It is said that, for awhile, Dell had lost its way. That is had strayed from its core value of listening to its customers by dealing directly with them and not building a PC until it was ordered.
First it was the botched implementation of outsourcing customer support. Customers had problems understanding the English as a second language that the foreign representatives used. Even when you could understand what was being said, the representative appeared to merely be reading from a prepared script that was designed not to provide any support. This led to the phrase “Dell Hell.”
Then it was reliability problems with laptop batteries. Although Dell was by no means the only ones hit by this, it was probably the one most impacted by it.
But then Dell came back with blogs centered on listening to its customers by creating an opportunity to enter into conversations. Customers responded and let it know what was wrong.
Last month Dell reverted to pre-loading Windows XP, in place of the device driver starved Vista, in response to its customers demanding that their PCs actually be able to do useful work. What a concept (both the listening and that PCs should be able to help customers do work).
Another of these conversations led to the recent announcement that Dell is to install Ubuntu 7.04 on some of its consumer laptops. This is great news for customers because Dell will need to provide the drivers for things such as wireless access, modems, and other peripherals that heretofore have not been officially supported. This support will allow customers to, now wait for it, get work done using an operating system more to their liking.
Although it may be too soon to say that Dell has turned the corner, especially with competition coming on strong from, (hawk, spit) HP. But it appears that Dell is at least at the end of the beginning, if not the beginning of the end of its problems.