Apr 05

Contrary to posts I’ve read on the nightmares people have had with Dell, I had my third experience with their customer service yesterday and it was nearly flawless. I actually added a new category of feed called “Endorsements” to offset the “Rants” and acknowledge companies when they kick ass. Every computer breaks occasionally – you can’t fault a manufacturer for goods that wear out from usage – just like with people, it’s how they handle the problem when it happens that defines their character and all I can say is that this is the reason I bought a Dell in the first place. The experience of getting the repair was _nearly_ perfect and my only qualm with it was that they buried the service request form deep in their site and made me go through their troubleshooting wizard before displaying the ability to file a service request. I can see how this would help limit the number of unnecessary requests by forcing people to try their troubleshooting steps first but I knew this problem required filing a service request and spent about 15min hunting around their site for it before attempting the wizard.

So I’ve been hammering out code for ABC the past few days which is good, but the problem with hammering out code is that you hammer out your keyboard as well- my “d” key became ultra-sensitive on Monday and started generating the letter “d” spontaneously while I was typing. I’ve had my Inspiron 9300 for almost a year now and other than an SD reader that went bad this summer, this is the only problem I’ve had. It wasn’t a total showstopper for using the machine but it was definitely a nuisance and hindering my ability to type quickly because I was constantly deleting a bunch of “d’s” (deeezz nuuutz). I checked the dell.com site and found that I had 11 days remaining on warranty, floundered briefly on their site trying the livechat and looking for the service request form, finally found it by walking through their troubleshooting wizard and filled out the request form. I got an email an hour later from a human that said I didn’t have on-site warranty status and I would normally have to send them my laptop but that in light of the repair necessary and my expressed inability to go without a machine at this crucial time, they would drop a keyboard in the mail along with instructions on how to fix it (the beauty of human intervention over automated handling of this service request). Having never performed a keyboard transplant before I was skeptical about conducting this type of surgery myself but given that the hindrance in typing was becoming a real roadblock, it made more sense to try and fix it.

The next morning (yesterday) when I got to work, there was a new keyboard on the doorstep complete with tools and instructions on how to make the swap. Somehow between writing code, learning songs for our upcoming gig and dashing off to the Refresh meeting, I managed to perform a successful transplant of the keyboard and I’m now happily back in business. There was prefilled air bill in the box and I just repackaged the defective keyboard with the tools that were included and dropped it in the mail today. This is how it’s supposed to work, right? I have to give props to Dell for a stellar display of what good customer service should be.

On another note the Refresh meeting was probably the best I’ve attended so far and we had a lively round table discussion with about sixty participants of what’s involved in launching your own business. I recorded the audio and made it available here. If you’re outside of Phoenix, check www.refreshingcities.org to see if there’s a Refresh in your town yet – this is a very passionate group of people sharing insights about their trade. Big ups to James Archer from 40 Media for moderating this discussion.

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2 Responses to “Acknowledging good customer service”

  1. benny says:

    so hows that dell treating you sean :-)

    -b ( that other guy with the apple, the one not in your office hounding you to get one ;-) )

  2. Sean Tierney says:

    so not to toot dell’s horn anymore on this but just when i thought they couldn’t have been more proactive in how they handled that incident, i receive the note below with a return address to a HUMAN BEING in their customer support. they must have an intiative to troll the comments being posted about them in the blogosphere and followup with people to ensure they had a good experience. 5 stars on this Dell- seriously top notch on this whole thing.
    (and i suppose i should make it clear i have no affiliation with them other than i’ve owned dell laptops for the past 6yrs- i just think you give credit where credit is due and was feeling like the Rant category on SOD was getting a little heavy…)

    From: Margo @ Dell
    Dear Mr. Tierney,
    Dell routinely visits online communities to reach out to our customers. In doing so, we have identified you as a customer who provided positive feedback regarding your experience, for which we are grateful.

    Feedback remains one of Dell’s most important tools to improving our service and support, and your blog provided the information we need to review policies, procedures and processes. If you would like to provide additional information, please feel free by way of reply to this e-mail. You can also provide your phone number, if you would like us to contact you directly.

    From: Sean Tierney
    Margo, you guys are ontop of it. mind if i post your note as a comment on that blog entry. i have nothing but praise for how that whole incident was handled. the only thing i would change from my perspective is don’t hide the support request link on your site beneath the troubleshooting wizard when there is an advanced user that knows the problem will require filing a request. again, i understand why you shield the support team from unnecessary traffic but it would be nice to have an advanced user option for contacting you when we know that’s what is required to resolve things.

    From: Margo @ Dell
    Dear Mr. Tierney,

    Great observations! Thank you, again.

    Feel free to post the body of the e-mail; however, I prefer my name and contact information be kept confidential, if you don’t mind.

    Once again, we truly appreciate your comments. This is certainly information we can drive back to Dell’s web development team!

    We appreciate your support. Have a great day!

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