HeLL

Nowadays, we live in an interdependent, more informed and connected world. Now, many potential buyers have easy access to hundreds of customer’s review, who previously had used a specific product. Several of these reviews can be determinant for a person when deciding which brand to choose and buy.  Companies have to be aware that now the web could easily either, bring more customers to their companies or just push them away from their products and failed in the market. This was the case of Dell, the company’s policy and bad customer service made several customers to complaint through the web, pushing the company to hell.

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The Hell Dell’s Case

All started on June 2005, when media consultant and blogger, Jeff Jarvis bought a Dell laptop as well as the four-year home warranty. Almost immediately after receiving the machine, it malfunctioned.  Jarvis constantly contacted Dell’s customer support, and he was advised that he needed to send the machine back to the company because the technician would not be able to come to his home with the parts he would need. After this, he started writing his bad experiences dealing with Dell on his blog Buzzmachine.com. This initial post received approximately 253 comments, all of which were written by other consumers who’d been on the receiving end of Dell’s poor customer service. After several weeks, Jarvis received his laptop back only to find that it was still not functioning. Then, Jarvis proceeded to chronicle his experience and his ever-growing frustrations on his blog. He received more comments. It was not until Jarvis wrote a letter directly to Michael George, Dell’ s Chief Marketing Officer and Vice President for US Consumer Business, that Jarvis received the long awaited reply

On August 16, 2005, Computerworld online reported on a study conducted by the University of Michigan regarding Dell’s customer service rating. According to the study, Dell’s ACSI (American Customer Satisfaction Index) score dropped five points in one year

Why did Dell go to Hell?

1. Remaining silent

Dell remained silent even knowing that there were several people in the outside world complaining about the companies’ customer service through different media such as blogs. While the flames of “Dell Hell” burned, Dell Inc. played the fiddle and did nothing. The company refused to comment on any of Jarvis’s blogs and press statements regarding the incident. Instead, Dell closed its online customer forum.

2. Not putting ears to customers:

 Dell knew what was being said about them it was company policy to look but not touch. In the eyes of Dell, blogging did not have that much credibility. Dell knew that there were many customers complaining about its customer service; however, they did not pay attention to what people were writing because they never thought those complaints were going to hurt the company’s performance. They never measured the impact that social media could have in Dell’s performance.

What Dell should have done to avoid the “Hell”?

The “Dell Hell” episode serves as a useful model for the corporate approach to both social media and consumer relations.

1. Put an ear to constituents:

After looking at this case, it is quite easy to understand that companies need to take the time to listen to what is being said about their organization particularly online. In the online world, it is really easy to see what customers are thinking about the company.

2. Invest where the mouth is:

Having an online presence and listen customer’s feedbacks allow the companies to improve their weaknesses and be able to satisfy potential and current customers in a near future. It is here where companies have to put their money and efforts.

3. Interact with customers:

Dell’s case has taught many companies that it is important to interact with the customers through social media tool’s usage. There is no better way to discover customer’s needs and satisfaction than interacting and listening to them.

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