Dell admits Indian mistake

Dell admits Indian mistake

Summary: The PC maker has 'learnt its lesson' from customer complaints that forced it to bring some call-centre work back in-house after it had been outsourced to India

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TOPICS: Networking
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Dell admits it has "learnt its lesson" after being forced to drop its Indian call centre last year because of customer complaints about the quality of service.

The call-centre operation for the OptiPlex desktops and Latitude laptops was moved back to the US and, in an exclusive interview with silicon.com, Dell CIO Randy Mott said the Bangalore centre was unable to deal satisfactorily with the volume of calls generated by the rapid growth of those product lines.

"In that example we were not as efficient as we want to be," he said. "We were growing very quickly in that [consumer] segment. It got a little ahead of us. We took the decision to get it back under control. Our customers expect more from Dell than other companies and we weren't meeting those [expectations]."

Mott did not rule out future expansion in India and said Dell has a policy of "all-shoring" wherever the right skills are to meet the needs of its global business.

"We certainly learned a lot of things and we'll be smarter about our growth in newly developed areas," he said.

Mott has been CIO at Dell for four years now after his move from US retail giant Wal-Mart, and said being CIO for a technology company has its good and bad points.

"One of the positive things about it is you have a management team that understands the importance of technology," he said. "But there are also 46,000 CIOs in our company who all have opinions on technology and insights, so part of the challenge is good communication to understand what those opinions and thoughts are."

In Mott's time at Dell the IT budget has dropped from 1.91 per cent of revenue to 1.44 per cent of albeit larger revenues and the company is spending less in real dollar terms. Mott plans to bring that down even further to around one per cent of revenue, but that is likely to mean an actual dollar increase given Dell's ambitions to be a $60bn revenue company by 2005.

And Dell is getting more out of its own IT for that money. Mott said his department completed 480 projects last year and has 650 on the table this year, with 60 per cent of the 3,000 IT staff now working in development.

Internally the priorities include the Dell enterprise data warehouse, its global online shop and the migration from Sun Solaris running proprietary Unix to Red Hat Linux, which is set to complete this year. Externally with its own product set a lot of resource is also going into development around applications for Dell's 'one-stop shop' services business.

One area Dell won't be looking at for its own needs is outsourcing. Mott admitted that outsourcing can lead to an "average" IT cost for some firms but said IT is a core part of Dell's business.

"The last thing we want is an average cost structure," he said. ""We consider IT a core competency. It is something we look to for sustainable competitive advantage."

Topic: Networking

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1027 comments
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  • I have just called and got put through to India and the line was appaling and I have been completely put off.
    I asked him the WEIGHT of the lap-top and was told 850 pounds!! (presume
    anonymous
  • I guess that Dell have failed to spend enough for educating their Indian staffs.
    anonymous
  • Dells indian call center... what a nightmare.. how many times can they tell you to please run the diagnostics again for me and i will get right back to you ... messed around about a month ...finally got fixed no thanks to call center
    anonymous
  • Dell's technical help is a joke. Our hard drive failed whilst still under warranty. I had the drive tested locally by a data retrieval company to try and save the data on it, before ringing Dell to request a replacement. What a nightmare! I could not understand the girl at the other end of the phone, her English was not good and her foreign accent was impossible. I had to ask her to repeat everything again, and she was programmed to refuse any claim under the warranty unless the diagnostic checks were carried out. After 45 minutes of trying to explain that the hard drive had been examined and verified as beyond repair, I got mad and asked her what part of "goosed" she didn't understand! She hadn't a clue what I meant, and didn't know the meaning of "buggered" either. After I shouted at her and told her what a load of cr*p Dell computers were, she agreed to consult a supervisor and ring back. Only then, when I gave my number and she repeated it, using the international dialling code, did I realise that I might not be talking to someone in the UK. I asked her she was ringing frim and she replied, "India". What good is technical support from someone who only speaks Engilsh as a second language? She didn't understand me and I certainly could not understand her.
    anonymous
  • Dell's customer centers are not educated!
    anonymous
  • I bought my Dell Inspiron from what I thought was an American company. In the beginning, I spoke to Americans who understood me and I understood them. Now I'm talking to Indians who cannot speak English at all, and if they can it is not clear, don't know what they are talking about, etc. If I had wanted to buy a foreign product, I would have done that. I suggest you bring those customer care/help back to America. At least we're familiar with the product.
    anonymous
  • DO NOT BUY DELL -- BEWARE!!! THE SERVICE IS 3RD WORLD AND HARDLY TO STANDARD. MY GOD, WHAT ARE THEY THINKING? TERRIBLE SERVICE ALL AROUND.
    anonymous
  • I'm a great believer in equality and diversity provided that the employee is up to the job.

    You wouldn't employ a van driver who couldn't drive, so why would you employ a call centre operative who can't speak the language of the customer they are paid to deal with?

    Employing someone as an English-speaking call centre operative when his or her English is poor is simply ludicrous!

    I have now cancelled my order with Dell!

    I think that other organisations that are considering overseas call centres should think again!
    anonymous
  • I have had incredible service since day1. My Dell laptop (inspiron 8200) broke down on the 5th day after purchase. So much for Dell products... I had heard that dell after-sales service was pathetic, but left with no other choice, I called on the tech support number. I was terribly irrate, but the agent was so understanding. He explained me the problem and gave a clear cut picture of the issue we had there. The resolution was provided almost instantaneously! I thanked the agent, and let me tell you, his english was good! Ok, the accent was unlike american, but let me add, gramatically and otherwise, his English was far better than most americans i know!!! Then... the other day i called in for tech support regarding a wireless router issue, only this time i was routed to a US based tech support queue. The bugger was so impolite and rather rude. Neither did he understand the issue and neither did he care to listen. All he wanted to do was for me to go and format the hard drive!!! I'm not a computer geek, but i DO know that for a simple wireless router issue, one doesnt need to format the HDD, for Gods sake!!! No, i didnt get any help, but i called in again for the same issue and this time again an indian technician came ob the line, who resolved the issue in 4 mins flat!!! Impressive indeed!!! I dont know what u guys talk shit about the indian call centres... but i know, they're great!!! Peace!!
    anonymous
  • I am not among those who blames or curse for offshoring jobs to 3rd world country.I mean so far my problems are getting resolved.So far whenever i called dell, on 90% occassion i landed up to india and i find them extremely helpful, softspoken and knowledgable.As far as the English is, sometimes they are a bit difficult to understand but then no one on this universe is perfect.Even in United States we have people who speaks real fast and sometime they are very hard to understand.So Language shouldn't be an issue.I am very happy with DELL and it technical supports(Specially the Indian Agents), who are extremely educated and knowledgable.
    anonymous
  • well services being outsourced to india is the a very good thing that can happen, indian technicians are really good at what they do, they know their work. i had called just once for an issue which was resolved in a matter of minutes. the agents english was good and pretty understandable. now what do we expect from some other national good communication skills and easy to understand which i personally think is there in indian technicians from india and Dell has done a great job in outsourcing their services.
    anonymous
  • Dell is the best company for computers and the after sales services which they provide is just great. which includes all kinds of services
    as in technical support and i appreciate dell for having such a big network of support centres to serve its customers all over the globe.
    anonymous
  • Dell appear to have dropped their hardware failure support for customers
    anonymous
  • Hai every body,

    I am from india and i work for a bpo organisation,i respect american customers and love to interact with them.But some of the american customer's are under the false impression that indian call centres are not doing well,which is a false impression and wrong perception.In fact indian call centres are doing exceedingly well in providing the customer experience.As a matter of fact there are bad customers and bad rep's,but it is not the end of the game,we have a lot of good custmers and good rep's,So lets all look at the positive side of the issue rather than at the negative side of it...ok...bye bye

    Your's in Him
    Suman
    anonymous
  • I've just read your comment on the indian based dell customer service and feel that it is rediculous. The recent survey says that dell provides the best customer service and is able to satisfy most of their customer needs, as you now no one can be 100% perfect. look at ur own PC world customer service, which consists of majority of the uk citizens, but i feel it has the worst rating in terms of cs, and this has been stated in most of the surveys. So no what do you say, that a person speaking english as a econd language cant provide you with much support, this is bull shit, then all these days dell couldn't have reached the standards it has now acheived. And more over i live in uk and used to work for national railway enquiries as a cs, though i was indian none of the customers felt that i was not being helpful to them, i found that each and every coustomer was satisfied. where as the agents who were uk citizens were most of the time giving incorrect infos, i dont think speaking english as a second language is of any matter while coming to satisfying a customer.
    anonymous
  • 2/11/04

    It is impossible to contact anyone other than India with in the Dell organisation. The UK/ireland seemed trained in evading any telephone calls by having answering machines and not returning the calls.

    After reading comments about Dell Customer service etc. Things have not changed and I would advise anyone not to purchase from them due to the lack of after service support.

    I have a problem computer/printer still not resolved after 1 month and no one is interested at Dell.
    anonymous
  • I must point out that people who think they are speaking in ENGLISH from England are in a world of fallacies. The English language used in England is no where close to even a degree of the Correct English in theory. What was you saying? - try this one for a start. I just want to point out that English is no more spoken by people residing in England than by INDIANS IN INDIA. It is usually very sad to hear these comments from well travelled people.
    Off shoring is a project, you are not implementing it correctly.
    anonymous
  • The problem I had with Dell and the Indian call centre for my Inspiron purchase was the insistence by the people at the end of the phone to stick to a script.

    This is useless if my query falls outside the scope of that script.

    The ability of people to understand English does vary considerably. I lived in Australia for a while and my two observations on this subject are thus.

    Firstly I met a very nice Hungarian girl who had only spoken English in Australia and she had difficulty in understanding me a native English English speaker. She heard the sound as much as the words themselves. The same with me and Dutch and Flemish. Same language (essentially) but a different sound.

    Then I had to phone Dell (again! :) ) in Australia and I get put through to Singapore. Same trouble as the Hungarian girl. Sound as much as words.

    So my point is that understanding English is as much to do with the sound it makes to the listener as the words are spoken. So it is with all languages.

    Thus to use non native English speakers can will and does lead to situations as I have previously described. Whereas I would contend that a native English speaker would not get into one the situations above.

    It is for this reason that call centres, in places where English is not the first language, will struggle with different English speakers.
    anonymous
  • I would never buy from a big company like Dell. The point is that they are so remote whereever they are located and because of their sheer size individual home customers will never be that important. They will shift their service operations to wherever it's cheapest and whether you get good service or not will always be a matter of luck (as you can see from the completely opposite opinions of them in the previous comments).
    I would rather trade with a smaller local/regional setup and take a small risk of them going out of business. With the small size and smaller customer base, reputation and individual customers are bound to be more important, and they will usually be more flexible. And typically you can even (if necessary) actually go into their shop/office and talk to a person face to face.
    anonymous
  • Dell Support Staff in India Sucks.....i had a problem with my desktop and had some issues with the Drives. The suport guy in India "Sunil Singh" Was so dam ignorent about the issue...he was stamerring over the phone and could not resolve my issues. Infact he messed up my PC. Ultimately i had to re-image my PC
    anonymous