In a not too distant past Dell was king of the hill, at least when it came to computer hardware. I still remember their old one page ads on the backs of PC magazines taunting Compaq and bragging about their cheaper prices. Dell was unstoppable and its stock was a reflection of how rapidly this company grew to become the favorite destination of many PC buyers. Some might even believe that the decline of Gateway came as a result of Dell's efficiency. There were also a number of years that Dell and Compaq (later acquired by HP) were locked in heated battle of who has shipped the most PC's. Dell is still a powerhouse, but HP wasn't about to lay down its arms and surrender.
Because I am programmer somehow people believe I can give good advice on buying a PC or laptop. I used to keep things simple and tell them to shop Dell. But the other day when my wife asked me to help her choose a laptop, I just flat didn’t even mention Dell. I checked out HP, Toshiba, and IBM (Lenovo) but didn't even bother with Dell. Then I wondered why.
Dell has been getting quite a string of bad press lately. Perhaps the worst was the Laptop battery fiasco. But the bad news also involved their poor customer service. Bad press leads to a bad image and it's hard to battle back. Redemption takes a lot of work and patience. But for me Dell's tarnished image goes beyond the bad press. It's based on first-hand experience I've had with their servers where I work. I have had a number of problems with their servers I manage for my company. We have been plagued with bad parts and faulty firmware for quite some time. Dell's customer service has been relatively responsive, but dealing with so many headaches has left a bad taste in my mouth and while their consumer products might not suffer from the same problems, the Dell logo has lost a lot of its appeal for me.
So we finally settled for an HP laptop. Of course when I tried to place the order online, the order wouldn’t go through and I was forced to call the HP customer service to finish the transaction. Calling customer service meant being transferred to an Indian call center. These guys aim to please, but heavy accents abound and a quick call turns into a long conversation punctuated by a number of "what?" and "Can you repeat that?" This is by no means exclusive to HP. That's an economic reality firmly proven to me when I called my calling card company a few hours later to report a problem. But that's a different topic. We'll see how the HP laptop, preloaded with Windows Vista, works out when it arrives in a few days.
dell,hp,laptop,call center,customer service,ibm,toshiba,servers,pc