Interesting article from Canada..full post

Discussion in 'Dell' started by JJO, Nov 2, 2004.

  1. JJO

    JJO Guest

    `We acknowledge there are issues . . .'
    Luddite reporter finds herself in `Dell Hell'

    Industry-wide, tech support in decline


    THERESA BOYLE
    STAFF REPORTER

    Some advice before phoning Dell computer's technical support line: Park
    yourself in front of the television or have a good book to read. Make sure
    there's lots of battery power in your phone. Empty your bladder. And, if
    you're prone to high blood pressure, you might want to have your medication
    handy.

    If your experience is anything like mine, you're in for a long, frustrating
    wait.

    My new Inspiron 1150 wireless laptop was delivered in late August. While it
    hasn't been of much use in surfing the Web, I've had a gazillion good games
    of Solitaire on it.

    My problems started as soon as the laptop arrived. The router was missing.
    There were no instructions for hooking up to the three months of free Bell
    Sympatico service that came with the computer.

    I lost two hours of my life trying to sort this out, much of that time
    listening to muzak on Dell's technical support line. Dell ended up sending a
    new router.

    Bell said Dell should have assisted in setting up the free Sympatico
    service. Dell said the onus was on me to get in touch with Bell.

    Arrggh.

    The new router arrived, but didn't work. This was determined after more than
    two hours on the phone with a representative from the Dell call centre in
    India. A second router was sent.

    But I had no luck in setting that one up either. I admit I'm a Luddite, but
    I think it's beyond most laypeople to make sense of instructions like this:

    "If the external networking device that you are attaching to the RG1000 has
    an integrated dynamic host configuration protocol (DHCP) server or network
    address translator (NAT), you must disable the wireless DHCP server and NAT
    features in the RG1000 during the setup process."

    Wha?

    So I waited for a free evening in anticipation of spending more time on the
    phone with Dell. For an hour and a half last Wednesday, I listened to more
    muzak and countless messages saying, "We are experiencing a high volume of
    calls ..." I got rerouted three times only to be told the last department I
    was put through wasn't the right one.

    "We're trained only in hardware, but not wireless configuration," explained
    an apologetic Chris Lee from the India call centre.

    He said the department I needed had closed while I was on hold.

    At this point I felt like crying.

    I asked if I could speak to his manager, but he told me it was 6 a.m. in
    India and there were no managers on the floor.

    To make matters worse, the connection was bad and I had trouble
    understanding what he was saying.

    On the upside, I got in an episode of the West Wing and Sex in the City. I
    won a few more games of Solitaire. And I got started in writing this
    article.

    Thinking I couldn't be alone in having these problems, I did some research
    at work in preparation for this story.

    Lo and behold, I learned of the phenomenon known as "Dell Hell."

    Type those two words into Google and you'll get lots of similar horror
    stories.

    In a May 2003 article, entitled "On the line to Dell hell," here's what
    Phillip Inman at the Guardian Unlimited wrote about his experience:

    "In the many calls I made to the Dell centre, the staff I spoke to stuck
    strictly to a pre-prepared script. In fact most of my attempts to re-phrase
    questions in order to elicit an answer would be rewarded with a robotic
    response."

    In an October 2003 article in the Detroit News, Daniel Howes writes about
    the frustration he felt during his numerous calls to Dell technical support
    in India:

    "I dial again. I give her my service tag, again. I give her my name, address
    and phone, again. Another voice from far away - kind, polite and incapable
    of comprehending how maddening it is to spend more than $1,000 for a new
    computer only to have it reject, freeze or block anything you do."

    Survey results published in Consumer Reports last June state: "Dell was
    worse than average at delivering service that was free of problems with
    English. Overall, though, Dell was average for communication problems."

    Last September's issue of Consumer Reports gave Dell a score of 60 out of a
    100 on technical support for laptops. This trails Apple, which outranked all
    competitors with an impressive score of 82. On the bottom of the list was
    Compaq with a score of 49.

    Subscribers were asked about such problems as long telephone hold times and
    difficulties navigating voice-messaging systems.

    Late last year, Dell stopped using its technical support centre in India to
    handle calls from corporate customers in response to their concerns.

    But what about us non-corporate shmoes?

    I ended up phoning Dell's media relations office and have been promised
    immediate help. But I know ordinary customers can't rattle that cage.

    Still, there is hope. Vivian Kobeh, of Dell's corporate communications
    office in Austin, Texas, said a new call centre is being opened in Edmonton
    on Monday. It will complement Dell's 20 customer contact centres worldwide.

    "We just want to be as global as we can and provide as much service as
    possible in more time zones, more geographies, and be closer to customers
    like you," she said.

    "We acknowledge there are issues and our main goal is to give you the best
    service we can," she added.
     
    JJO, Nov 2, 2004
    #1
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  2. JJO

    S.Lewis Guest



    Uhhh, I thought Dell had call centers in Texas, Idaho, and Tennessee. Last
    time I checked, all of those locations were "closer to customers like you
    (the author)" in Canada.

    And Ms.Kobeh says "we just want to be MORE global?".

    Perhaps THAT is the problem presently - Dell and other OEMs are too damned
    "global", too big, too expansive, and filled with too many phone menus and
    layers of warm-bodied script-reading dunderheads.

    "There are no supervisors here on the floor." Yeah, right.

    Someone over there needs to read up on Packard Bell and Quantex and then
    slap some people around.

    <rant/off>


    Stew



    Stew
     
    S.Lewis, Nov 2, 2004
    #2
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  3. JJO

    schnoopy Guest

    "We just want to be as global as we can and provide as much service as
    hmmm... didn't dell USED TO HAVE the best service they could? saving money
    took precedent over "best service" me thinks.

    and how many systems are they selling in India vs. the U.S.? close to the
    customers my foot. do these people actually believe people believe this
    kind of BS?
     
    schnoopy, Nov 2, 2004
    #3
  4. JJO

    Mike Yetsko Guest

    From another point of view...

    I bought my daughter a laptop in August. They 'made' me take a printer to
    get
    the price, and the price came out to a few more bucks than I wanted to pay,
    but I was in a hurry and it was just days till she left for college, so I
    bought it.

    The printer was backordered, but the laptop arrived early, in perfect
    condition.

    Only I put SP2 on it, and it slowed to a crawl.

    So I called Dell, and they got me back to the startup conditions. I have
    nothing
    bad to say there, regardless of where they are located. Sure, I would
    prefer
    to keep it here in the US, but really, they solved my problem and it was
    quick
    and professional.

    But the printer never arrived. Turned out they never sent it. I called
    customer
    service, and they admitted it was a 'Dell' error and upgraded the printer
    for free.
    (OK, it's cheap, but it impresses the customer) I should have it in a week.

    It never arrived. I even came home from out of state to be here for the
    arrival
    since I had to intercept the thing to get it to my daughter at college
    before I left
    again...

    Turned out someone at Dell needed to 'approve' what customer service did to
    keep me happy.

    So by then I was ripped.

    Customer service said they'd get a new printer out next day air.

    Only I called back and guess what? It was 'on hold' again for some bean
    counter approval.

    At that point I hit the roof. Monday I was on the phone repeatedly to Dell.

    Well, Dell solved the problem. They ended up shipping out TWO printers to
    make sure I got one before I left so I could get it to my daughter.

    Now, my beef is NOT with their customer service, whereever it's located.
    They were courteous and competant and repeatedly tried to solve my problem.

    And they would have. Except for the 'system' in place to let customer
    service
    do their job.

    So it's not the fact that their customer service is in Argentina, the
    Phillipines, or
    India (the places I dealt with on my tirade) as long as they are trained and
    do
    the job. Yes, I have an issue with outsourced jobs, but that's not really
    the
    issue here.

    Would I buy another Dell? Probably. But I'll be REAL cynical until I get
    the
    entire order in!

    On a contrast, I got some desktops at my friends business. Compaq and HP.
    Nice machines. Faster than winter snot! But I tried to get 'assistance' on
    an issue
    with one and their customer service was a waste of time. Constantly going
    from
    person to person, having to restate the problem from the start again and
    again
    and again. That insurance commercial where the guy calls a claim in and
    pulls
    out the tape recorder that says "Since this is my 114th call..." kind of
    thing.

    By the way, Compaq NEVER solved the problem. I got a 'hint' from something
    I saw on a forum and found the issue myself. Simple. But Compaq didn't
    have
    a clue, and it seemed as I was passed off, the people KNEW it was a 'pass
    off'
    and were wary of it.
     
    Mike Yetsko, Nov 2, 2004
    #4
  5. Those are second-tier call centers. When the folks in India can't
    solve your problem, or need to pass you off to a "supervisor" they
    bump you back to someone in the US who not only speaks your language,
    but has the knowledge and authority to solve your problem. Wonder how
    long it'll take them to realize that if India's not good enough for
    corporate support, it's not good enough for individuals either.

    [Actually, it's not India per se, many of the early Indian tech
    support folks I've spoken with have been very intelligent, personable,
    and clear-spoken. Now that the demand for (cheap) tech support has
    increased, they are scaping the bottom of the barrel over there just
    like they did here. No-one ever got a US script monkey? The real
    problem is the complexity of tech support, the great demand for it,
    and the dearth of competent people anywhere on the planet who will do
    it for a buck an hour.]

    [I have clients who cheerfully pay my going rate to call tech support
    for them, translate between Geek and Support, and get their problem
    solved.]
     
    William P.N. Smith, Nov 2, 2004
    #5
  6. JJO

    S.Lewis Guest


    I didn't mention 'outsourcing' as the source of the problem. I merely
    mentioned the size of these companies and the layers of beauracracy that are
    of little or no help to a customer who needs a prompt solution.

    The quote from the Dell spokesperson indicates to me that she is attempting
    to pump sunshine and/or is out of touch.

    What solves these kinds of problems quickly is for someone, ANYONE in the
    "chain of service" to step up to the plate and take responsibility for the
    problem and follow it through until it is actually FIXED. This includes
    giving the customer a name, contact number and extension, and an e-mail
    address.

    This gives the customer/caller someone as a point of contact so they're not
    bounced around wasting huge amounts of time and productivity while being
    eternally transferred, disconnected, and treated like a ping-pong ball.

    It doesn't matter if the rep. who does so is in India or Indiana. Someone
    can stop these kinds of dumb things by the second call if the ball is
    dropped on the first call.


    Stew
     
    S.Lewis, Nov 2, 2004
    #6
  7. JJO

    S.Lewis Guest


    Find the niche, William. It's sure out there.


    Stew
     
    S.Lewis, Nov 2, 2004
    #7
  8. JJO

    schnoopy Guest

    I think it is more about how fast they can flush their queue (to the next
    rep) than how many problems they actually solve and thus minimize call
    backs. That is why they are always swamped I think. Passed around like a
    hot potato until you luck out and find the tech rep that knows something or
    just get so frustrated you give up. (and find your answer here or
    elsewhere)
     
    schnoopy, Nov 2, 2004
    #8
  9. JJO

    Guess Who Guest

    Well, THE ONLY WAY to get the point across is to STOP buying DELL computers.
    But it does not seem like that's going to happen.

    |> "We just want to be as global as we can and provide as much service as
    | > possible in more time zones, more geographies, and be closer to
    customers
    | > like you," she said.
    | >
    | > "We acknowledge there are issues and our main goal is to give you the
    best
    | > service we can," she added.
    |
    | hmmm... didn't dell USED TO HAVE the best service they could? saving
    money
    | took precedent over "best service" me thinks.
    |
    | and how many systems are they selling in India vs. the U.S.? close to the
    | customers my foot. do these people actually believe people believe this
    | kind of BS?
    |
    |
     
    Guess Who, Nov 3, 2004
    #9
  10. Ever buy a new car and had questions about a problem? I went in
    during evening hours and the shop was closed. Salesmen? Had no idea
    what I was talikg about...my seat belts were not working
    properly...... my life was in danger. Salesman said I was a
    worrier...come back in the morning. Was leaving for vacation that
    night! Maybe I am a worrier....but it doesn't deny that where
    competition becomes increasingly keener fo the consumer buck, tech
    help dimishes........it a natural law!
     
    Michael P Gabriel, Nov 7, 2004
    #10
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