Mostly about my amusement

Dell is not the company they used to be (Updated)

Dell XPS 700 from CNET's web siteAfter pushing my old PC up hill long enough I ordered a new kick ass Dell XPS 700 with a 24 inch wide LCD panel. I’m getting the black one.

I had received an e-mail about how to check the status online and the estimated ship time was set for over a month when I ordered it. As the time went by I had contacted their customer service and asked if the system was going to be built. I was told that as far as they could tell they would make the date.

I ordered the Dell June 18th Father’s Day. The estimated ship time was today July 25th. As of 10:10AM today Dell’s system sent me the e-mail notifying me that I was in for a disappointment.

So I called the Dell customer number and after 2 minutes of informing the system that I did not know my customer number or order number (I do but I have learned to hate the machines). Eventually I got a real human being.

The call was professional. Phrases such as “Parts are hard to come by” and “if you’d like I can expedite the order” were said. The rep was able to upgrade to next day shipping for me so I am placated for now.

I am on for shipping Tuesday August 1st but unfortunately I expect to get another e-mail. I know that I am getting a new to market system but Dell should be able to gauge availability based on the fact that they have been doing this for a long time.

Dell XPS 700 image from CNET’s web site.

Update: In this day and age, you’d think I’d check via Google or Engadget before calling Dell. Per Dell’s Blog (see item number 2) I expect to be able to upgrade from my ordered Pentium D to the Core 2 Duo.

Core 2 Duo, that’s a bad name it trips up the tongue. On the web site it says “an option of either a free upgrade to a Core 2 Duo processor or a Dell gift card” so naturally I am going for the upgraded processor.

The blog site clearly states that you should wait for Dell to call you, but reading the comments from the customers I figures I would get pro-active and call them. I waited until lunch time and called the number for customer service number.

12:08 pm

I called and explained the situation to the service person. Who eventually gave me a case number and transfered me to her manager.

That took about 20 minutes, mostly on hold. The manager said something about getting more info and asked if it’s okay to place me back on hold.

12:57 pm

The manager says I need to 800-915-3355 Modification department and transfers me there.

1:00 pm

Got the Modification department. They have no idea why I was sent to them. They said that I need to go back to customer service and transfered me back.

1:04 pm

Put back on hold sent back to the first line. Gave new person my case number. Question from the new person: “If I may ask what do you want me to do?” Put back on hold.

1:12 pm

Taken off hold and was asked “What do you want again?” (Does the light in the fridge really go out when you close the door? I guess so). I had to explain I want the free upgrade to the “Core 2 Duo” that per the blog I may qualify for. She kept saying “Core Duo” and I had to explain that that is a different processor and yeah the number 2 matters. Damn you Intel marketing department!

1:14 pm

She got back to me and read me the current promotions. I explained it’s not a promotion and that per Dell’s blog I should qualify for the free upgrade. It does say that I should wait to be called, but my order is only (oh yeah sure) a week away and I want to avail myself of this upgrade.

1:20 pm

Wooo she gave me a new case number! Now we’re cooking. The number from my last one went up by a count of 7,497. Wonder if that means anything? Being sent back to Sales at 800-915-3355. Hold time again.

1:24 pm

Got someone in North America. Just an operator. Sending me to Cancel/Re-enter order department 800-289-3355, take option number 2. Oh cool, new hold music!

1:27 pm

Got new person also in North America, repeated whole story. He goes of and checks something and puts me on hold.

1:32 pm

He came back and started explaining something. Don’t know what, we got disconnected in the middle of his sentence. Classic.

1:33 pm

Called 800-289-3355 and took option number 2. Please make it stop.

1:35 pm

Got someone again in North America, wash, rinse, repeat. Back on witty hold music. I think it’s Mozart.

1:41 pm

“Sir that is not a Dell web site” Sadly more washing, rinsing, repeating. They’d never heard of the web page. They have no idea what this web page is about. After I showed them the web page I did get the phone number of the gentleman listed in the web page.

I called left a voice mail and sent the gentleman listed in the web site a short e-mail.

Lesson’s learned

Almost everyone I spoke with was patient and professional. But it is very clear that Dell’s one2one blog has a real disconnect with the rest of the company. Before that blog entry was put up Dell should have had the options in place in advance.

Here is the original verbiage from the Dell one2one blog entry (emphasis and underlining mine):

2. How will Dell make it up to customers who have been waiting patiently for their XPS 700 orders to ship?
Due to the delays many of you have experienced, we will provide an option of either a free upgrade to a Core 2 Duo processor or a Dell gift card for all those who have ordered systems as of July 18, 2006. We ask for your continued patience as we roll out communication to our customer care and sales teams. Customers should wait until Dell contacts them regarding the status of their orders.

No company should put that sort of statement up there without being able to back it up. It is 100% money back guaranteed to just alienate your customer base when they try to avail themselves of the stated offer.