Dell, what happened?

Many years ago, I switched from Gateway to Dell computers. I had a problem and I couldn’t get anyone on the phone from Gateway. Remember Windows 3.11? Nothing was easy back then. Technical support plus self help books were essential. I remember calling throughout the day started at 6 am and finally getting someone on the line at 1 am. Since then I have bought 15 or so computers. All of them Dells. I even bought Dell stock (years too late but …) So, recently I had to sell my Dell stock because it was sitting there like a lump of coal.

Yesterday, I tried to buy a computer for my mother. Mom pays on the internet and e-mails. Not rocket science but her old computer just ain’t crunching the numbers like it use to. (This is a game that Bill Gates and other computers dudes play with us. For years we had to upgrade computers because there was some game [Quake or Doom] that required a new graphics card. Now, it is Microsoft itself that requires more and more RAM. More and more hard drive space. So upgrade or your computer will grind to a halt. Those automatic updates are part of the problem. Symantec killed my mom’s old computer. The old computer couldn’t handle SystemWorks 2006.)

So, this is easy. A couple of clicks and a simple faster computer for Mom. Not so fast. Does the computer have an ethernet card? It doesn’t say. So, foolishly, I pay the new computer figuring that I can always add an ethernet card. There are no ethernet cards for the computer found on the Dell web site. On line help is easy. NOT. Real Player kept opening and trying to find a component everytime the Dell guy replied. So, he is going to transfer me to parts and there is an Internet Explorer error and IE shuts down. So, I call sales. I wait 5 minutes. This guy wants to transfer me to parts after I give him all of the information and we get…disconnected. I call back because I’m stupid. This time I call parts. Another 5 minute wait then I get Barney Fife. Nice guy but we went over the same territory.

– What’s your order number? Is your name Joe Smith?
– No, I introduced myself earlier and you were not paying attention. Here’s the order number again.
– Sir, you are right. there is no ethernet on the this computer.
– I told him I know and I wanted to buy one.

So, he goes to the same web site that I have been looking at for the last 2 days.

– He says I can’t find an ethernet card for your computer. (No Shit sherlock.) Sir, let me put you on hold and I’ll talk with technical support. Now, here’s the best – He comes back on the line and tells me that the ethernet is part of the motherboard and it will be with the computer.

So, I smile to myself and thank him for his time and hang up. Yelling wouldn’t help. We’ll see if the ethernet card comes with the computer. If it doesn’t then why isn’t it in the itemized order?

This is why Dell is losing market share. NO, Customer Service. Why didn’t the first internet chat guy know this? Why couldn’t he find out? Why wasn’t the internet chat easier? MSN works. AOL works. Yahoo chat works. Why did IE crash? Why does this whole experience leave me with the feeling that my Mom’s computer will NOT have an Ethernet card when it arrives.

Mr. Dell where did your customer service go?  Did corporate profits kill customer service?

0 Responses

  1. Sorry to read about your experience. We do recognize we have a lot of work to do to ensure across-the-board satisfaction in our consumer business. I’ll pass along your comments to the right parties within Dell. Direct feedback is the best way to effect improvements. BTW, if you or your mother have any problems with the new system please don’t hesitate to e-mail customer_advocate@dell.com.

  2. Hopefully they keep their customer service and technical support calls in the US. You have half a chance. If it ever goes to India you will be up the creek.

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Errington C. Thompson, MD

Dr. Thompson is a surgeon, scholar, full-time sports fan and part-time political activist. He is active in a number of community projects and initiatives. Through medicine, he strives to improve the physical health of all he treats.

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