Editor’s Take: How Dell (May Have) Lost Me
At press time, I had nearly completed this column when a rather unforgettable customer experience caused me to drop what I was doing. I wound up ripping up the old column and wrote this. Hopefully, there will be a lesson to be learned by all — at least by computer giant Dell on how not to handle a valued customer.
My wife, Donna, bought a Dell Inspiron 6000 notebook computer in July 2005. Naturally, it worked fine for her; that is, up until the day after press time when the battery apparently died. She and I figured we’d call Dell and have what was only a 14-month-old battery replaced quickly — and at no charge. This was, after all, our second Dell computer purchase over a four-year period, making us fairly important customers.
I called Dell’s technical support line to troubleshoot and make sure what I had was, in fact, a dead battery. I was connected with a rep who spoke like a robot, clearly reading through her tech and customer support manual every step of the way, asking me to turn the computer on and off, with the adapter in and out, etc. Finally, 25 minutes later she told me, “Your battery is dead.” Brilliant!
On Hold, On Hold, On Hold
Having had a number of past experiences, I can tell you that Dell techies put you on hold a lot, and it’s rare that you can get an issue resolved quickly. During one of my many on-hold periods, a recording noted that there had been a recall on some Dell batteries. So I brought that up, got put on hold some more, and the rep came back on to inform me mine wasn’t a recalled battery and that, in fact, the warranty for the computer’s battery expired after 12 months.