Monday, July 14, 2008

Client Service Success at Dell

We can learn a great deal from industries outside the public relations profession about the mindset, dedication, and execution involved in the relentless pursuit of improving the customer experience. I thought I'd begin the next 100 posts with some personal experiences I've had over the last month that serve as shining examples of client service excellence.

Let me start with Dell. My daughter Taylor starts college in the fall. Her older sister Kristin wanted a Mac when she started school last year, but Taylor wanted a Dell. Interestingly enough, she asked specifically for the Dell brand, in the way that people have come to ask for Kleenex rather than tissue.

Thank goodness she did. Prior to her request, I had researched a number of manufacturers and despite my being pretty experienced in the world of online commerce, I was often frustrated navigating most of the sites. They were visually and logically bereft of any understanding that a consumer may not be an expert on their particular product line. The sites were built to suit the internal needs of the respective company, not for the customers they need to serve. The shopping experiences were cumbersome and tedious.

Conversely, I found the Dell experience to be visually appealing and extremely intuitive. I could customize every aspect of Taylor's computer from the exterior color to the processing speed. Easy. (Don't worry I asked what color she wanted and gained a solid understanding of her needs before I ordered.)

What makes this story interesting for me is that after placing my order, I called a woman from Corporate Communications at Dell whom I met at a Ragan Communications conference earlier this year to advise her of my outstanding experience. Interestingly enough, she said the company had just completed a redesign of the site. Lucky for me, I reaped the benefits. She was thrilled that I was so pleased with my experience. You could hear the pride and ownership in her voice. I have a feeling it permeates the entire organization.

That said, you can have the right mindset, but achieving client service excellence is hard work. Dell did the work and everyone wins as a result. DIRECT2DELL's post describing the web site redesign will give you a glimpse of the process and the work it took to provide a customer experience I'll tell my friends about - starting right here.

Dell didn't simply satisfy a customer; it built a relationship and won a client. Nicely done.


  1. Hi Leo: I had a similar experience in ordering my daughter's laptop. I ordered mine over the phone. To be honest with you, I was dreading a lengthy conversation with a non-American order taker. In my opinion, its not much fun to repeat every sentence three times (nothing against India)! The person who helped me (and I do mean helped) really took the time to recommend for and against features that would be pertinent to my daughter's computer and didn't try to sell me on a bunch of crap I didn't need. I was also grateful that the computer didn't arrive with a bunch of trial software on it. Dell has really turned it around, in my opinion.

  2. I agree. BTW, I received the laptop today - more than one week ahead of schedule. Exceeding expectations isn't a bad client service practice either!

  3. Great post about how user experience is a critical part of marketing. As a user experience professional/designer, it is one of the key points that I preach about and try to achieve in my work. Flashy branding means nothing when the actual interaction is horrible and is why the social web is changing the way we, as marketers have to do business.



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