thoughts/ideas/opinions from scott hodge

Monday, February 2


I emailed Michael Dell tonight. Yes, the CEO & founder of Dell Computers - that Michael Dell. I wrote him to tell him how turned off I am by the customer support response that I've gotten that last couple of years when calling. I've held off for a long time thinking that it might get better, but tonight my call into Dell turned into the straw that broke the camel's back.

I called for 2 reasons: 1) The small rubber thingies on the bottom of my new laptop fell off and my computer became lopsided and now slides around on my desk while I'm typing, and 2) My battery went from lasting 5-6 hours to about 2 hours (if even that...).

So, I made a call to Dell customer support and after being on hold for a considerable amount of time, ended up being "helped" (word used lightly...) by an individual who spoke very little English and was VERY difficult to understand. Not only did I have to ask him to repeat himself numerous times, but I also had to repeat myself several times. (an "accent" is one thing - even a STRONG accent is fine - but this was beyond both of those...)

After arguing with the support "tech" about the battery issue for almost 45 minutes he finally decided to send me out a new battery to see if that would take care of the problem. His opinion was that the battery life I was experiencing was accurate and that most batteries don't usually last for more than 2 hours. This makes absolutely NO sense - especially considering the fact the SAME battery in this SAME computer was lasting 5-6 hours for the first 2 months that I owned the computer!

About an hour later I was driving with my family through a snow storm and my cell phone rang and it was the "tech". He told me that he needed to know the bar code numbers off of my current battery. I told him that I was driving in several inches of snow and asked him to email me the info that he needed and I would send him whatever he needs. This confused him immensely.

After trying to explain to him what "email" means I decided to pull the car over and get my laptop out of my bag and read the numbers off. So that's exactly what I did.

18 minutes later I was still repeating the numbers to him. He would read the numbers back and they would be wrong EVERY TIME.

I will give him this - it may have been hard for him to hear what I was saying since my wife was yelling in the background, "TELL HIM YOU WANT TO SPEAK TO SOMEONE WHO SPEAKS ENGLISH" and "MAYBE HE DOESN'T KNOW WHAT A SNOWSTORM IS!"

Finally, several minutes later he got the numbers right and told me "drive safely."

So I finally put my laptop away, put the car in drive and my 4 year old daughter Elise says, "Mom, why can't dad speak English in the snowstorm??"

We laughed.