We all know about 'Dell Hell', and Dell's infamous 'we don't respond to bloggers' reply to the blogging firestorm that Jeff Jarvis unleashed on his blog in response to what he felt was crappy customer service from Dell. Since that time back in 2005, Dell has gone from cautiously entering the blogosphere, to completely embracing bloggers in our space.
The transformation hasn't been lost on Jarvis, who just penned an excellent piece for Business Week on how Dell has mended its image with bloggers. At his own blog, Jarvis adds:
After giving Dell hell two years ago, I may well be accused of throwing them a wet kiss now. It’s a positive piece. But it’s hard not to praise them when they ended up doing everything I was pushing in my open letter to Michael Dell. I’m not saying that I caused that, just that we ended up agreeing and they ended up seeing the value in listening to and ceding control to customers. They reached out to bloggers; they blogged; they found ways to listen to and follow the advice of their customers. They joined the conversation. That’s all we asked.
It IS all we asked. We ask the same of many companies, and many companies have yet to hear us as Dell has. This is the real reason why we bloggers come down so hard on companies like Spirit that commit such social media blunders. Because we hope that this will serve as the wake-up call that will prompt these companies to re-examine how these tools, which they have obviously ignored, can help them better understand their customers and in turn improve their business processes.
BTW an interesting side-note to this post. I received an email recently from Paul van Veenendaal at The Viral Blog. I hadn't heard of the blog yet, but it only started a few weeks ago and looks to be growing fairly rapidly. What I noticed in checking the blog was that Paul had written this post about how Dell is reaching out to customers via IdeaStorm and StudioDell. But notice who left the first comment, Dell's John Pope. That might be the biggest sign that Dell truly 'gets' social media.
BTW in true bloggy disclaimer fashion, I feel I should mention that I have talked to John and the gang at Dell a few times about their blog and social media strategy. Then again, that doesn't really put me in very exclusive company, as John and Richard Binhammer are constantly reaching out to bloggers and engaging us, both online and offline. Which is another sign of how the company has gone from rags to riches in the blogosphere.
UPDATE: Lionel announces more connections between Dell's company blog and its IdeaStorm community.
Tags:The Viral Garden, Marketing, Social Media, Dell