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August 29, 2006

What should Dell do?

Toby Bloomberg tossed me a challenge this morning. She wants to know what I think about how Dell is handling a product faux pas on their blog.

First, let me say that unless you have a Microsoft monopoly, the days of releasing products that aren't quite ready for prime time are done. You're just opening yourself up to bad cyber karma, i.e. what goes around, stays around... as others pick up the conversation and carry it forward and it becomes a reoccurring problem.

What's interesting is that marketing "gets" that products need to be individually configured, but that customer service isn't configuring their responses to the individual who took the time to put their concern in writing.

I agree with Toby, "the messenger" (that poor guy who now wonders why he said yes to the blog writing job) needs to have more than a mass message for these very spirited and sincerely put off customers. This isn't an "organized group" coming at Dell, it's individuals. If you have to mass respond to get the message out quicker, so be it, but then also inform the masses that you not only thank them, but will be talking to each of them personally. It's the least Dell can do for someone who invested thousands in them and are now losing money by having their business lifeline cut off. (At that time, have more than a hat in hand, carry an individualized peace offering as well.)

That seems like a lot of work, and it is, but sales people do it all day long - making 40-50 calls a day is normal for some. If companies can telemarket for new business, they can telemarket to save business and keep cyber karma from spreading.

Other Lesson learned: Four women with blogs just came to Dell's side. Toby flagged the issue and gave solutions, I extended the conversation, Yvonne and Anita backed the "messenger" and poured salve on his soul. That's blogs and women at their best, trying to restore balance in a system that's forgotten how to respond human to human.


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Mary .. wonder if Dell was "listening in" on our conversation; if so they would have received some excellent 'free' advice ;-)

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