The “Good” - figuring out that listening to your customers (really listening, not just holding focus groups) makes good business sense.
I’ve been a Dell customer for years, and have also used Dell products at several companies. I’ve had mainly good experiences as a consumer but have listened first hand to the trials and tribulations of my IT department as they tried to deal with Dell service issues and got nowhere since Dell wasn't really listening. I’ve also been a Dell shareholder but sold all my shares a couple years ago … not because of any deep financial analysis but simply because of a gut feeling that they had lost their edge. That premonition seems to have been true since HP has outsold them for the last couple of quarters.
So, when I
read about Dell's new program in Lewis Green’s blog bizsolutionsplus I was impressed to see they finally realized that they need to listen to
their customers criticisms. Check
out the official announcement on Dells’ blog.
IdeaStorm enables customers to post ideas and issues that they want Dell to address. Then the entire user community can vote on the ideas. The ones with the most votes rise to the top and then hopefully are addressed by Dell engineers. As a marketer I love this win/win approach. Dell gets immediate market research and lets customers set their priorities. Customers get their biggest issues fixed. They better, because if this is just a PR gimmick then Dell will really have a mess on their hands.
StudioDell allows customers to post their videos of how they use Dell products. A good idea that certainly helps Dell gather
market research and marketing testimonials but not quite as rewarding for
customers as IdeaStorm.
As we all know, PCs are pretty much commodities these days (as evidenced by the dozens of identical machines in the Sunday paper circulars). So this is a great first step by Dell in trying to re-establish differentiation by listening to customers and delivering better products and better service than the competition.