Social Value Deficit

by Dan Robles on 10/31/2010

I just got off the phone with Dell support. My story is simple. I bought my Dell computer a few weeks before Windows 7 shipped. It was my 5th Dell in the last 15 years and a relationship that I had been quite satisfied with. I paid for Vista because Dell promised to upgrade my Vista to W7 as a condition to buy their product. This was not a “promotional offer” sponsored by MS – it was a software purchase agreement. It was a promise.

When I bought my last Dell, I spoke to a very persuasive sales agent who assured me that they had the authority to make and keep promises – or so I thought. The sales agent said and did everything for my sale – even searching my files and invoking my own loyalty as a reason why Dell was the product for me.

That Christmas I got an Apple – at first I resisted using the MacBook Pro because I had to learn a new way of doing things. But after a while, I noticed something about Apple. They don’t waste my time. I don’t need to be a technologist to use it, I am not jammed against deadlines waiting for resource hogging features (that I don’t care about) crunching away on the hard drive. OK, the apple crashes every now and then but usually because I am doing something dumb.

Last week, all my PC friends got the latest FB worm – not me. My printer works just fine, as does the scanner, cameras, mics, bluetooth, extra monitors. No really, Everything is seamless. The Apple just refuses to waste my time. Again, the apple simply refuses to waste my time.

Now my business is expanding. I need to buy another computer – PC or Mac – I don’t care, I just need the systems. So I called Dell and asked them for my W7. I was absolutely appalled by their treatment of me and my request. Apparently a promise has an expiration date. Apparently a SOLD customer is a NON customer. Apparently Dell has time to waste paying their own employees time so that they can waste my time. Apple refuses to waste my time.

No really, I was astonished…disbelief…dumfounded. After elevating my complaint to several levels of management, the last one was perfectly willing to start a shouting match with me. I cannot remember the last time anyone caused me to raise my voice. Who was this person???? This is not the Dell that I know. It is the Dell that I never want to know again.

Social Currency is denominated in units of Time. Don’t waste my Time

I am really wondering how they justify this behavior. If you calculate the time it took to train 3 managers to diss me. The time that they actually spent dissing me, my own time getting dissed, and the thousands of dollars of computers that I will never again buy from them. All for maybe 100 dollars? Did I mention that Apple absolutely refuses to waste my time?


Dan November 1, 2010 at 9:17 am

Hello Lorna;

Thanks for the note. I guess that my first question is why weren’t your customer support people given the same access to you as I can easily acquire? I gave them the same service tag and order number – several times, actually. The W7 upgrade promise is right on the invoice. Do your customer support people know about @DellCares? Why weren’t your sales people made aware of proper notation for contingency offers?

I am fully aware that the issue is almost trivial, amounting to maybe 60-100 dollars – that is why it is so important. The point of this article is that money is no longer as important in the new economy – time is the scarce resource. This is time taken away from family, children, work, and community and can never be recovered at any price. This is called Social Value and it is rapidly becoming worth substantially more than money. The point of the article is that nobody should be able to reach into the lives of another person and steal their time any more that they should be able to reach into their bank account and steal their money.

While I appreciate your intention to make my system whole, I will need to decline your kind offer because that would not be fair to the vast majority of your customers who are not business bloggers and cannot incite a reaction from @DellCares. I could not take your gracious offer knowing that thousands of others are being stonewalled by your “support” team and then just give up because it is not worth their time. However, Since you generously offered, I will delete the tweets and take this post down from my other blogs. I will try to contact others who reposted but cannot guarantee they will pull it down – this takes time.

I am guessing that there is a little “box” on your flow chart of what to do with customers like me now that they have declined your efforts. If you wouldn’t mind, please revise the chart to include Social Value. Please bring this up with your management and staff and feel free to use it as guidance for continued customer support efforts. I do hope that after all, Dell chooses to improve as a company.

Thanks again and I do appreciate the call-back!!!

PS: I am also a little surprised at how long it took Radian6 to notify you – see, time matters!!

LornaAtDell October 31, 2010 at 10:46 am

Hi Dan,
I am responding to your blog on behalf of @MichaelDell. I truly regret your customer service experience. Please allow me to investigate your concerns. If you would email your service tag # or order # and provide your email address, I am happy to look into getting the Win 7 update for your system.
Thank you for allowing me to assist you.
[email protected]

Gabriele Maidecchi October 31, 2010 at 9:38 am

Using Apple products since nearly 10 years, you just provided me a good landing page for me to redirect to when people try to discourage others from using Apple while not having a clue, thanks 😉

Daniel Rose October 31, 2010 at 5:28 am

That is quite poor form for Dell. I’ve usually had good results, but it certainly seems to have slipped from what is was just a few years ago…

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