The Dell Saga Part 2 – More of the Same

Customer Service? HA!


A while back, I wrote a long venomous post about my horrific experiences with Dell customer service over the course of the first six months of 2010.

To my great surprise, Lorna from the “Dell Cares” department responded to the post.

What follows is the email exchange I had with Lorna regarding the situation.

I’d like to say we were able to resolve the problems, but I can’t.


Monday, July 26, 2010 from me to Lorna:

I am emailing in response to the comment you posted on my website.  What further information do you need to investigate my problem.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010 from Lorna to me:

I appreciate your response to my post on your website. Allow me to sincerely apologize for any difficulties you may have encountered in attempting to resolve your concerns.  Dell strives to provide an efficient, first-time resolution for every call.  While I realize that only our future interactions can restore your confidence in us completely, I want to assure you that Dell always aims to provide customers with a satisfying and enjoyable purchase experience.
Please provide your customer name, account number, order number and/or service tag number so that I may access your account records and improve your customer experience going forward.
We are grateful to any customer who takes the time to share a positive or negative experience he or she has encountered with Dell’s representatives.  A customer’s experience is the most valuable tool used in determining how we may improve the quality of our products and services.  
I have escalated your experience to the project manager for the AMEX Membership Rewards Program.  I explained the issue and she indicated that she is well aware of the process breaks and the Customer dissatisfaction they cause. She is new to the role and said she is working to drop the program completely or get it modified to better serve our customers.
Please know that Dell greatly values your business, and we would make the most of a second chance to serve you, should you grant us one.  If you would consider placing an order with Dell, I would be happy to extend to you a $50 discount, as a one-time gesture of good faith.  I realize we have already missed one opportunity with you, and I am confident that given another, we would be successful in providing you with the exceptional products and service associated with the Dell name.
Please let me know at your earliest convenience if you would like to accept my offer, which I can make available to you through August 15, 2010.  You may reach me by replying to this email.  I look forward to hearing from you.  
Thank you for choosing Dell, Inc.,

Wednesday, July 28, 2010 from me to Lorna:

The customer numbers associated with my account are XXXX and XXXX.
While I appreciate your response, I have to say I find the language in the email a bit pat.
As I deliniated in my post, Dell squandered not 1, not 2, but 3 different opportunities with me.  During that time I was lied to and passed off by your customer service department.  I was given a callback extension that, based on my experience when attempting to call back, I believe was completely fake.  Your Customer Service Supervisor took my name, email address AND cell phone number but never followed up in any manner.
If your new AMEX rewards Project Manager is “well aware” of the disconnect in your proces with the program, I can only assume that the previous project manager was likewise aware of this problem and didn’t do anything to resolve it.  That doesn’t speak well of your company’s prioritization of this matter.
Finally, I find the offer of $50 for my time and frustration a bit laughable.  Your company lost out on $500 worth of sales.  I lost valuable time.  I also lost $300 worth of a Christmas gift when I was forced to exchange the Dell Gift Certificates for AMEX gift cards.
The Netbook I was attempting to purchase when your CSR informed me that someone else used my Gift Certificates is still in my shopping cart.  Should your company TRULY wish to make this situation right, you would process the order for that device at no cost to me and send it to me ASAP.

Sunday, August 1, 2010 from Lorna to me:

Thank you for your response to my email of Wed., July 28, 2010. We sincerely regret any difficulty you may have experienced placing orders through Dell while using your AmEx gift certificates.
I am very sorry for any disappointment this matter may have caused, and I sympathize with your situation.  However, Dell does not provide compensation for lost time, frustration, disappointment or inability to place orders, regardless of the reason for the problem. According to our policy statement, “Under no circumstances will Dell be liable to you or any other person for any damages, including, without limitations, any indirect, incidental, special, or consequential damages, expenses, cost, profits, lost savings or earnings, lost or corrupted data, or other liability arising out of or related to the installation, de-installation, use of,  inability to place orders or the inability to use those products.”  I must, therefore, respectfully deny your request for compensation in the form of a Netbook as you have requested.
I am, however, authorized to discount a future purchase, in the amount of $50.00. I would be happy to apply that discount to the Netbook you have stored in your cart online. Should you decide to take advantage of this offer, please contact me at your earliest convenience. This offer expires August 15, 2010.
Thank you,

So there you have it.  Dell’s best offer to retain a frustrated customer was a $50 credit toward an item I was unable to purchase because of their incompetence.  Now, given Michael Dell’s recent stance on netbooks, I would think they’d be more than willing to move some inventory to keep a customer.  Clearly my understanding of customer service is different than that of the folks at “Dell Cares.”

I know what you’re asking yourself.  Did I use the $50 credit.  HELL NO!  That would have been capitulation, and in this instance I know I’m right.  These people cost me $300 dollars worth of Christmas present and rather than make it right and try to retain a long time customer, they spouted off boilerplate legalese to cover themselves.

That’s fine Dell.  If that’s what you think of your customers, I’ll let everyone who reads this site know.  Maybe they’ll pass it along to their friends.

I’m only one guy, but you’ve lost my business.  I hope you at least “care” about that.

One thought on “The Dell Saga Part 2 – More of the Same

  1. Poor Lorna. She actually thinks she’s helping out. That the whole ‘New Media Customer Service Team’ is making a difference. Of course, to resolve a problem, you actually have to solve the problem.

    I completely dig the ’empathy’ part.

    Here’s something I think we all ‘know’. EVERY customer service rep is trained to deliver that line with sincerity. It is part of the script. They have studies that just saying ‘I understand’ defuses a difficult situation. They expect you to calm down and let them take control of the resolution process.

    Well, throw them a curve. They’re not trained for calm, deliberate criticism. So, without any malice or aggression, offer up one of these:

    “You do understand? Good. Then I guess you’re as pissed off at yourself as I am.”

    “Your understanding…keep that. It’s worthless. How about some resolution?’

    “You do. Then those English as a Second Language classes have really paid off.”

    “Great. You don’t know how much angrier that makes me feel. I call with a problem and you spout platitudes. You got somebody there who actually solves the problems you understand?’

    ‘Fantastic. Now fix my problem.’

    “Good, then you’ve already processed my credit. What credit? Why, the full refund for the piece of shit you just sold me.”

    Being told, without anger, that they’re no good at their job is a lot more upsetting than being shouted at.

    Bruce has been much better in his responses than I would have been.

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