Call Centers – Dell Case Study

Call centers. Everyone hates dealing with call centers right?

I have personally visited few big call centers myself such as, IBM, HP, Dell and few other smaller ones and today i would like to share my personal experience with the call centers in Dell (Penang) specifically. Dell Penang call center handles MY,SG, AN & NZ tech support and its a pretty big tean

The article below is taken from WIRED magazine ( sorry, i dont have a scanner) and its somewhat true to the extent for larger call centers with toll free numbers. My personal experience in Dell was that the while the company wanted to provide an avenue for customers to fix their problem, they also wanted to reduce the number of people managing the calls and also the numbers of calls coming in. So guess what they did?

1) They actually REMOVED the toll free line number from the invoices that went out with the pc/notebooks that you buy. Now isnt that SLY ? While i was still with Dell, i had to go through multiple directors/managers and also tons of heated arguements to get this damn thing fixed. In the end, i lost the battle and all the directors agreed that they dont want to bear the extra cost or inbound calls when the tech support toll free number is reinserted back into the invoice. (Dont believe me? go and see your invoice. is that toll free number tech support or just a normal toll free number?)

2) The toll free number is located deep inside Dell’s services page. Even when DO find it, the numbers are not updated or wrong.  Yep, this one also took me weeks to fix a simple problem. The call centers managers were reluctant for us to put up the number where people can see them and also in updating the damn numbers. (Dont believe me? Go to dell website now and TRY to locate the numbers)

2) Everyone handles multiple calls at a time. (read article below)

So you must be thinking, WHY THE HELL would they do that?  Well, Dell actually measures customer satisfaction levels( CSAT for short) from the call centers too, so with fewer calls, they get better scores. The managers can also report themselves as better managers as they dont have so many inbound calls or the need to hire more headcount. Pretty good isn’t it?



PAGE 2 -Caption

PAGE 2 -Caption

In fairness, Dell have a very good no nonsense replacement/returns policies and also in honoring price mistakes. Since Dell started to measure the customer satisfaction levels among all frontline depts, i believe they work harder in pleasing customers and up to some point, i believe customers took advantage of Dell. I know for a fact a lot of customer would purchase a Dell product and only to find it to perform below expectations and Dell would,in most cases accept the product to be returned in exchange for a refund or upgrade to a better product. I dare say DELL have the best return/exchange policy compared to HP,Acer,etc..etc….  Dont believe me? Try returning YOUR ACER laptop and let me know what happens!

Price errors also happens a lot in Dell, mostly due to “clerical” mistakes. Just google dell price error and you can see a long list of stories around the world and Dell, for the most part will honor it, especially when the orders are already placed and the media caught whiff of the story.

So, sorry to divert but there you have it. The next time you call Dell tech support, you should know what to expect and do read my previous post on trouble with customer with service agents and how to get service reps to help you . Im very sure they will help cos after all, those guys who work in call centers dont always get happy calls everyday…..

Anyone of you who have a story on dell customer service support feel free to comment on this post! TQ!

About xcarpathia

Just a normal average malaysian joe

Posted on August 20, 2008, in THE BAD, THE GOOD and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. fewer calls, better scores… so what happens to those who unable to look for the number? waste petrol and walk-in? thats bad. im a CS myself and am glad to find ur blog through thestar. will dump in infos anytime i come across something regarding customer satisfaction.



  2. Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment. Those customers who cant find the number end up calling the general line or emailing to dell which is what they prefer, emails!

    Oh yeah, feel free to share any CS stories and i will post it up in my blog! Thanks!

  3. Thanks for the interesting post.
    Is the call center oursourced in asia or owned by Dell, with Dell management?

    It is hard to believe that they would act this way, with all their understanding of business and loyalty.

    Rudy Vidal

  4. Thank you for visiting my blog and comment.
    The call center for Malaysia,Singapore, Australia and New Zealand is managed in house by Dell staff itself based in bayan lepas, Penang island (Malaysia)

    I guess there is a threshold on how much every MNC would spend in gaining customer loyalty.

    btw, you have a great blog too! will link up soon!

  5. I do not buy any other brands but Dells. That’s how much I think of their services. Their Next Business Day service is unique and simply love it.

  6. Yes, i do agree on dell service/tech support is great.Its one of the biggest plus points for consumers and businesses when they buy but Dell dont market it very well. My post was more on how Dell measures Customer satisfaction levels and measures taken by them to “boost” their scores. Thanks for visiting my blog Kong!

  7. I googled “”Dell Malaysia Toll Free” and the first result that says “Documentation” has a listing of all the toll-free numbers.

    Are you referring to that one?

    • frankly, i dont know anymore cos i dont work there anymore. you can try and call….i dont know if those are the old or new numbers 🙂

  8. Hi there,

    I know I am commenting on your post pretty late, but I do have a question – do you know how Malaysian businesses / corporations view customer service as a value added service to complement their main product or services? I constantly hear that consumers complain on the customer service quality received. However, how important is this to the companies? Especially if their main product sales is doing well, what would be their motivation to improve customer service? I can’t seem to think of an industry in Malaysia where customer service becomes a differentation factor between their products and that of their competitors. Any ideas?

    • Hi Shan.
      There are no time limit to replying posts on a blog 🙂
      As far as i know, most large companies such as Maxis, Dell,Digi have a customer service experience/user experience group that monitors and analyzes all customer feedback to improve their products/services and even their communications to their customers. I should write a post on this topic!

  9. I initially ordered a Dell Precision T3500 on March 1, 2010. Firstly, by checking my order status online, my “order date” was gradually changed from 03/01/2010 to 03/08/2010.

    A week later that order showed up as “canceled”.

    I started calling every other day to try and work out what was happening, I was told the order had indeed shipped from Dell.

    However a week later I had a new order number on the online tracking, with no details as to what this order was. I would call once a day, but no one could help me as to the status of my order. On average I was transferred 6-9 times per call, repeating my information and request to every representative until the rep was inaudible due to call quality deterioration.

    Finally after about 5 days of calling a representative said that the new order number was because a part was missing when i first ordered my Precision and had now indeed shipped and would be there next week.

    A week later however, a new order number showed up online, so now I have three order numbers for the same order, one canceled the other two are at “order received” and are showing dates received as the 23rd and 25th respectively. I called Dell once or twice a day, was transferred several times each call, again – repeating my order #’s and my situation to every representative only to be transferred again – until it was inaudible due to terrible call quality after so many transfers.

    I called again today, finally talked to someone at Dell and they gave me a fourth order # for my order, so now I have one canceled order number and three other numbers for the same single order with no detail as to what/when/where they are.

    During this time I sent at least 12 emails to Customer Service and Customer Care as well as Missing Orders and have had NO replies, not one.

    • Wow! this is rather unbelievable! what i can tell you is that since you ordered a PRECISION, it falls under a different team (not consumer) that processes your online order – i hope you documented this nightmare and send an official email to michael dell ! We often have customers escalating complaints to michael dell himself and it sure does make things goes faster in the office!

  10. Dear Sir,

    My name is Nurmi Dalila. I was the lover of the brand for Dell. Dell is a world-class brands in the world and known. Two months ago, I purchased a Dell mobile phone Streak at Sen-Q, The Mines. I was surprised and disappointed that the phone has had four times the damage, including right now. Where the value of products and services you offer? I also have been embarrassed to send back to the Sen-Q for 4 times and wait two weeks to be repaired by the warehouse. I’d like to switch to the new or I will report to consumer department.

  11. I am still a technical support for DELL,and previously supporting precision products, as i browse thru this blog and someone just drop by a comment and that catches my attention

    Customers are always welcome to check through DELL support website for more information, as I know there are various toll free numbers for reaching the tech guys,trust me,the old numbers are still existing,and toll free numbers seldom will be changed,indeed more numbers are adding in due to additional products

    FYI,try check this website out and it may helps u guys a lot

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