Thursday, December 9, 2010

Dell Computers … Staggering Incompetence … *updated*

image Dell … the power to do more? Seriously?

More like the power to torture the customer. Read on …
I saw a nice monitor last night on their site, a 21.5” IPS widescreen that was on sale from $319 down to $189cad … a terrific price for an IPS monitor.

After trying for about 20 minutes to figure out how to buy this monitor with my Dell Preferred Account, I gave up. I called their sales department and was told that they were closed (HUH? – who closes in the evening near Christmas? Apparently, Dell do.)

Steaming … I waited until I had a few moments this afternoon and checked out the monitor again, and the sale was over. (Dang it!) I thought I might try the sales department though, since they should have a record of my attempt to purchase last night and might be able to offer me the monitor at last night’s price. It never hurts to ask.

Or does it?

My first call into Dell took about 5 minutes to wind through their most annoying gauntlet and I finally got to speak to a salesperson. He asked my for a previous order number in order to obtain my preferred account information and everything seemed to be ticking along once I gave it to him. I mention the monitor sale last night and the fact that the sale seems to have ended today. Can I get last night’s price?

He puts me on hold to do whatever magic they do when you ask for some special treatment (which at Dell apparently means the right to spend your money at all) and suddenly I was hearing the opening IVR prompts again.

I now have to start all over. That’s quite annoying.

I finally get to the lady of the 4 questions and I interrupt her and mention that I was bounced and could she hook me back up to the guy I was just speaking with. She transfers me into a sales queue and I hook up with someone else. No matter … we start over.

After about 5 minutes, he realizes that I must be from the wrong country. She had bounced me into the American queue without asking me her special routing questions (Dell’s system is so incompetent that it requires a human operator in the middle to avoid swapping Canadians and Americans into the wrong queue. Yet I have visited the American queue 3 times in the past weeks.)

He bounces me to the Canadian sales queue, but really he gets me to the girl of four questions yet again. After we negotiate my right to exist, she transfers me to the Canadian queue.

He answers and I immediately ask “first off, an I in the Canadian queue?” and he immediately puts me on hold to transfer me again. Sheesh.

An apparent Canadian salesperson finally picks up, I give him my order number and my request and he puts me on hold one more time. He comes on a moment later and says “my apologies.” I an surprised and reply “ok … for what?”

And the line goes completely dead.

It’s Christmas … I want a specific Dell monitor that I came within a whisker of buying last night, only to be thwarted by Dell’s awful online system that wants me to open new preferred accounts when I already have one. And today I speak to four sales people all over North America, and not one of them can keep me safely on the line longer than 3 minutes …

I give up. I think I will have to buy a Viewsonic from … driving to Ogdensburg to pick it up takes less time than trying to get Dell to take your money. What a gong show …

Update: Ok … the next week, Dell had the big brother to that monitor on sale. A 23 inch U2311H eIPS panel. It tests very well and is one of the better implementations of the new breed of IPS monitors that are constrained to the sRGB gamut. Being color blind, I can’t really play in wide gamut printing successfully, so I am forced to concentrate on tone while leaving color to fairly mechanical procedures. But I am tired of having my larger monitor be a cheap TN panel. That sucker is being retired to get hooked up to my HD cable box as the bedroom TV. A simple and cheap sound system (boom box) is all I need to complete it.

So anyway … I called Dell this time, as their online system is inscrutable for preferred account members. Things went smoothly, although very slowly. Turns out that they ask for the same info as online, i.e. there is no streamlining in their system, anywhere. Sheesh …

As soon as the order was entered, they set the projected ship date to the 30th of December. Well after Christmas. WTF? It’s a fricken monitor …. there is nothing to build. Of course, I received a “shipped” notice only 3 days later, and the projected delivery date was now set to the 30th. Is it riding horseback?

This is my point … the company that was built on fast fulfillment is now the lamest company in the business. Slow ordering system that makes so many mistakes you are left stunned. No ability to project ship dates. No ability to track -- click on it and you get the same numbers you always got. No tracking number of the first phase … maybe a tracking number once it gets to Canada. Amazon has no such issues … Dell could learn a thing or two from them. Boooo …. hissssss ….

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