Dell’s 23 Confessions

Now's not the time to mince words, so let me just say it… we blew it.

I'm referring to a recent blog post from an ex-Dell kiosk employee that received more attention after the Consumerist blogged about it, and even more still after we asked them to remove it.

In this case, I agree with what Jeff Jarvis had to say: instead of trying to control information that was made public, we should have simply corrected anything that was inaccurate. We didn't do that, and now we're paying for it.

I believe in the customer voice-that's why I signed up for this job in the first place. There's simply no cheating the system. When we're on the right track, folks tend to say some good things about us (or at least give us a second chance). When we mess up, they let us know quickly and vocally.  Then everyone watches our reaction like a hawk.

Now, if you'll allow me to shift gears just a bit, here's our own 22 23 Confessions list:

1. Ok, we goofed. We shouldn't have sent a notice.  To my earlier point, we appreciate the reminder from the community.  Point taken. Yesterday, we also responded to a related IdeaStorm  idea from user jmxz. To see more, take a look for comments from our own dell_admin1 and my good pal richard_b.

2. An easy way to scope out deals  is to go to the Home and Home Office section of Dell.com and click "As Advertised." In other words, click here. You can see what we're currently offering and then chat live with a rep if you like.

3. We have simplified our pricing and promos. We have reduced the number of promotions per product line and the number for a single product. We've also simplified our rebates. 

4. Small Business will be different than Home and Home Office soon. There will be a real difference between systems we offer to consumers vs. small business users that goes beyond price. Since these details depend on upcoming changes in both our Inspiron line and our small business systems, I can't share more details just yet, but you will hear more in a few weeks. 

5. We are committed to being the greenest technology company on the planet.  It's the right thing to do for ourselves, our environment and our customers. See details in the Programs section of this page for more information.

6. When your computer's effective life has ended, we still care about it as much as you do, so we provide free recycling for all consumers worldwide. We can't wait for our competitors to catch up, since we all benefit from improving our environment. Please remind them.

7. We don't think many people get excited when they have to call the Geek Squad, wait around at their house and then fork over cash when you can do the same thing in the comfort of your home on your own schedule for free.  Maybe we're crazy, but we think this is more effective.  Turns out our customers seem to agree.  DellConnect has helped over 5 million consumers for free and has a 93% satisfaction rate in a little over one year of service. Other tools like PC-Tune-Up help automate confusing aspects of system maintenance And new tools like Dell Support Center centralize system-specific information and provide several options for reaching support to make troubleshooting easier.

8. What if you only had to make one click to make a difference in the environment?  Well, we do this everyday via our Plant a Tree for Me program.  Through it, we empower our consumers to offset their system's carbon footprint by making a small contribution to purchase a tree at the time of purchase or whenever you want.  And, Michael Dell is personally matching any contribution you make in June, July and August.

9. We normally wouldn't have said this in the past, but we have some very cool PCs being introduced later this month.  Stay tuned and you'll see what we mean.  Matter  of fact, I've seen some pictures  here  and  here.

10. We have a very great way for all of our customers to share ideas with us at www.ideastorm.com.  Michael actually takes your ideas and shares them widely in our company to ensure that we're all paying attention.  When Michael shares ideas with us, I can tell you that we listen extra carefully.

11. Speaking of Michael, you may know that our CEO is only 42 years old.  He is a true tech enthusiast who plays World of Warcraft, reads blog posts (and not just Dell's), tracks your ideas on IdeaStorm and he really does have a notebook that runs Ubuntu 7.04.

12. We think we should do more than sell PCs, which is why we have helped over 10,000 children in the U.S. learn how to take apart and build PCs via our TechKnow program and it is also why nearly half of our employees participate in charities.  We can always do more, but this is a good start and one of the ways we try to say thank you for your business.

13. It's getting easier to talk with us everyday.  You can go to www.dell.com/conversations  to learn more.  We hope to hear from you and most importantly, we hope to hear your ideas on how we can improve. Many of these tools like the support.dell.com, the Dell Community Forum and Direct2Dell offer additional ways for customers to reach Dell and the community for support.

14. Most of you are probably not checking out a PC and then trekking through the mountains to get home, but for those of you that are, we've built one of the most rugged PCs in the business. 

15. We blog in two other languages: Chinese and Spanish-feel free to join the conversation if that suits you.   We're having fun with our Chinese blog, since we're the first company to offer one in our industry.  There will be a lot more to come.

16. Our XPS systems will soon receive service from technicians in the U.S. and Canada if you buy the system in the U.S. or Canada.  We've also hiring more service and support team members in North America in the last 12 months or so.

17. If you want to find Dell products and savings you saw featured in print, just refer to the E-value code for any Dell product in the catalog, flyer or print ad to find the product online.

18. There are a number of Web sites that aggregate Dell coupon offers. Just Google "Dell coupon codes."

19. Dell offers choice. Our customers can order systems with Windows XP, Vista, Ubuntu, or no operating system at all. If Steve Jobs ever changes his tune on OS X, we'd probably offer it too. 

20. Dell stands behind its products. Recent example is the XPS 700 Motherboard Exchange program.  Here goes the simplified version. About a year ago, we launched a product and promised an upgrade path to next-generation third-party BTX system boards. Since the aftermarket did not materialize as we had hoped, we announced our intentions to offer an XPS 720 motherboard with on-site installation for any XPS 700 customers at no charge.  Stay tuned.

21. We have started offering Dell Outlet coupon codes on Twitter.com. More details soon on Direct2Dell.

22. We've made even more progress on the bloatware issue. Now, much more software is optional for all of our consumer and XPS products. We've recently started shipping a software uninstall utility for consumers in the US to make it simple to remove software you will not use. More details here next week.

23. Did I mention that we goofed? 

No matter where we are at any point in time, there's always room for improvement. The key to our success in these areas depends squarely on opening the lines of communications with our customers, taking some time to assess what the feedback means, and taking action on that feedback.

We'll keep doing that, and think we'll ultimately be a better company for it. Thanks for indulging me.

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