Dell 2.0 to focus on customer satisfaction

Dell 2.0 to focus on customer satisfaction

Summary: Michael Dell acknowledges that something needs to be done about failing customer satisfaction at the computer maker he founded

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TOPICS: Hardware
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Computer manufacturer Dell is to focus on customer satisfaction, which it admitted on Wednesday it "had not done perfectly in the past".

The company is investing $150m in customer relationships this year, said chairman Michael Dell in New York on Tuesday. He hopes the business plan, called Dell 2.0, will reverse the flagging fortunes of the biggest computer maker in the world. Recent woes have included a poor quarterly earnings report and exploding laptop batteries.

Dell had to recall 4.1 million laptop batteries in August after several Dell laptops exploded into flames earlier this year.

"We weren't living up to the standards our customers were expecting in some areas of our business," chairman Michael Dell told ZDNet UK. "We've [therefore] announced significant investments," he added.

Chief executive Kevin Rollins said the change will "involve deepening customer relationships, and customising the entire customer experience, placing a greater emphasis on services tailored to individual customers".

Rollins admitted that the company needs to "broaden customer relationships by listening and evaluating more". He added: "This is a shift from a transactional model to value created over the lifetime of a customer relationship."

Dell plans to invest more in its sales channels, both in sales contacts and its online presence, in its Web site front and back end. The company also wants to expand the scope of Dell Connect, which enables a Dell technician to take control of a customer's system should they be encountering problems.

Dell has also reduced its supply base, to "reduce variability in component quality". It has asked its core suppliers to perform ongoing reliability testing, so it becomes aware of issues "faster than the general industry", according to Brad Anderson, senior vice president and general manager of Dell's product line.

The company will also focus on design — something it has been accused of neglecting in the drive to increase efficiency.

Over recent years, Dell's customer service ratings have become consistently worse.

Brad Anderson, senior vice president and general manager of the product line told ZDNet UK that Dell made a decision to address customer dissatisfaction a year ago, in recognition of ongoing service problems.

"We made a decision six to 12 months ago because we weren't pleased with our internal and external customer satisfaction indices," said Anderson.

Anderson said he "would not go through the litany" of problems with Dell service levels, but said that in future Dell would provide better quality of support. "Should you have any issue, we will handle it properly," said Anderson. "Unfortunately the slipping didn't happen overnight, and repairs won't happen overnight," said Anderson.

Topic: Hardware

Tom Espiner

About Tom Espiner

Tom is a technology reporter for ZDNet.com. He covers the security beat, writing about everything from hacking and cybercrime to threats and mitigation. He also focuses on open source and emerging technologies, all the while trying to cut through greenwash.

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7 comments
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  • I love Dell. I have always tried to buy exclusively from them--mainly because of their excellent customer service. In the last year or two, however, it's been as if customers are under suspicion of having an issue that they bring to their "lifetime telephone support" that is a "fee-based" concern. Once I called and was almost immediately told I would have to call the "fee-based" number. I called later, got another tech to ask about the same issue, and the assumption was that he COULD help me--and he did. I just hope they go back to their high standards of customer service as soon as possible. I have missed that.
    anonymous
  • I was attarcted to Dell because of the hype around it am really an Hp-Compaq person, This is my first time of buying a DELL Laptop, for use in a crave for a a DUO laptop I picked Latitude D620 thinking that I will enjoy a cool road runner, but my greatest frustration is the mouse pointer that periodically runs around the screen as a system person i have tried to figure it out with little success...am really not happy..am thinking of giving the laptop away, because the frustration is deep.....Well lets see how far they can go with the reengineering of the entire customer product design of their product.
    anonymous
  • Lets see. I was a committed Dell customer having bought three Dell machines in a row. The last one was a dud giving constant problems - and I got nowhere with Dell Customer service. I even wrote to the US - No response, Silence. I have a new brand of choice however pile it high and sell it cheap Dell goes. I told Dell 2 years ago - they really had to try hard to get rid of a committed fan like me - but the succeeded!
    anonymous
  • Have bought or advised purchase and maintained about 30 Dell PCs - none of them really troublesome re hardware or software(1 CD drive had to be replaced). My main grouse at present is the heavy-weight of emails & phone calls asking me if I'm satisfied with the solutions offered for 2 minor recent issues (one of them the carrier's responsibility)! Make essential contacts quick, easy and cheap, especially those by phone., and cut the present charm offensive actions speak louder than words
    anonymous
  • I deal mainly with Dell in Europe, particularly their Dutch subsiduary, and I have to say that I have always found the support afforded to our corporate organisation to be exceptional. The willingness to engage to be good.

    We have experienced problems with specific incidents, so they are not totally without blame...

    I guess this just shows the difference between their corporate and personal support.
    anonymous
  • I went online to BUY an entry-level Dell laptop for my daughter. The process was long-winded and tried to sell me items I didn't want.

    I could find no assurance of next-day delivery.

    I stopped half-way through and logged on to Dabs where I BOUGHT the same spec, same price Lenovo in minutes. It arrived the next day.

    You remember these things.
    anonymous
  • I work for a Dell reseller, i have done for 3 years and yes the machines have small problems but all in all i have NOT had a problem. Nothing at all.

    When things go wrong i call their numbers and i get answers....generally.

    if you want some good numbers call

    0870 3664023

    and

    0870 9080500

    That's gold technical and standard support ;)
    anonymous