Last May, I had yet another frustrating experience with Dell. When I told a Dell customer service manager I was going to post a blog about my poor experience, he told me to go ahead.
So I did — not just for me but other frustrated Dell customers. (To read the blog, click here.)
After posting my blog on Facebook pages started by disgruntled customers, I pasted it on Dell’s Facebook page. Social media is designed to encourage two-way communication between companies and their customers.
At first, Dell removed my post, but when I reminded of this, it stayed.
Then I received a message from a member of Dell’s social media team. My suspicion is that he was trying to be responsive, but Dell’s internal bureaucracy seemed to make it difficult.
It took two months, but ultimately, I got what I asked for: a new replacement printer.
But I can’t use it. Dell advertised the once highly rated printer as MAC-friendly, but it is not. My friend, who is a Mac user and computer professional, gave up on the install. Dell’s “service” representative offered little help.
Executives who focus on social media’s marketing advantages
without being prepared for customer feedback
should take heed from my customer experience with Dell.
Two months are a long time for my public relations business to go without a working four-in-one printer. Fortunately, I still had my 10-year-old HP laser jet and eight-year-old HP color deskjet, but neither have copy, scan nor FAX functions.
I had to break down and buy another multi-function device, forgoing other capital investments. The print quality is nothing like the Dell, but at least it works. In case you’re interested, it’s a highly rated Brother, which offers lifetime customer service.
There is a lot that marketing professionals and customers can learn from this experience.
1) Do not advertise a product as compatible with anything unless there is a commitment to updates. Dell advertised the printer as Mac friendly without keeping up with MAC system updates. As a result, the scanner function did not work well.
2) Offer customer specific service. Dell marketed to Mac users without offering quality support.
3) Social media’s advantageous reach is great for consumers. After talking to the customer service manager, I used to write the company president for results. Social media is faster.
4) Be fair about posting complaints. It is poor taste to go public on social media unless every other reasonable attempt at resolution has been tried. I spent at least 14 hours with customer service for various problems. I did not go public with Dell until there was a mechanical failure and productivity issues.
5) Don’t buy electronic products with short warranties. Dell only offers a 30-day warranty for replacing equipment. The 30-day warrantee on the Dell laptop I bought in 2009 expired while trying to get resolution. I have purchased Mac products ever since.
6) Base your choice on a company’s current reputation. From 2003 to 2007, I was happy with my Dell products and enjoyed great customer service. Unfortunately, those days are gone.
Finally, I need to express my gratitude to the Dell social media employee who responded to me.
In the future, I don’t plan to buy another Dell product, but it may not be up to me anyway.
Rumor has it that Dell is getting out of consumer products and putting its focus on large servers anyway.
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