Thursday, July 31

Direct from Dell (to Hell)

No its not a complete, "I hate Dell" post.

I was the student representative for IIM Indore, in handling all the IT problems. I loved it, and liked fixing the varied problems that my classmates, juniors and seniors had. Back then, we had a tie up with Dell for laptops. Roughly at any point of time, at least 70 laptops were there from Dell. The warranty on them had lapsed in a years' time, so ... as Murphy would have it, the problems started cropping up only after then. Thus started the telephone calls over Warranty issues, and the constant bartering ... over warranty given on paper ... then comes the line, read the fine print. I was glad to hand over the ITCom Secretary post to my able junior .. whew!!

Now I do not own a Dell laptop anymore, but two of my colleagues do. Both have malfunctioning laptop batteries and chargers to boot, so the machine refuses to run without AC power and a functioning battery. Ok ... easy solution ... go to support dot dell dot com and raise a request. One month wait for customer care to respond. Fine, lets raise a sales enquiry of purchasing a new battery and a charger ... one month wait for sales to respond. Is the site working anymore?

If you have a website and are making case studies of it in so many b-schools, then can you make sure it works properly; and if it is working properly, then why not respond to the customer, establishing their expectations. No response is a no-no. That has not only resulted in lost sales, but more importantly lost customers. An easier approach would be to sell extended warranty support to them and retain them as customers.

9 comments:

Amit said...

hmmm... what exactly is the point you're trying to make here? that dell's support/sales takes wayy too much time, or that there should be a response when you register something (something like tactile feedback on devices)?

And IMO the last line you wrote does not go with the main body of the post...

But I agree that the 'tactile feedback' is a necessity.

Do you hate Dell? :D

maxmayur said...

Its actually got to do with Outsourcing the support activities. Most of Dell's support including sales support is now handled from Bangalore (or Hyderabad, either of them.) They have a severe head crunch. I met with few officials here last week and they were echoing the same view.

Problem with extended warranty is that Dell themselves don't manufacture all the components. They procure it through various locales (global procurement model.. blah blah). They are mere assemblers. If they start manufacturing locally and maintain Dell after sales support centers (a.k.a. LG or Samsung) they might reduce the customer attrition.

Prasad said...

@amit - yes, tactile feedback. the last line is just an off the cuff suggestion, nothing else. its related since the goal is to retain the customer here, and thus increase the value of and for the customer.

@mayur - so you say, dell is recruiting eh? :) .. or is it simply short of smart talking english indian personnel?

maxmayur said...

yes they are... frankly speaking they really wanted smart English speaking geeks.

Prasad said...

@mayur - thats a high priced resource :-D

ranjith said...

kida....here to back you up....one of the victim :) the product is so awesome that it wouldnt need repair work, but when it does...if u arent on warranty....it hellish i guess ! The question is...was our experience an exception ?

Prasad said...

@don - Yogi, PG, You, Mayank, Me ... all of us suffered the same fate, at different points of time ... good question though. Tht raises another point, can you choose your customer moments of truth?

Amit said...

please stop throwing P&G style jargons now :D

but didn't PG get an awesome battery as replacement? I thought he was a happy Dell customer?

Prasad said...

@amit - If you can do it, so can i :P
You should have handled PG during summers, before the battery replacement :)