Monday, January 30, 2012

The Transformational Journey of Dell - from Hell-being to Well-being

It was back in June 2005, when Dell Inc. received some major complaints concerning its customer support services. Blogger Jeff Jarvis who coined his blog as “Dell Hell” posted a series of negative blogs about the Dell laptop he’d purchased. Within days, his post caught the attention of others who also had bad customer experience and “Dell Hell” began to catch the attention of the mainstream media. While Dell was surrounded in the negative limelight, it continued silence on the issue which resulted in Dell’s dipping sales and reputation.

Listen-engage-act is the mantra of success for companies/brands in the social media space. While Dell was late to realize the power of online communication, but today it has the most sought after social media communication strategy.

A year after the incident, Dell launched its own blog named Direct2Dell. It further expanded its blogging platform by including a blog for employees and investors. According to Dell, in 2006, at least 50% of Dell’s online conversation was negative. A year later, the negative online conversation was reduced to 23%. While Direct2Dell was one of the ways to engage customers in online conversation, Dell recently launched its own dedicated 'Social Media Listening Command Centre' in Texas head office, in order to track, monitor and respond to consumer conversation online including applications like Twitter and Facebook.

The company's command centre has multiple display screens and manned stations which track web mentions across the globe. It’s also remarkable to note that Dell launched SMAC University (Social Media and Community) to train its employees on various aspects of social media and since then it has trained 5000 staff.

Michael Dell, CEO, Dell Inc. said it right that “You want to have big ears and be tuned in to what’s going on out there in the marketplace.” It is fascinating to see that the top management in the organization is realizing the business value of social media and championing the initiative. Dell is an excellent example of how social media can be used by organizations to improve customer experience.

I believe the Social Media Listening Command Centre is an excellent way to listen, engage and act to the customers’ real time. All this totally shows that Dell has made a strong come-back in the online media and learnt from the mistake once made back in 2005! What do you think?


  1. Hi Ancita, thanks for sharing your take on our social media journey at Dell. You are certainly correct to note that top management has been supportive of the efforts.

    It is also worth noting that we find social media to be a great tool to connect with customers across the social web on all kinds of aspects of our business like new ideas at Ideastorm or engagaing with customers about news through @dell, as well as for customer support on Twitter/@dellcares or on Facebook. too.

    The Listening Command Center is not just about customer really does allow us to have "those big hears" and constantly listen and learn from customers...on whatever matters are most important to them.

  2. Hi Richard, thanks for the comment and I totally agree with your thoughts. I believe other companies including SMB's can learn a lot from Dell's online/ social media strategy and try engaging with customers through this platform.

    I'm sure the team at Dell must be encouraging their clients to hop on to the social media space and connect & engage with their customers real time.

    It would be great if Dell came up with a social media 101 book with best practices learnt internally. It could well turn out to be a services line for Dell generating healthy stream of revenue.