June 04, 2007

DELL Hell 3: Calling Manilla It took me 28 minutes of torturous conversation with Dax and 7 automated menus to get a replacement black ink cartridge for my A960 printer. And while somebody somewhere at DELL has factored the idea that X number of parts are defective or fail, no one has cued the people who interact with customers. The first challenge was getting through a series of menus. Laughably, one recorded message suggested I go online and do a Live Chat session -- ha! Seven layers deep -- somewhere around customer support, non-technical issues -- I hit a segue which was signaled by two beeps, 8 seconds of Muzak and a tentative greeting by someone with a discernable accent and a tenuous grip on reality. I explained my problem: I got a bad cartridge and want a credit or replacement. Dax insisted on getting my printer tag number. When I asked what my printer tag number had to do with a defective ink cart he read me some techno-blab and claimed that knowing this number would provide me with the "best possible solution." I demurred saying that knowing the printer tag had nothing to do with replacing my ink. I held my ground and evidently stumped the band. Dax backed off. Then I heard a million clicks and beeps as Dax worked his way through the screens and bitched about how his system wouldn't take his data. All the while he was reading me pat phrases, even though during the 15 full minutes of processing I wasn't sure he was even there as I yelled "hello" into the phone. If this is the turnaround in customer engagement and expedited service that Michael Dell is talking about -- fuggedaboutit.

Danny Flamberg

I am a veteran marketing consultant working with leading and emerging brands

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