Team Murder No Brain No Headache.

15Jul/06Off

The Mythical Dollar Cure

A lot of folks have been both criticizing and praising the commitment by someone at Dell to raise the bar of service at Dell to something about 'totally fucking blows.' I've been in the unfortunate position of having to deal with both the alleged support that Dell provides and their equally unfortunate hardware. My work environs are lathered several thick with Dell product and I've seen two fairly new workstations fail catastrophically in the two and a half months that I've been there. I don't use my own workstation for anything other than work which means simply running a pretty basic XP install with a help desk software client, a bunch of SSH terminals, and Firefox running on my desktop at any given time. I've also got the usual handful of configured mail clients (even the dreaded and atrocious Eudora that is so often preferred by retirees) but I don't actually use them for anything other than walking users through settings. If this is indeed a valid initiative instead of a stab for some 2.0 credibility they have a whole lot of work to do.

The problem with announcements is that while they take customer complaints into consideration there is nothing said about what input workers will have in this process. The people who actually have to follow and bear the brunt of Dell's policies ought to have a say in this. Simply saying that customer complaints are being taken seriously will spur a few nods from the entrenched tech pundits but until the folks on the phones and doing direct service have some degree of empowerment to actually help instead of passing the buck along to another person then people are still going to dread using the support. Clarity is also pretty important here as in what exactly is going to happen in terms of policy and making those policies available to the general public in clear terms instead of saddling some outsourced phone grunt in a remote call center with reading the PR speak from a binder and dealing with the anger.

I'm guessing that the only people this is really intended to appease are people teetering between making brand choices and stock holders. The only caveat that I can see here is that people who feel compelled to buy their machines through the largest corporate face available to them aren't the most technically apt or are trying to supply functional mediocrity to large organizations. Can they do better? Oh christ yes. Any movement away from the Brazilesque bureaucracy most often associated with Dell support is going to be a move in the right direction but I'd be willing to bet that they won't take it far enough or stick with it for very long.

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