Above All Else—Fix My Problem

All customer feedback matters—whether it comes through our technical support people, Dell.com, the Dell Community Forum or this weblog.  The majority of it drives home a common theme:  “Fix my problem, now…”

Reams of data shows that if we can resolve a customer’s issue in the first one or two phone calls, they tend to be highly (~85%) satisfied.  If it takes more than two calls, satisfaction falls off a cliff (~50%).  Other external surveys largely echo our findings.  Several annual third party surveys will be coming later this summer—we'll blog about all of them then.

Anything else is just fuel for the fire: hold times, accents, transfers, etc.  All these variables are contributors to dissatisfaction, but not necessarily drivers of satisfaction. This is why we are putting so much focus this year and beyond on streamlining processes designed to fix customer problems in a timely fashion.   

I’d like to address one issue that emerged in comments to Laura’s post: the accents and communication skills of some of our technical support agents.  We do a considerable amount of screening and training in order to get agents with good English skills on the phone.  We have a robust quality audit program which is used to further improve communications skills.  Are we perfect?  No.  Are there agents who aren't truly focused on solving the whole issue? Yes.  But the vast majority of our agents are qualified and capable individuals who really do want to help solve our customers’ issues.  Hopefully, you can meet some of these talented people on one2one in the future.

We made it hard for our agents to solve customers’ problems by establishing “Prescriptive Support Boundaries” and “Limited Exchange/Return Windows.”  We also pulled the 800 numbers off the web, allowed hold times to stretch  beyond 30 minutes, launched rebate programs you need a slide rule to figure out, etc.  These are all examples of things we have done that have made our agents’ lives and, in turn, your customer service issues more difficult to solve.  

These are also things that we are actively addressing. We are undoing these and many other cumbersome processes that have accumulated like sediment over time in order to deliver a timely, accurate resolution.  A few are easy fixes, most will take time to address.  We remain committed to improving the quality of our service in every one of our call centers around the world.

About the Author: Downs Deering