If you’ve been paying attention to the world of blogs over the past year or two you’lll probably be familiar with the phrase “Dell Hell“. It was the damning label that came to sum up the story of when Jeff Jarvis, the prolific journalist blogger (at Buzzmachine), and his poor experience of customer service from the company.
When he wrote about it he attracted many stories of similar issues from other bloggers and it became clear that Dell was suffering some serious problems with its customer service. At first the company’s reaction was to ignore these stories but eventually it started to listen. And as it listened it began to change. Jarvis sums up the story after having met with the “outreach” team that mans the Direct2Dell blog :
they put together a team to reach out to bloggers who had problems. They started a social-y site called IdeaStorm so customers could tell Dell what to do. And when the company realized how much of a turnaround it needed, Michael Dell took charge again.
This is truly an incredible story: a brand that become synonymous with old media / marketing attitudes to social media is embracing it and informing not just its marketing but its whole business strategy.
Jeff is so impressed by the attitude of the Dell now and its efforts to change by listening to its customers that he concludes:
hat fascinates me so much about Dell is that it can rise from worst to first. Precisely because it got hammered by customers now empowered to talk back to the wall, it had to get smarter faster. Whether Dell can fix the rest of its problems, I don’t know. But if it keeps on the road it’s now on, it could well end up being the smartest company in the age of customer control. That would be one helluva turnaround.
I urge you to read the whole of Jeff Jarvis’s post about his meeting with the Dell team: it is almost moving to see such a positive approach from a major corporation and gives real hope that big firms can embrace the disruption and opportunities that he new web is bringing to bear on them.
Interestingly, when I was at Blogging4Business on Wednesday last week, the Dell Hell case study was still being widely cited – it will take a while for people’s perceptions to catch up with the truth…