I was hoping that my third post about Dell would be a positive one. I like positive things. Positive is good. I'd hoped I'd find some amazing Dell person on Twitter or something who could make it all happen; sort out the mess and make me a happy customer. Or at least someone who would be able to make me say "yes, well some parts of Dell clearly suck. But they have some good staff."
Well I was hoping.
So to recap what you may have missed…
- Man (me - hello!) orders computer from Dell online. Decides to get it delivered to his office.
- Dell inform man (hello!) that payment authorisation was unsuccessful
- Man does some sort of internet chat thing with Dell sales agent to sort out failed payment thing
- Dell inform man that all is good and order will be delivered
- Man receives another email from Dell asking to re-confirm delivery address. Man is a bit confused as to why they're asking, but does so anyway.
- Puzzled, man checks invoice. Man sees that sales agent has decided to change delivery address to man's former employer.
- Man phones Dell customer service to report this frankly odd decision.
- Dell customer service agent goes "Whoops! We can sort this out but we have to wait until it's ready to ship because our stupid computer system won't allow us to change delivery address whilst order is being built. But never mind. We'll put a hold on the shipping process and be in touch."
- Man taps his fingers on his desk whilst manufacturing is delayed due to lack of 14" LCD screens.
- Man gets email telling him his order has been shipped from China!
- Man bangs head on desk in despair as he checks the shipping details and finds that order is still heading to his old employer.
- Man writes email to Dell customer service telling them not to deliver to his old employer.
Follow all that? Yes? Good. No? Oh well we can summarise as "incompetent Dell".
So that's where we left it. As you can see, it was a barrel of laughs. But what happened next?
- Dell's shipping agent deliver order to man's former employer. It is signed for by "Ben".
- Man phones Dell and says "sort it out for goodness sake"
- Dell customer service person says "Sorry. Do you want us to pick it up and redeliver it, or do you want to pick it up yourself."
- Man momentarily contemplates the reaction of wandering to an office and going "Hey! I used to work here and I believe you've got a parcel for me. Can I riffle through your post room until I find it?" and decides to let Dell organise picking it up. They promise to redeliver it shortly.
- Shipping agent's website proclaims order has been picked up from former employer and sent to a warehouse in Hinkley.
- Man waits for redelivery to right address.
- Man waits some more.
- Man looks at his watch and wonders how long he's going to have to bloomin' well keep waiting.
- Dell customer service email saying "Hello! I trust you have your new PC!"
- Man goes "Hmm…. No…."
- Man waits two days and gets no response. Man emails again.
- Four days later a different Dell customer agent gets in touch. "Your delivery was made! It was signed for by Ben! Hope you like your new PC!"
- Man resists temptation to punch the 19" monitor in front of him because he has read message whilst at work and his employer might not appreciate it. He notes with irony that the monitor he has not punched is made by Dell.
- Man calmly responds to fully explain the situation again.
- Dell customer service agent says "do you know if your old employer signed for it, or refused delivery."
- Man says he doesn't know.
- Dell agent says "Let us know when you've been in touch with them."
- Man says "That's not my job mate. I'm not sorting out your mess for you.". Sort of. He actually says it in more polite terms.
- Three days later Man emails again having had no response. Man says he's tired of this, that it's been a nearly a fortnight since the item was mis-delivered, has no confidence it will be redelivered and he wants his money back. Oh and can you get me the complaints address please.
- Man gets no response. Man rants on Twitter. Dell Twitter team promise to get someone to look in to it.
- Five days after refund request, man decides enough is enough and that not-even getting a reply is not a good sign. He goes to his credit card company to void the transaction. Credit card company asks for some documentary evidence, but that interest payments on the amount will be suspended until the case is resolved.
- Two hours later later a third customer service agent emails to arrange re-deliverey.
- Man states that he's already asked for a refund and spoken to his credit card company. But if Dell refund the money by the end of the week, the man will call off the almighty power of Barclaycard's hounds.
- Man waits until end of the week (four days) and notes lack of response from Dell.
- Man spends some time printing off emails and documents to send to Barclaycard. He pops them in the post.
- Six days after after, Dell finally reply saying they've issued a refund.
- Man emails the hounds of Barclaycard and tells them to stand down.
- Man goes online, spots a HP laptop with almost identical specs on sale for about £60 more than the Dell he ordered. He reserves it online and picks it up from a branch of PC World the next day.
In total I waited six weeks to not get a PC. More if you include the time it took me to wait for a special offer to expire as it would have given me a free printer that I didn't want.
A good customer service process would have sorted everything out in one step. I would have left a reasonably happy customer. I would have been mildly annoyed at having had to fix something they got wrong, but my laptop would have been delivered and I would have forgotten about it.
In contrast, a bad customer service process puts your customers off. I now know that I will never buy direct from Dell again. It's possible I may never buy anything Dell ever again. Which is a shame as I really like the Dell Ultrasharp 17" monitor that I have at home.
But more than that, I will tell my friends never to buy from Dell. I will tell acquaintances. I will warn people in the street who I happen to hear talking about Dell. I will tell them and I will warn them. I will say that if it all goes wrong, don't expect them to sort it out quickly. Expect pain. Expect trauma. Expect frustration.
And whilst you might think the chances of it going wrong are slim, with Dell, even the matter of them getting your order sent to the right address seems to be impossible.