Friday, March 03, 2006

I get David Pogue's "Circuits" column. It's one of the best email columns I get and I think everyone who is exposed in any way to technology (so, everyone!) should get it and at least glance at it.

This week's column focused on feedback from last week's column, which provided a very humorous and -- dare I say accurate -- run down on Dell Tech Support.

What makes this particular column blogworthy, was Dell PR's response to the original column:
"The decision by the New York Times to distribute a one-sided guest column with disrespectful language toward our Dell team in other parts of the world without contacting us is bad news judgment at best," wrote VP....
As a PR & marketing guy, I can't help but wonder how this VP got her job! Why, as technology company, would you email an influential technology columnists at one of the largest daily newspapers in the country with a combative, argumentative note. Did she not know it would be reprinted? Did she honestly think this would change David's mind and he would print a glowing rebuttal to his own column?

Better would be to call David. Talk with him and discuss your company's issues with the piece in a professional manner. By starting and maintaining a respectful dialogue, David would be more inclined to give you a ring the next time he's about to write about Dell.

What would have happened if that flack (Yes, I used that term, some in our business deserve it) had called David and said, "Yes we know our phone support sounds scripted, it's our opinion that that helps all of our Tech Support People attack a problem in the same, methodical manner, providing better service in the long run. We are also aware that this can sometimes be annoying to customers and we are working on ways to improve the overall experience for all customers. In fact, this year alone, our complaints have been reduced by 30 percent, so while there is still work to be done, we are heading in the right direction."

I've read a lot of David's columns over the years, and I can tell you that this week's column would have looked differently and most likely would have been better for Dell. Of course, all this supposes that Dell really is improving Support Services all the time ( I hope, I hope, I hope (I own a Dell...)), and that things really are getting better.