I bought a Dell desktop (XPS 9000) and had some troubles with it that I wanted to share with you so should you decide you also want a Dell, you’ll know what to look out for.
Before I go any further, why am taking the time to write this?
Social Media is my friend
With the introduction of Social Media tools, it’s very easy for people to post their review or critique about a company’s services and products and millions of people to discover it. Having commenting systems, blogs and video sharing, etc at their disposal, the aggrieved customer can let others easily know of their dissatisfaction. Thus the voice of a single customer can have extensive influence to others, which can be far more damaging than the single issue they’re having.
United Airlines knows exactly what this is like; one of their customers was looking out of their aircraft window only to see a baggage handler throwing his guitar into the hold. When he reached his destination and retrieved his guitar, the instrument was broken. United offered little sympathy and a paltry $200 offer of compensation for a far more expensive piece of equipment. Consequently the customer posted a YouTube video of his experience and quickly became viral with over 9 million views. United faced a significant PR issue – which could have easily been contained if they had just been more sympathetic and taken the time to engage with the customer. Instead, 9 million people knew that United baggage handling wasn’t necessarily great all the time.
Dell – You failed to deliver but at least you were consistent
I bought a Dell XPS 9000 and within 2 weeks of receiving it the multi-card reader failed (used for things like camera cards and USB devices) . I was also hearing interference from the soundcard. I called Dell regarding the card reader and was informed that I would be sent a new part and that I should complete the repair myself.
Why make the customer do your own dirty work?
Being an old hand at repairing computers I could have done this but was annoyed that I had to replace the broken part myself. Turns out they’d sent the wrong cable and the instructions were incomplete. I called Dell again and they sent an engineer without question.
What should have happened
Either make the components fool proof to repair or send the engineer to replace the part in the first place.
Dell’s handling of the matter was good; there is clearly some learning to be had, but as Dell has been in the PC manufacturing business for some time now, you would have thought this type of incident would be resolved in an instant
“We guarantee this will fix it” – “If you job depends on it?” – “Well… no”
When I used the headphone port from the multi-card reader, I would heard electromagnetic interferance (EMI) . A quick Google found that a handful of people had reported it but no resolution was forthcoming.
I called Dell mentioning that the Dell engineer on his last visit agreed this was an EMI issue. Initial response from the CSR was “We don’t recommend you use the headphone socket – use the back of the soundcard instead”. Whilst this would resolve the issue, it wasn’t the point; You don’t supply a product to include features that are defective (as Apple discovered with the launch of the iPhone 4).
With the new motherboard, sound card and headphone connector replaced and the issue still occurring (hate to say I told you so…) I repeated my request to the Dell CSR that all we needed was either a shielded cable, or as we were now discovering, the power supply was also generating a lot of interference noise, so if they could send an alternate – not replacement – PSU.
Instead, Dell sent me a completely new computer promising “Don’t worry, we guarantee it will work no problem”. When asked “Would you say that if your job depended on it?”, the response was “OK, well, it should work”. The new unit arrivedahead of schedule and with the exact same issue.
Therefore I can only conclude that the Dell XPS9000 is supplied with a defective configuration and therefore I do not recommend buying this model – or any other model of Dell until they can resolve this. Additionally Dell never followed up on my requests to resolve this issue – I’ve grown accustomed to using it now, so I live with it, but pass this knowledge on to you, dear reader.
What should have happened
Dell missed the “customer is always right” step and my requests through the CSR team were met with “We agree with you but there’s no process to help you” or “My manager will call you back”. These are not acceptable ways of handling a customer issue.
Dell followed the scripted process, rather than the pragmatic process in this instance. An issue that could have been resolved and (probably) cheaper remains unresolved because of that scripted process. Understandably this process is in place so that Dell can employ people who don’t have such high skill levels as the traditional engineer ($), however there are exceptions to the rule and a more skilled resource should have been engaged to resolve – including the engineer who was on-site and more than capable.
Where do we go from here
I’m using this blog post as a means to a) make people aware of the issue b) make people aware that Dell’s resolution and customer service process is below par (though I did speak to some very nice, understanding people who’s hands were tied by the process c) to use social media tools to make my point. Maybe Dell will listen this time….
(see also : CNET customer reviews of Dell XPS 9000)