 questions. We are getting about a 10% take rate on that. We take all of those surveys and the numbers show us that we are doing better. “

Or to advertise openly their results to those measurements, especially when they are admittedly off the mark…

“To that end, we’ve gone up in core tech support about 10 points. We’ve gone up in our XPS support about 15 points. We’ve gone up in about 10 points in our “Dell on Call” service area. In those areas, we’re making progress. A lot of that has been brute force and yet we are no where we should go or where Michael is challenging me to go. His challenge is for us to get to 90% customer satisfaction in tech support. At this time, for XPS, we’re running around 75%. We were at 60% – we went to 75%.”

Doing so, telegraphs not only to your customers where your placing your focus, but also your competitors…

“…To me, it’s been “Let me go off and fix it and get it definitely better” before we start trumpeting it from the hilltops. I am feverishly putting that North America based support offering in place to make that happen. Once we have that in place, coupled with some of the actions we’ve taken to turn around that experience, that is when we will go more public with it. We’ll never be 100% – no one will be 100%. There will still be some bad experiences, which obviously we don’t want to happen, but will. When we get to the 85% satisfaction level, then we can start promoting it more…”

The interview goes on to discuss Dell’s experiences with off shoring and out sourcing, the make up of their call centers, and objectives toward Dell badged vs outsourced technicians.   As one would expect, interviews / blog posts of this kind are an open invitation not only to supporters, but those who have, or have had bad experiences that they find in contrast to the interviewee’s opinions and facts.    More members of Dell’s blog outreach team are evident in the comments.

DeLL is certainly putting themselves out there – embracing the idea of a “Naked Conversation” with conviction.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. May 21, 2007 10:22 pm

    I hate to spam your blog this way… but… here it goes.

    DeLL is doing it’s homework, they are tough competition, which is a good thing.

    Does “transparent company” ring a bell? 😉

    Nice finding Mark, and nice to see you posting on this

  2. May 21, 2007 11:44 pm

    Hi there –

    Thank you for your comments! I’ve interviewed quite a few executives on the subject of customer service and support and I have to say that Dell’s Dick Hunter is more transparent than most. Take a look at my interview with an executive from HP and you’ll see the difference.

    Dell is working towards being more transparent. They are talking to a lot of people – mainstream journalists, bloggers, and customers. I believe they do want feedback and they want to make it clear that they are dedicated to customer service.

    Do I think Dell will ever be able to fully recover? Not really. I do think, though, that they have a lot of room for improvement and are working hard at doing so. How long it takes for them to get “there” or how well they do it is anyone’s guess.

    Thanks again for reading and for the link. Much appreciated!

  3. May 22, 2007 2:14 am

    Thanks. I found the HP interview in 2 parts – Part 1 is here and 2 can be linked from it.

    http://www.serviceuntitled.com/interview-janice-liu-of-hp-part-1-of-2/2006/09/12/

  4. May 22, 2007 1:59 pm

    Yes, exactly. I think that interview shows what type of interview a less transparent company gives.

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