Dell: Our customer service has improved

Dell: Our customer service has improved

Summary: If you call Dell's customer service department you'll be on hold one-third as long as you would have been this time last year.  Tucked away--actually second to last paragraph--in Dell's earnings release was a tidbit on the customer service.

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TOPICS: Dell
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If you call Dell's customer service department you'll be on hold one-third as long as you would have been this time last year.  

Tucked away--actually second to last paragraph--in Dell's earnings release was a tidbit on the customer service. Dell has invested $150 million into fixing its customer service operations, which have drawn the ire of customers.

Dell said it "is seeing signs of improvement in key external and internal indicators. By increasing the number of agents, average hold times for U.S. customers have been reduced from nine minutes to three minutes in the past year. In addition, the company has reduced call transfers by over 30 percent and has improved first contact resolution rates by 20 percent."

How that translates into how customers perceive Dell--the only thing that really matters--remains to be seen. Once you screw up customer service it takes a long time to woo customers again.

Meanwhile, Dell said it will stick with its customer service investment even if it dings the company's profit outlook. Dell said its customer service investment is one of the factors that may cloud its financial outlook.

Dell's best move: Invest heavily in customer service pronto. Why? For starters, Dell has no choice. But Dell's financial picture is muddy at best. Why not ramp up your investing when Wall Street is expecting absolutely nothing but bad news from you?

Among other odds and ends in its fiscal third quarter report:

--The company reported preliminary earnings per share of 30 cents on revenue of $14.4 billion. Those results were well above Thomson Financial estimates calling for earnings of 24 cents a share. But take these financials with a grain of salt. Dell is being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission and financial reports may be restated.

--Dell began shipping two new PowerEdge servers with AMD Opteron processors. Server revenue was $1.5 billion with 12 percent growth in units. The company got whacked on desktop revenue, which was $4.7 billion, as unit growth fell 5 percent.

--One bright spot was Dell's unit growth in China, which was up 33 percent. In India, unit growth was up 93 percent. Dell added it plans to open manufacturing plants in India next year. In the Asia-Pacific and Japan region overall revenue was $1.9 billion.

Topic: Dell

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31 comments
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  • 150 million for something that was working

    Dell had the American customer service reps in place at least four years ago, but Dell decided it needed to turn a profit by outsourcing to India. Now they spend 150 million to fix something they broke. Will they ever learn? We don't want to hear phoney english accent speaking customer service reps!
    firstmagnitude
    • Say it again and again until all of them "gets" it.

      Then, let's work on Sony. Mahatma and Indira answer Sony's Customer Service line also. If you really want a laugh, try Sony's e-mail customer service. If you send an e-mail saying, "I keep getting stack overflow on line 58", two days later you will get an e-mail (from India) saying that "We are delighted to assist you. Please click on the followiwng link." When you do, you'll be in MS's Knowledge Base finding out how to re-install Windows ME. There is no correlation between the problem and the solution. I wonder if they've taken Computers 101. The company that has U.S. customer service reps get my business from now on.
      rccoffee
      • Not sure you're right

        I think it has less to do with the nationality of the rep and more to do with the fact that they are not qualified for the job they're doing because the company employing them doesn't want to spend the money to either get someone with the proper qualifications or train the unqualified people they've hired.

        I will admit to having some issues with accents so heavy that communication is impossible, however.
        ebrke
        • Good point (NT)

          :)
          Spoon Jabber
          • Re: Good point?

            It has everything to do with Nationality and the fact the language barrier.

            The only other fact is money, Dell thought they would have a better bottom line by elimination of US Jobs here. By paying someone in a 3rd world country $300 a year, no taxes, no benefits no nothing versus having to pay $35,000 ect....


            NAFTA & Offshoring have accomplished one goal to lower the USA into a new low of fewer jobs, higher taxes and cheap imported goods from China. The United States is a Republic that was successful while manufacturing goods and servicing those goods. Now we find ourselves not manufacturing anything except importing ourselves into 8 Trillion in debt to China. China is buying our funds and keeping us afloat, meanwhile they are developing new weapons, missles and amassing a huge military force.

            The liberal people believe in exporting all jobs overseas, so the America as we know it can become a 3rd world dump with poverty, disease and no future.
            Linux User 1
          • Liberals?

            [i]The liberal people believe in exporting all jobs overseas[/i]

            I am not sure that word means what you think it means.
            Patrick Jones
          • Offshoring

            Well, they are saying that this is good for the country sending jobs overseas where Americans are clearly qualified.


            Liberals are tree leeches wanting people to stop driving with NO solutions other than some spotted owl 'Al Gore'...
            Linux User 1
          • Um, correct me if I'm wrong...

            But I believe it was Bush that was in such high support of all this offshoring, not to mention the increase in H1-B Visa's.

            Now, who's supporting who?
            BitTwiddler
          • You sir, are a backwater

            southern fried hillbilly. Nationality has absolutely NOTHING to do with it. You live in America you dips**t. We have many nationalities here. It does have something to do with a language barrier, or even perhaps a cultural barrier as well. But you are just a biggot who thinks you are better than everyone else. Let me tell you something, you are not better than everyone else. We all bleed red dumb a**. You might do well to remember that.

            Now that isn't to say that I am for outsourcing. I'm not. I believe if I need help for something and I am in America then the support for it should be in AMerica. If I was in Australia then the support should be in Australia. You get the picture.
            Shelendrea
    • Bring it back to USA, problem solved!

      Yes, $150 millions wasted on moving back all of the support back to the USA. They could have invested that money in the people they had working at the time, on more training, on new products on anything but they flushed it down the toilet thinking they were going to take advantage of cheap labor.

      You get what you pay for, offshoring technical jobs will end in failure.
      Linux User 1
    • This story does not say the dropped India...

      They may have invested all $150 million in their Indian Help Desk. Who knows...
      BitTwiddler
  • My first hand experience says "Yeah right"

    Customer service? Yeah right.

    Called those clowns yesterday and they refused to sell me additional hot swap trays for a 1.5 year old server. They only sell hard drives that include the trays. The reason cited is that the "special" screws aren't included so they don't sell just the trays.

    They even gave me the phone number of a completely different company that would sell just the trays.

    It was one of those twilight zone moments......

    I don't think I'll be buying servers any more from a company that won't even sell extra parts for them.
    ibabadur1
    • well...

      This is normal. Try getting empty drive trays from Sun, EMC, IBM, HP, etc. You can't. They make their money by marking up standard drives and using proprietary carriers.

      You are lucky that Dell told you about third-party clone carriers.

      That said, Dell customer service still sucks. I ran into a total clusterf*** when trying to order a spare battery (well before the recall.) I was blatently lied to 6 times. The worst problem is that there is no escalation path. All you are allowed to talk to are the bottom feeders.

      I took Dell off the approved vendor list for my company. Medium - large companies (>200 employees) can get dedicated account reps that make most (not all) of the problems go away, but small businesses get total crap service. Frankly, it's just not worth it. I buy HP now, which is more geared towards the enterprise anyway (better management tools when you are dealing with large numbers of servers.)
      waltmaine
      • IBM Will

        "This is normal. Try getting empty drive trays from Sun, EMC, IBM, HP, etc. You can't. They make their money by marking up standard drives and using proprietary carriers."

        Our IBM tech even left us a few of 'em just in case we got some more bare drives.

        Dell = GARBAGE at all levels, especially servers. Smart companies do best to avoid them completely.
        ITGuy04
  • What improved service

    That I'll be talking to a Habib or Hadib, that takes two hours to diagonis what I already know is wrong. Did this 150 million improve so they read from a computer monitor instead of a manual that tells how fix every solution in a dell.

    Why don't you take that 150 million and hire about 1500 people here in the US that know how to turn on a computer, are trained to answer questions and speak understandable english. You might even get people to buy from dell again with support like that.
    RIAAsucks
  • Dell "no Service"

    Being an English speaking American Ido not think too much of Dells service and after 4 laptops i will no longer purchase abother Drll.
    mpeckman@...
  • Dell Customer Support???

    I have just finished talking to a young lady whose hard drive had crashed. She got the 3rd degree from the "friendly" tech support and hung up in tears. Is that how they are going to make it better. Seems to me that they had better improve their bedside manner a bit.
    Dr. Bob 80
  • Support?

    I'd have to say that it's gotten even worse!

    I called last week about a mouse that fell apart that was under warranty, and the rep had me give him remote control over my pc and proceeded to do a disk cleanup and defrag. Then I was put on hold for "2 minutes" and was disconnected after 40 minutes. I had to start all over from the voice prompts.

    I asked what a defrag had to do with a broken mouse, and I got the standard reply "don't worry...your pc will be just fine."

    Actually this was a minor problem...I started getting BSOD crashes from the first day.....29 in the first 3 months....I had to reinstall Windows twice and I was on the cell phone with them for 9 hours the 1st time, and 8 hours the 2nd time. My cell literally burned my ear, and I had a big limp on it.

    This service is tantamount to buying a new vehicle (and an additional 4 year in-home warranty, as I did with my Dell) and calling for service and being told to go out in your driveway and taking a screwdriver and fixing it yourself while you work on it and they read you the directions of what to do. This was also my first pc purchase, so on top of not being able to understand what they were saying, I was expected to be a service tech myself!

    This is my first and last Dell ever!
    dyanne2@...
    • Yes technical support

      All of this whining. I tell you first of all you're comparing apples and oranges. Computers and a vehicle are a whole different animal, or fruit :)

      When you buy a car and it breaks you don't call them and ask for a technician to come out to your house and fix it for you do you? Last time I checked you can't. Second you always take it to the dealership where they fix it. They have all of their tools and equipment onsite and you wait for hours even days depending on how bad your vehicle is. My point is that when you bought that computer from Dell, or whoever HP, Gateway, you agreed to their terms for service.

      Look at it this way if you could fix your car by unplugging and plugging a wire easily seen under your hood would you do it? Or would you rather them arrange for a auto tech to come out to your house? They'd have to come on a day you're off at a time when their not too busy, and not at the end of their shift between 8-5p.

      By all means I can relate to your technical support experiences. Sometimes technical support can be a VERY bad experience for all of us no matter who we call. Have you ever called Microsoft? Get my point? The thing is that Dell actually sees this as a problem and is pumping a whole lot of money into it to fix this. That means they LISTEN to their customers complaints closely. Also we know that all computer technicians aren't created equally, obviously. Sometimes you'll get someone who says to do things that aren't related seemingly. Are all auto mechanics on the same level? Nope. Sometimes you get a rookie who is just as lost as you, or you'll get a hardened vet who gets you fixed before you get back from test driving that new corvette at the dealer.

      Try to be a little more patient with computer techs as you are with car techs.
      whitetiger06
  • Dell Customer service

    Their enterprise service is the best. I never felt pressured, was allowed to stay on as long as I needed, and was given their personal numbers for follow up. I received several Emails to verify I was happy and the equipment was working. Best of all, the help desk was located right here in the US in Oaklahoma! Go Dell, you made a believer out of me.
    wrowe12@...