|Dell had the bad luck to tick off a very powerful blogger. The company is justly known for its fantastic customer service. But any time you engage in tens of millions of customer contacts, there are bound to be errors. It was Dell’s misfortune that one of those errors affected a person with a huge megaphone, blogger Jeff Jarvis. Jarvis’ blow-by-blow account of his Dell hell has become an Internet phenomenon.|
Sorry, I don’t buy it. Set aside the idea that Dell is “justly known” for great service. Known to whom? This sounds like boilerplate from an analyst’s report or the company’s own marketing literature. I’ve never bought a Dell computer. But in my circles and reading — an admittedly totally subjective smattering of hearsay, but what else does “known for” mean? — Dell is known for being a giant corporation that hands over its customer service to bored, ill-treated, underpaid people desperate to move on to better jobs.
Still, that’s not really the point. Maybe you have a circle of friends who have all had peachy-keen customer-support experiences with their Dell boxes. The point is, Jarvis’s experience was not a fluke; if it had been, his tale would never have made waves.
Gross is wrong because what gave Jarvis’s complaint wasn’t the size of the blogger’s megaphone — it was the chord of recognition his message struck with his readers. If Jarvis started bitching about Dell and his experience really represented a statistically insignificant lapse in an otherwise exemplary service record, then Jarvis’s readers would have stepped in and said, “Jeff, stop whining, it’s too bad you had a bad experience but we all love Dell! Dell’s done great by us!”
Instead, a lot of people read Jarvis’s account and said, “You know, that sounds familiar.”