16 May 2005

Not impressed with Dell's customer service today

When I bought my current Dell laptop a year ago, there was a problem with the order (the website failed to complete processing it), so I had to phone their customer service and get it sorted out. I was very happy with the service I got; it was fast and polite, and I could understand the accent of the person serving me. Today's experience was far less positive. After checking the website each day for several days to see if the order was being processed, and finding no record of my order at all, I had to phone today. (The web site says that once one's credit card payment is approved, then the order will be listed online. The fact that it wasn't there suggested a credit card problem... possibly I'd typed something in wrong.) So I phoned and listened to the recitation of "to do x, press 1; to do y, press 2, etc" twice without finding a choice that seemed to fit my problem. I finally picked something that sounded logical, and listened to music and advertisements for a long time before a person answered my call. Alas, the person's accent was almost unintelligible to me (I assume from the accent that the help desk is somewhere in India), but after I explained my problem, he said he was the wrong person to be talking to, and he would transfer me to the right person. After another long wait I got a different person (with a slightly more comprehensible accent) who also insisted he was the wrong person for me to be talking to, but he would transfer me to the right person. Another long wait (good thing it's a toll-free number, and I was prepared with a cup of tea and some snacks), and I got a woman who I could actually understand... who first said that she was the wrong person for me to talk to -- at which point I said rather sharply that I had been transferred twice and was getting a bit tired of this. She then claimed that all was well with my order even though it wasn't listed on the website. I argued, and insisted that she check the status of my order. She seemed aggrieved to have to go to that effort (being the wrong person for me to talk to), but apparently she did, because... Well, golly gosh, what a surprise -- my credit card payment had not been approved. Why not? I inquired. Don't know, but I'll fix it, she said. So there was something wrong, I said, and isn't it good I asked you to check? Mumble, mumble was the response. An hour or so later, my order is listed on the website, just like it should have been 4 days ago. I hope that call was recorded for purposes of quality control and training, like the recorded message at the beginning warns you it might be.