Prevention Is The Best Medicine

Okay, I’ve received some flak (guess I’d better get used to that!) for taking so long to post again.  I promise to try to get better juggling my day job with this blogging hobby I signed up for.  You want us to be more specific about fixes and give more details of what we are doing.  Here are four key changes we have made in the last 3 months, in the US.    

Rebate Center: We have launched a web “Rebate Center” to streamline your ability to find this information.  This has been a very frustrating process for customers and in fact was the # 1 reason cited for dissatisfaction (based on customer surveys) with the order process in the US.  You will no longer have to search all over the website to find the right form and, in fact, the forms themselves have been improved.  Now, as soon as the products ship, the forms are auto-populated with the required information so all you have to do is print and mail them in along with a copy of your packing slips.  We have seen a drop in calls from customers who can’t find the forms so we believe this change is helping.  

Simplifying Pricing: You may have also seen the announcement last week about our intent to simplify pricing so that you don’t have to scramble around or worry about finding hidden deals.  We’ll blog more about this in the future.

Order Status Improvements: Even on this blog, there have been complaints (yes, really, complaints) about confusing communications from us about order status and shipping dates.  In fact, checking on order status is the # 1 reason you call us (based on actual number of contacts) during the order process.  We have already made some fixes and are working on more of them.  First, we have overhauled the look and information in our e-mails to be less “Dell-speak” and more inline with the info you are interested in.  For example (and this is kinda funny in an odd corporate world way) we used to provide you with a description of the product you bought and it looked something like this: DIM B110 CEL D 2.53.  What? That doesn’t mean anything to you, you say?   Well it meant a lot to our manufacturing systems.  Right.  Instead we have replaced this with descriptions that should help you verify that the order is in fact what you wanted: Dimension B110, Celeron Processor 2.53 GHz.  We have also fixed disconnects in our system as to when orders have shipped.  Previously, our online order status may not have had the same information as the service or sales rep and that may have been different from the e-mail.  But now they are connected, and if for some reason the ship date is revised, all the tools are updated together.  We still have more to do to continue simplifying and improving the accuracy of this information.  For example, we want to be more precise about your actual delivery date (when will it show up on your doorstep) and not just provide an estimated date for when it will leave our factory.  We look forward to introducing this capability in the fall.  For those of you who like to know why things take so long, we have this order information in multiple IT systems and tools.  The projects to integrate and synchronize the data are complex.  This means that the fixes are staggered over a few months.  My apologies to those of you who think these are excuses (you know who you are) but some people actually seemed interested in getting some insight into why things are the way they are. And while, I have been talking about specific fixes for the US, my colleagues in Europe and Asia have the same issues with similar projects in place to correct.

Getting Credit For Any Returns: The final fix is around getting credit for any returns that you make.  Show me the money… this has been a painful process for you.  Historically, Dell had a policy not to issue the refund money until the returned products made it into our warehouses and could be accounted for.  Unfortunately, this whole process typically took 4-6 weeks.  We are already starting to improve this timeframe.  By the end of the year, we aim to cut the return credit turnaround time to a week.   Meanwhile, we are working to eliminate some of the pain points by providing better visibility to you on the status of the credit and ensuring our reps have more detailed info they can provide.  

So, as I have said before, we have a laser focus on resolving your problems.  The improvements described above will make things easier for you and we believe they will actually prevent you from having problems.  They prevent problems in finding the best prices, they prevent problems with understanding what the heck is happening with your order and they prevent problems in getting a rebate or a credit after your Dell purchase has arrived.  Stay tuned, as we continue to add Dell bloggers who will share details with you of what we are doing to resolve your problems when you have them but perhaps more importantly in the long run…to prevent them from happening in the first place.

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