Wednesday, June 06, 2007

What Dell needs to do if it insists on being available through retail channels

Despite my initial rude comments about Dell's decision to be available through Wal-mart and other big-box retailers, it is possible for them to successfully execute this strategy.

One great big important key to that plan will be to take customer service out of the hands of the retailer. Customer satisfaction is something so precious, it would be an error to delegate it to someone else who lacks the same buy-in and commitment to your values.

More and more, CE manufacturers are taking personal responsibility for customer service, which is a smart move considering how many mass merchants totally suck at after-sales support. In order to short circuit frustration-based refunds, and the margin drain that Wal-mart's merciless vender-return programs causes, each box needs to have a bright, friendly label printed on the inside flap in font so large even the semi-literate can't miss it:

Is there a problem?
Call 1-800-WWW-DELL and we would LOVE to make it all BETTER!

Note: it probably wouldn't hurt to have this pledge reprinted on every third page in the owner's guide, and maye even a sticker on the front of the machine itself.

It would be trite if it wasn't so true, but take care of your customers and your customers will take care of you. Referral business bought me a house. If the customers have warm, fuzzy feelings for your company, their support will take you far.

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Charles Farley said...

To drive off of Lee's comment.

Print the pledge in Spanish, Canton, German, French, Navajo, Old Church Slavonic and quite possibly braile.

Make it clear, make it simple. Teach the Wal-mart crew to patiently instruct the customer as what to do next.

It would be real cool if you had a Dell self-service kiosk for a web session (could be done with a camera chat - makes it more one-on--one vs. one against the computer) or "bat phone" right there to get in touch will Dell service ASAP. That way the customer doesn't leave the store disgruntled (Dell and Wal-mart both lose) or as disgruntled.

one man's thoughts


Anonymous said...

Lee and Charles

Got the input and forwarded along...and much appreciated. I cant tell you for sure what our plans our in terms of service and support for machines bought at wal mart but your comments do have something in common with the ideas we sought input on at Ideastorm and Dick Hunter's comments I mentioned to you before at, which you mighgt want to check it out