A few readers weighed in to dig a bit deeper into the rock-bottom ranking Dell got in Forrester's annual "Customer Experience Index 2010: PC Manufacturers" that I covered in "How does your PC manufacturer rate?"
Gripe Line reader Bill told of two wildly different experiences he had with Dell support. One of these experiences, in which his issue was never resolved despite a lot of polite but annoying questions and silly solutions, was handled by Dell's support in India. Bill was so unimpressed with that experience that the next machine he bought was an iMac. But later, he picked up a Dell business laptop at Costco, and when he had some problems with that machine, the support fell to a Dell support center in the United States.
"The people in the U.S. were much more competent," Bill says. "The first person I spoke to worked with me for two hours before apologizing and suggesting we reinstall Windows. I believe he did everything possible before suggesting this, and that it was indeed the only solution. I have had very little problem with this computer since."
Bill suggests that Dell could make tremendous improvements in its customer satisfaction ratings simply by routing the people who need a higher level of support straight to these teams in the United States.
Gripe Line reader Harvey wrote to say that getting routed to the right support team is already an option -- albeit one that will cost some green. But Harvey believes this is money well spent.
"I certainly agree that support is dismal in general," he writes. "But I think it's worth noting that Dell offers two different levels of support: Basic and Pro. I'm willing to bet that a large majority of the people who rated Dell support poorly chose the Basic Support option. I am a computer consultant, and as part of my service, I recommend and set up systems for my clients. I always recommend Dell Pro Support."
At Dell's Website, there's plenty of information on how this customizable support offering works, as well as some educational podcasts if you prefer to kick back, listen, and learn. The gist, though, is that the support you choose -- and pay for -- is based around who is using the system, not the machine that the person is using.