Dell tries to redeem itself
One company that got social media woefully wrong is Dell. The company's customer service and product reliability has gone steadily down hill in recent years. Type "Dell tech support" into Google and you'll see thousands of negative posts.
When blogger Jeff Jarvis started blogging about being in "Dell Hell" because of problems with a Dell laptop, the company did not respond. Nor did they respond to my protestations about the lemon desktop they sold me, or to the posts by scores of other bloggers. Eventually, mainstream media and Wall Street took note of Dell's problems, which led to financial losses.
"No comment" is a fine phrase for royalty, criminals and celebrities, but not so great for corporations that have a responsibility to shareholders, clients and consumers.
Finally, Dell launched the Dell One2One blog and proceeded to write about Dell products and ignore the customer service issues. Bloggers pointed out that One2One was actually a porn site, and so Dell changed the name of the much-derided blog to Direct2Dell. And, after scathing reviews by bloggers, lo and behold, Dell finally agreed to address customer service issues and try to make things right.
Almost immediately the exploding laptop battery issue, well, exploded. And because they already had a way to converse with customers -- and their competitors who had to recall their laptop batteries did not -- Dell actually may have come out ahead.
Dell's problems continue, but the company has made great strides and has recently launched the collaborative community Dell Idea Storm [http://www.dellideastorm.com/], which asks customers for their ideas about Dell products and service and then explains how those ideas will be put into effect, and when.
Dell Idea Storm
Whether this move comes too late remains to be seen, but it's surely proof positive that the online community will be heard one way or another.