Friday, January 29, 2010

2nd Open email - complainingg to Michael Dell about terrible customer service from Dell Computers

Dear Michael Dell (and assorted senior colleagues)

Congratulations, your company has now become (in my opinion) the most inefficient and rude online business that I have ever had the misfortune to deal with.
For most of the last two months I have struggles to complete a simple order for two Dell Inspiron 1545 laptops and finally received the second one this week. The process has been long and tortuous, made far worse by your customer service team in India continually failing to deal with me in good faith and follow through.

I have tried and failed to escalate the problem within Dell customer services and found the senior CS people as inefficient and rude as the junior ones.

I tried to escalate the issue to the management team at Dell UK in Bracknell and was told that there was nobody to talk to in the UK who could help and that I needed to continue to talk to Customer Services in India

I tried to escalate the matter direct to you, Michael Dell, Chairman and founder of Dell computers, not expecting answer direct from you, but at least to have the email passed on by a PA or intern to someone who could help.

I have tried to engage with Dell Computers via social media by writing on my blog (, posting on Facebook and Twitter (@dbmutton). Despite seeing traffic to my blog from your Social Media monitoring service provider Radian6, nobody has attempted to contact me.

Despite 10 phone calls, 9 emails, 2 faxes, 1 online chat, 6 blog posts (including this one) and 10 tweets (all with the hash tag #dellsucks), I still have not been offered any significant compensation for all the hassle that I have endured in this process.

I now have an additional problem: the laptop that finally arrived has a slightly different software configuration than what I ordered. I have emailed the rep that placed the order about how to resolve this and have not received any response after nearly 5 days – I am getting very tired of this.

So I now have a simple question for you and your colleagues: How does an angry customer who feels he has been virtually ignored by Dell Customer Services resolve this situation when it appears that your business has no interest in taking my complaint seriously?

One last thing I will add – I still have an Inspiron 1545 laptop, ordered in error (wrong colour) by your customer services. According to your own customer services, it was supposed to be picked up and returned to Dell Computers this week. Unfortunately the courier turned up a day earlier than notified and I was not there. So I still have this laptop and have decided that I will retain it in protest. I will gladly discuss the return of this laptop and compensation for the unbelievable hassle I have experienced by Dell customer services. However, I will no longer deal with Customer Services in India as they have been given every opportunity to resolve this problem and have failed miserably.

I will now only deal with a senior executive of Dell Computers in the UK or the USA. If I don’t hear from anybody within 3 working days, then I will take the matter further and complain to the Office of Fair Trading in the UK

I await your reply

Dave Mutton

P.S. As with my previous email – I have posted this email on my blog

Saturday, January 23, 2010

My Dell Hell saga continues

So today there is both good news and bad news in my continuing efforts to get Dell Computers and especially the terrible Dell Customer Services in India and Dell corporate offices in Texas.

First the good news - despite saying the replacement Dell Inspiron 1545 laptop would arrive on 3 February, I just checked the order status and it has actually shipped from the Dell manufacturing facility in China and is due to be delivered in the next 4 days - fantastic.

Then the bad news:

  • I received an order confirmation twice this time (none the first time) and I thought I would go through line by line to check the same configuration had been ordered. What a surprise, it's slightly different - the original order included a 12 month Napster offer - 60 free songs streaming and 1 free download per month. the replacement Dell Inspiron 154 laptop doesn't have this - I've emailed customer service again to ask them to resolve it. I wonder how long that will take.
  • 2 hours after I sent my original email to Michael Dell, Chairman of Dell Computers (, I received a phone call from the Dell Customer services supervisor in India that had failed to call me for several days. he told me the order had been placed but when asked about what form of compensation Dell were going to offer me, he had no answer. He did say that he wanted to focus on dealing with my problem and that could we "park" this issue and he would get back to me.
  • in one of my later posts, I predicted that if I did not follow up on this, he would not follow up with me - no surprises there - despite being given an assurance from a dell Customer services supervisor that he would get back to me - I still have not received any email or phone call four days later. Personally I am getting a bit tired of continually having to chase up Dell Customer Services it really is now becoming the worst customer experience I have ever had.
  • Finally, I am now getting very cross with Dell Corporate Headquarters in Texas. Did I really expect to get an answer from their Chairman, Michael Dell, when I emailed him - no not really - but I did expect to get something back from his office. I expect that some office junior or intern actually reads the emails sent to, or to and their job is to pass it onto somebody more relevant - well it looks like my personal email has gone unnoticed and unreplied to. Even though I know that some people in Dell are reading my blog - I can see the traffic to my blog from the Radian6 Social Media Monitoring service which claims dell Computers as a customer - nobody from the Social Media team has actually responded to my blog post, or my Twitter posts with the hash tag #dellsucks

So what do I do?

Do I accept that my replacement laptop is arriving over a month after Christmas and get on with other matters or do I continue my efforts to secure adequate compensation for the trouble I have gone to to try and resolve this?

Personally I think it unacceptable for major corporations to ignore their customers who are trying to complain - especially when I have offered constructive advice about how they should resolve matters. So if you are reading this Michael Dell, I don't give up that easy.

Watch this space...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Some progress on My Dell Hell

Wonder of wonders. Less than 24 hours after emailing and blog posting my open letter to the Chairman of Dell Computers, Mr Michael Dell, I have actually received an order confirmation for the replacement Dell Inspiron 1545 laptop.

Unfortunately the expected delivery date is shown as 3rd February, so my 12 year old son will have to wait two more weeks for his Christmas present. It's not clear if this prompt action has been in response to any actual communication internally at Dell or just because it was a kick up the backside of the incompetent Dell Customer service reps now running scared for their jobs and being shown up as bloody useless.

Of course, the matter of compensation has still to be discussed and I will await with interest to see what they come back to me with and how long it takes. What is the betting that if I do not chase the useless Dell Customer Service department then I will not hear anything from them for at least a couple of days - at least 50:50 I think.

So Mr Dell, if by any chance you are following this angry rant via your Radian6 social media monitoring service, what do you think I should be given? Maybe you should call your own customer service line and wait for 45 minutes to talk to one of your Indian customer service reps and see what they are going to do.

In fact I think that is a great idea for you - at Amazon we used to all go and work in the Amazon warehouse every Christmas - partly to help with the volume of orders but also to ensure the head office team understand the pressures of the people at the sharp end of the business. Do you do that? Have you spent time with your CS teams recently? Or have you or one of your senior team tried recently to interact with your business as a customer - probably not.

Well maybe you should and experience the pain your paying customers are going through to buy your products - it can't last, you know. Good will and past experience can be stretched only too far until it snaps...

Open email to Michael Dell generating traffic

My open email yesterday to Michael Dell has generated a ten fold increase in traffic to this blog. I can see from the stats that about 20% of the traffic came from Dell itself in both India (Dell customer services) and the US, presumably Dell Corporate. Several visitors from a interesting site Radian6 which is some form of Social Media monitoring service - so I think my message got through to someone at Dell - but will it get to the man at the top, Michael Dell himself.

I also had an anonymous comment posted to the blog: "I work at Dell and I couldn't agree with you more"

I've not had any further contact yet from Dell Customer Services, so still waiting...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Dell Update

A very quick development - just had a phone call from the Dell supervisor who hasn't been in contact since early yesterday. Apparently, the replacement order was made "about two hours ago", but he still can't give me any detail on when it will actually be delivered.

What a coincidence, the order gets placed just after I send my open email and post it here. Nice try Dell, but you still haven't actually solved my problem, nor have you offered me any recompense for all the hassle. So Dell customer services is still very poor. The other problem was his pronounciation of my surname - I am now Dave Mutant!

I have been promised an update by email no later than tomorrow, or another phone call.

At least they have been faster in responding than either Sky customer services, or Talk talk Broadband customer services...more news soon.

My Dell Hell

Open email to Michael Dell, Chairman and founder of Dell Computers inc., from an angry and disgusted Dell Customer

Dear Michael Dell

I have been a fan of Dell computers ever since I bought my first computer from you, more years ago than I care to remember (it was a Pentium 90)

Over the years I have bought from you:

  • 4 desktop machines
  • 5 Laptops
  • 2 Printers

All of them, apart from one printer are still in use, somewhere in my family, a testament to the quality.

I have always recommended your products to my friends and family as reliable and great value for money. Not only that, but if something goes wrong with your machine, your after sales support, in my experience, has been excellent.

However, something has now gone wrong.

I placed an order for the most recent two laptops as Christmas presents - one for my son and another for my step-daughter. One of the things we liked about Dell was the choice of colours for the laptops, so we naturally chose one pink and one blue.

I placed the order on 1st December to ensure delivery in time for the big day and since that point it has been an ongoing nightmare.

  • First I had problems actually completing the order – your customer service team seemed unable to receive a fax or read it when it was received.
  • Then when the order was finally processed – on the last day that would ensure pre Christmas delivery, I received no confirmation so I could not check status other than by calling your customer services phone number.
  • Worrying that they wouldn’t arrive in time, I wanted to check status. So after several lengthy phone calls and one online chat with one of your sales people, I managed to discover what my order number was.
  • Unfortunately when I was able to check order status online, I then discovered that the order was wrong I was going to receive two pink laptops.
  • I called the customer service rep and her response was –oh sorry about that – I can send you a blue carry case if you choose to keep the extra pink laptop. My reply was that I didn’t think my 12 year old son would be happy with that
  • So at that point I knew that my son would not be getting his main present for Christmas.
  • I also got the strong impression that she didn’t really care that my son would not have his present on time
  • I asked when the replacement laptop could be delivered and was promised it would be early January
  • Unfortunately, despite my best efforts, this has turned out to be untrue. I have made numerous emails and phone calls and I STILL do not know when I will receive the laptop I ordered.

As I write this today it has been:

  • Seven weeks since I placed the initial order
  • 26 days since my son didn’t get his present on Christmas day
  • 11 days since the original customer service rep finally called me, and told me she was resolving this
  • Four working days since I asked for a senior customer service rep to call me. I’m still waiting
  • 24 hours since this supervisor emailed me and said that he was really busy but give him 2-3 hours to investigate
  • 1 hour since I lost my patience and called your office in Bracknell UK but was told that:
    • They do not disclose any information about senior management in the UK
    • They could email customer service for me
  • I have made:
    • Ten phone calls to Dell Customer service
    • Sent two faxes to Dell Financial services
    • Sent eight emails to Dell Customer Services
    • Chatted online once with Dell Sales Support

I should add that making a phone call to dell Customer services goes something like this:

  • Welcome to Dell, please choose from one of these options
  • Select an option
  • Welcome to Dell, please choose from one of these options (different options)
  • Select an option
  • Stay on hold for at least 15 minutes, straining to listen to hold music that is so low, that I actually called back twice because I had thought I was cut off.
  • An operator answers, asks a couple of questions then “transfers you”
  • Welcome to Dell, quiet hold music again – couldn’t tell you what was playing it was too low.
  • Wait at least another 15 minutes – the longest I waited was 42 minutes.

As part of this painful process I have searched around on the internet about how best to deal with complaints from Dell and I discovered that I was not alone.

If you search in Google for “How to Complain to Dell”, the response is over 1 million results! In your own community forum there was no easy way to complain – just a referral to Customer support. I also found comments about posts being removed or edited that were critical of your customer service.

I also discovered numerous blog posts with titles such as “My Dell Nightmare”; “Dell Customer Service Sucks”; "I Hate Dell” and “Want to Complain to Dell, Forget It”. There are 179 Facebook groups with names like “I Hate Dell”. #dellsucks on Twitter is always busy with complaints

The most relevant site I found was from Jeff Jarvis at Buzzamchine and his Open Letter to you posted several years ago.

In one of my last emails to the customer service supervisor I told him that I would not stop until I received satisfaction and work my way up the chain of management to you if necessary. My phone call to the Dell Head Office in the UK made it clear that messing around any more at the lower levels was a waste of time – hence I have chosen to emulate Jeff Jarvis and send this email direct to you.

I have been working in the internet industry for over fifteen years including five years at and several years at Yahoo. Everything I have learned shows me that how critical customer service is to building and maintaining a brand and how easy it is to lose customers through poor service.

I am not saying it is easy to do this, but I remember reading an interview once with Warren Buffett when he said:

“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.
If you think about that, you'll do things differently."

Based on my experience in the past seven weeks you need to do things differently.

I would suggest you need to do the following:

  • Carry out a high level review of the customer service experience concentrating on:
    • Improving your telephone systems especially response times
    • Improved email response times
    • Review or develop effective complaint escalation procedures
    • Improve training in how to deal with complaints, stressing the importance of keeping contact with the customer – they should not have to chase you
    • English language lessons for your Indian call centres – I understand the logic of outsourcing, but consistently the standard of English is below average and this adds frustration by the customer when they have to repeat themselves
  • Review your policy of not disclosing information regarding your senior management – it is just annoying and makes people think you have something to hide.
  • On your customer forums, provide an area dedicated to people who want to complain about how their complaint is being dealt with – trust me - this will be the most popular area until you resolve the fundamental issues
  • Perhaps review your extensive marketing budget – your customers I am sure would prefer to receive high quality customer service and not listen to catchy songs about lollipops
  • Whilst I am emailing you – the other thing I do hate about Dell is your lack of effective CRM. I speak publicly on occasions and have used this as a poor example of online marketing.

If I have just bought a PC from you, receiving an email every week with lots of offers to buy another PC is probably not going to be effective – if I am anything to go by, my average time between purchases is at least one year – that makes at least 52 ineffective but annoying emails to me

Overall I am disgusted at the response of your business and you should be ashamed that the business you have built is now so widely regarded as delivering terrible customer service.

I am sure this email will go through several layers of screening and there is not much chance of it actually reaching you, so I am also going to post it on my blog – perhaps you will pick this up if you have a Google news alert for phrases like: “Does Michael Dell care about his customers”; “What has gone wrong at Dell, is Michael Dell still in control?”; “Dell Customer service – the worst on the Internet?”

I will also post references to this in various social media sites as I know Dell has spent time and effort engaging with their customers through these new channels.

The last reason is that I hope my blog will appear highly in Google for lots of these interesting phrases – see my previous experiences dealing with Talk Talk Broadband and Sky Customer Services

Finally, if it’s not too much trouble, I would like to actually receive the laptop I ordered and give my 12 year old son the present he has asked me about almost every day since Christmas – is that too much to ask? If you want the order details email me

Dave Mutton
A former Dell customer who will now look elsewhere to buy my next computer and who will even consider buying an Apple Mac.