It’s really a matter of time before hardware breaks. It’s just the nature of the products. Hardware is going to break. It may take even beyond the years that you own the hardware, but it will not last forever. Hopefully, when it does break, you have the resources and warranty to be able to fix it. This area is where many have felt that Dell has dropped the ball lately.
First lets address the elephant sitting in the room, which is their overseas support. Dell owned up to the business decision they made a while back to start using overseas support. Obviously when they are able to save money on staffing call centers, they are able to pass those savings onto the customers. They stated that customers have been voting with their purchases that low cost was definitely a factor in their decision to purchase a computer. At the end of the day, the executives at Dell have thought that if a customer was presented with two choices, one computer with a lower cost and overseas support, and the other computer with a higher cost and US based support, that the customer would choose the cheaper computer. Most everyone on the panel agreed that they would be willing to pay more for a computer if it came with US based support. Do you agree? I really want you to think about that question. Yes, you probably agree on paper, but would you REALLY buy the higher cost computer? I know my sister would actually prefer the cheaper computer, I would not.
I actually don’t mind overseas support though, when the people are educated, polite, and don’t make me jump through hoops to get what I need. When I call support it is usually because I have already run through all of the troubleshooting steps, and I know EXACTLY what is wrong with my computer. When I call I don’t want to be talked down to and told to update the driver or reboot the computer, ’cause I’ve already done that. I understand though why they need to do these steps, as I run through similar steps with the customers I support on help desk every day. One thing we mentioned was more options at the beginning of the call to select what kind of user you are, or something attached to your service tag that has a profile on you. For example if I called it would say that I’m a Microsoft Certified IT Manager, so they don’t need to “talk down” to me. My mother’s profile though would be different, stating that they shouldn’t speak on a highly technical level. As I’ve said previously, when I use the chat feature the language barrier typically disappears, since it is likely easier for them to read English than to speak it. I know that’s the case with me and French (I can read it, but heaven help me if I have to have a conversation)
For now though, I think in order to improve it’s image, Dell needs to eliminate overseas TELEPHONE support, and bring it to the US. I still wouldn’t mind if overseas support handled the support via the chat on the website. I think (and so did the majority of my panel) that by just making this move it will show the customers in the US that they are listening to their complaints about overseas support, and they are willing to change it. The problems we identified with overseas support are: 1) the language barrier. 2) their lack of concern, and the feeling like they are just trying to get you off the phone. 3) repetitive nature of the call (“I understand that you are having a problem with your hard drive”, “Yes, that’s what I JUST said”. I think now it’s too late. People have had bad experiences with overseas support. Now it almost doesn’t matter how good the support is from overseas, people aren’t wanting to deal with it anymore.
The last problem people have with customer support is the “run-around”. All of the transfers to this department or that. Most problems have a little bit to do with warranties, and a little bit to do with the actual problem. So there is a very distinct disconnect between the two groups. One person is not empowered to do everything. This is one thing that Dell has ALREADY CHANGED. They are empowering their teams to be both customer service and technical support. This should help to eliminate the constant transfers from one department to another, where you once again have to run through your entire problem to the 4th person in a row.
I’d love to know your thoughts on Dell’s support, or any other support company that you think is doing it right. Also, the question of the day… Would you REALLY pay more for a product with guaranteed US based support?
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