Dell’s Steve Schuckenbrock Discusses Customer Service (Sort of)

(Note: This interview was done by ComputerWorld. Schuckenbrock was CIO of Dell at the time of the interview).

This interview of Steve Schuckenbrock is interesting for what it does NOT contain. Though Schuckenbrock talks about their past problems and likely causes, he fails on several counts as he addresses a huge customer service problem for Dell.

Watch the short interview and see what you think is missing.

What do you think he should have said that he didn’t? (Let me know using the COMMENT form below.)Here are my thoughts:

1. He failed to apologize for the problems.

Even though he admitted they made mistakes and these mistakes caused problems for their customers, he never APOLOGIZED for the problems. In fact, his response was defensive. “I don’t agree with you” was the first thing out of his mouth. As a customer, I would want an apology.

2.  He didn’t tell us what Dell’s customers think.

Although he cited their recent ranking from a research company showing how great their service is, he never told us what their own customers think. Too many companies rely too much on third party organizations to tell them how they’re doing. Direct feedback from customers is better than what comes from third party organizations. Because only customers really know what customers really think about a company.

3.  He never committed to doing better.

He talked about the mistakes they made. He discussed corrections they’ve implemented. But he never directly said Dell is committed to providing better service to their consumers and small business customers. As a customer, I want to know you are committed to serving me better, if I’ve had problems with your service in the past. That’s how you persuade me to stick with you.

4.  He does not indicate how they have engaged customers in fixing the problem.

Contrary to what some executives and managers believe, customers are a great resource. They know exactly how you do business. Because of this they can help you fix problems when they occur. And many customers want to help. But you have to ask them and you have to make it convenient and easy. Respect your customer’s knowledge and opinion.

Service recovery is a great way to build customer loyalty. But you have to do it well. And that means, apologizing, committing to doing better and engaging your customers more. If your solutions ignore your customers then they’re not solutions. They’re future problems waiting to happen.

The article was written by Kevin Stirtz