Dell, delays, and transparency2007-08-03
Dell Computers may have a lot of problems, but transparency isn’t one of them. I learned on Jim Horton’s blog about a post on Direct2Dell from Consumer Product Group Sr. VP Alex Gruzen announcing a delay in shipment of a new Dell laptop. The post drew 189 comments as of today, most of them slamming the company hard for the delay.
Some of the comments chastised Dell for waiting until the last possible moment to announce the delay, which is not a shining example of transparency. But the blog itself could serve as a poster child for transparency, given the volume of negative comments the company seems to have no problem posting.
What’s more, Gruzen was back on the blog today with more details and a forthright apology:
I want to apologize for the frustration that these delays are causing you. I understand that no amount of explanation is a substitute for shipping the system, but hope this helps addresses some of your concerns.
Regular readers will know how highly I value apologies from businesses. “I’m sorry” goes a long way.
Further, the explanations—by Gruzen and lead blogger Lionel Menchaca—provide insight into production issues few companies seem willing to share. None of this makes those customers who expected to have a laptop in their hands by now any happier, but at least they’re not left wondering, “What the hell happened?” Dell is incredibly upfront about what the hell happened.
As for those who wonder what company in its right mind would allow such negative content to appear on its own online properties, Horton offers this (with which I wholeheartedly agree):
While the episode is painful, Dell could have had its customers expressing their rage on their individual blogs and on bulletin boards all over the internet. At least, customer dissatisfaction has been captured and the company knows what it needs to do to get on its customers’ good sides. Blogs are not only for good news.