Dell’s Slippery Slope

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People seemed a bit surprised when, last week, Dell announced it will start selling versions of the Dimensions PC at Wal-Mart.  Folks ask, what happened to Dell’s sword-in-the-stone of “selling direct to the consumer?”

For your consideration:  An email I received from my sister two nights before the Dell announcement.  She’s a hotshot web designer in Cambridge, MA, and wanted to upgrade her desktop at home for freelance work:

Bear with me; I want to write this so I can see how truly crazy this is:

I ordered a desktop Dell (my laptop isn’t working well) online.  I did not receive a confirmation email so I contacted them on the phone.  Their first line of customer service is in India.  I talked to a nice but clueless woman who said there was no order in the system, had checked "everywhere.”  She said to re-enter.  Uh-huh.  So I go and re-enter.  I get emails from Dell saying your order is in process etc.  Then, I get an email saying TWO computers had shipped and two packages of Acrobat (of course they shipped the computers FedEx and software DHL).  I also ordered a refurbished monitor and the Indian woman had told me they would try to redeliver today.  They didn’t come and I called and they said it had been held at the facility in Wilmington, MA since Friday.

I took the day off today to get my last chance at signing for these stupid computers.  They are not supposed to come before 7 a.m.  Guess what?  Uh-huh.  I call immediately, and FedEx tells me that their drivers are all contractors and so they have no authority over them to try and redeliver, even though the guy had JUST left my house. Now, they are telling me that one computer was sent back to a FedEx facility even though the tracking said it was out for delivery, and the other one is lost in space.  Re: the packages of Adobe acrobat – both were signed for and received by someone named Wilson.  The person on the phone said, "Gee, maybe they delivered it to Tremont Street in Boston."  Oh f*** me.

So now, I have to drive to Wilmington after work in crap traffic and hope that both machines are there plus the monitor.  I have to then drop off one of them with a UPS ship tag to go back to Dell (God forbid they let me send it back to them the same way they sent it to me!)
 
I would rather deal with someone seeking asylum!

I wonder how many thousands of stories like these are floating around out there.  Not only does Dell screw it up, so does FedEx (long on my list of companies gone south).  I wonder how long it will be before Dell slips into the morass that holds companies like GM and Ford.  Reaching out in panic to Wal-Mart is the first treacherous step on a slippery slope to irrelevance.

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5 Responses to “Dell’s Slippery Slope”

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  1. Monkey See Monkey Do Marketing

    Kevin Hillstrom post Give Me Someone To Believe In provides an interesting analysis of some of the recent news on Dell, Best Buy Circuit City.
    I especially liked this part:
    Each week, the punditocracy tells us who we should emulate,…

  2. Customer service stories like this make me laugh, even tho they’re sad. I got so entertained that I read your whole blog page when really I just came to add you to my recommended links.

  3. Hi Michele,
    dropped by and left a comment earlier…not sure it has showed up. Oh dear….sorry about your sister’s experience. thats a mess and not something we can be proud or happy about. Wondered if everything is resolved for your sister, even though it should not have required that work on her part…its suppose to be “easy as Dell.” it was not, clearly. Our apologies.
    Could you have her drop us a note at “customer_advocate@dell.com” mention your blog and my response so we can follow up with her?
    Thanks for the post with feedback for us….we will get on it and fix it for the future.

  4. Steve Mertz says:

    Hi Michelle, Several compnanies that sell to Walmart have complained that Walmart not only squeezes their margins but encourages the vendors to use less expensive materials in their products…Good-Bye stock price of Dell and what little they had left of customer service.

  5. Liz says:

    I had the same exact experience with Dell!! Ill try to make a long story short. Somehow my order got canceled, talked to someone in India, had the order re-done and then all of a sudden, i am getting double of everything i ordered!!! I tried talking to them on the phone, and on the website via chat– ITS IMPOSSIBLE. I will NEVER order from Dell again!

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