Dell and The Better Business Bureau

A research report by Moors & Cabot appeared last week that gave an inaccurate picture of Better Business Bureau statistics and observations on Dell’s customer satisfaction.

Conclusions drawn from the statistics reflected a lack of understanding how our Direct Model and the BBB work when it comes to complaints.  The BBB shared our concerns on how their data had been extrapolated and wrote Moors & Cabot a letter on this point and others, which we have included below.  The original report by Moors & Cabot is proprietary so we can not link to it but its false conclusions were shared with the media and resulted in a distortion of the facts.

We are a direct company – in our model we sell directly to our customers and we are the first point of accountability when they have a problem.  At Dell we are capable of responding to the customer faster and we are investing heavily to ensure we do. This is in contrast to other computer companies who use resellers or retailers to sell their products.  In that model, a customer may have many different points of contact to attempt to resolve a problem.  Using BBB data, researchers can easily capture the data on Dell, and our numbers are likely to always be higher than indirect companies unless there is a complete analysis of all available data from BBB offices nationwide that factors in resellers and retailers.  This Moors & Cabot did not do.  

Dell has been a BBB member since 1989 and we have a very close and productive relationship that includes a Web-based tool to expedite complaint resolution.  By mutual agreement, the local Austin office handles all of our customer complaints from coast to coast. Their staff is integral to our ability to deliver quality service to our U.S. customers.  In the past three years, they’ve fielded about 46,000 inquiries from potential customers seeking information on our track record and helped us resolve about 15,000 customer complaints.  (In the spirit of full disclosure, Dell makes cash and in-kind contributions to the BBB along with many other members with a vested interest in its continued success.)

So how’re we doing lately? Complaints are down about 40% since the same time last year. Right now our BBB complaints are running at roughly .03% — that’s about three customers out of every 10,000, and we resolve 100% of the complaints. We’re also pleased with the level of transparency.  100% of Dell’s BBB complaints are documented for public record.  

So, these are the facts.  Based on how customer complaints are actually handled in an industry of direct and non-direct companies, the report was off the mark in stating that our satisfaction level in the consumer segment might be “an order of magnitude” lower than some of our competitors.  

Meanwhile, we plan to stay focused on improving the Dell customer experience overall—something that should drive the number of Dell complaints to the BBB down even further.

Here is the letter from Carrie Hurt, president/CEO of the local BBB to Moors & Cabot. 

About the Author: Lynn Tyson