left Xtraordinary Living At Its Best: Is customer service an investment or an expense?

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

New Visitor? Like what you read? Then please subscribe to my RSS Blog Feed or sign up for Free Email Updates. Thanks for Visiting!

Is customer service an investment or an expense?

I have a Dell computer that is still under an extended warranty I purchased last year. I've been having some minor and mostly annoying problems with my computer for months. Two days ago, I contacted Dell about the problem and today, a Dell technician came over and repaired my computer. Pretty impressive, right? Unfortunately, no.

This is because my call to Dell two days ago was my third call. Both previous times I spent over two hours during each session working with a tech support person over the phone. And after all that time, my problems weren't fixed. They kept insisting that the problem was something other than their computer.

First they blamed it on a Microsoft Windows problem. Unfortunately thanks to the lousy quality of Windows products, that was a very plausible explanation. So after spending several more hours re-installing Windows and all my other software, the problem was still there.

The next time I called, they blamed the problem on my monitor. They said because the monitor was of too high resolution for the graphics card in the computer, I needed to upgrade my card. The fact that I had had no problem with the same monitor for a couple of years, didn't seem to matter. Turns out that after replacing the card - at my cost, the problem still wasn't solved.

After talking to my BNI's computer geek and explaining what I was going through, he said that unfortunately my experience wasn't uncommon. I was just about ready to bite the bullet and get a new computer, when I decided to give Dell a call one more time. This time I made it very clear from the onset that I wasn't interested in getting any more diagnosis over the phone. I told them that I simply wanted to know if they intended to honor their warranty or not.

I will never know what caused my issue to be finally handled in an appropriate manner. It might have been my attitude or my luck with finding a customer service rep that cared. Or it could well be some other formula that they have at Dell that says that if a customer has tried X times to resolve the problem to no avail and they keep calling, then maybe they should take care of the problem.

What I do know is this: Dell blew it! I'm certain that they have lost money on my extended warranty sale. But more importantly, they have lost my trust, my goodwill and most likely my future business. They might have been better off treating me poorly and saved themselves the cost of trying to fix my problem.

Back to my question on the title of the post: is customer service an investment or an expense? Had Dell done what they ended up doing for me on my first call to them, it would have definitely been an investment. The way they did it, turned out to be an expense. What a shame.


sharonrealestateinvesting said...

I had this exact same issue with Dell about a month ago. Three times they tried and failed to fix the machine. I had an extended warranty on it, and they tried to wiggle their way out of that one too, but luckily I had all the email paperwork proving it was valid.

Finally they sent me a new machine, but it was a different model. They claimed my original model was no longer manufactured. The new one is horrible, but I'm stuck with it.

Like you I will never buy from Dell again. Does anyone have anything positive to say about Dell?

Sharon Hiebing
Creating Wealth through Caring & Sharing