I’m one of the last hold-outs from the early days. You know, one of those crochety old developers who still buys Dell because they make the best computers at the lowest cost. Last night was the last straw in a series of events that have spelled the end of their reign for me.
I recently purchased a brand new Inspiron 1525 and ran into a number of problems after the order was placed that resulted in a 6-week delay in receiving it. I killed at least three or four hours with customer service, and several reps were actually quite rude on the phone. It was very interesting to have them give me attitidue and then to have no recourse (i.e., I asked to talk to their supervisor and they kept saying he was not available. I called back, waited on hold for another 20 minutes and talked to a supervisor who totally blew me off). That put me on the edge.
Then last night, I restarted my laptop and saw this:
My six-week old hard-drive is failing.
Sure, I have backups, but six weeks ago I spent close to 20 hours installing Vista 64 and the other 40 apps I use on a regular basis. Needless to say I don’t have another 20 hours to kill. But after 30 minutes on the phone with an unhelpful (and downright nasty) Dell tech support rep, a new drive is on its way. Don’t invite me to your house this weekend; you know what I’ll be doing.
Next time it will be Sony or Toshiba. Or does anyone have other suggestions on good brands?
Dell is dead. Long live the king.
The day after this post went live I received a call from a Dell Level 3 Tech Support Specialist who was asked to contact me by Dell Corporate. The guy was a “Fixer,” and a good one at that.
The new hard drive had arrived by 7am that morning and the Fixer walked me through the install process and asked a few detailed questions about my previous experience with tech support. He let me rant for a few minutes, apologized, and got my system running again very quickly. He was insanely knowledgable – by far the best tech support person I had ever spoken with at Dell. Level 3, indeed.
He gave me his direct email and phone number and said if I ran into any problems to contact him. I re-installed Windows and my other apps in about 14 hours this time around, and was ready to work by the following Monday.
So at least one big company is listening. At the same time, if you don’t find a company with great customer service, or you don’t have a public soap box through which to voice your complaints, you’re going to be forever relegated to poor customer service prison.