So Dell’s been getting pretty bad rep when it comes to customer service and it’s stock got hammered as a result. Even though they’ve taken measures to fix that, the perception is still somewhat tainted. Well, recently, I bought a Dell monitor to increase my productivity so I thought I’d blog about my experience as it was somewhat unique.

I decided to purchase the widescreen LCD through an employee purchase program. My employer is a Dell partner so Dell offers a discount for us. Fair enough. I quickly searched the net to see if there’s a coupon for it as Dell’s always running a promotion. I found one for $45 off and thought – sweet – employee purchase discount AND $45 off. So I went to the employee purchase portal and tried to order the monitor and apply the coupon. I could not get the coupon to work, but needed to monitor so I went ahead and bought it anyways. I tried to call customer service, but it was already too late so I waited till the next day.

So I call Dell customer service and explained my situation to the lady on the phone. This is what she tells me. The coupon was meant only for Dell Home and Home Business and not employee portal. Well, I’m not sure how I was supposed to know that but whatever, had I known that I would have taken the course of action that would have offered me the most savings. She was not helpful at all. She recommended that I should RETURN the monitor as soon as I get it to receive my credit back, and then REPURCHASE the monitor through Dell Home with the coupon (which also comes with free shipping btw). I said, lady – do you realize what you’re saying? You’re gonna lose money on the coupon AND ship the exact same monitor to me for free. Does that make good business sense or even common sense? She said, there’s nothing she could do to help and that was the only option if I wanted the coupon. At this point I thought wow – either they’ve got really stupid employees who have no common sense or their policies are so stupid that it serves them right that they’re doing so bad as a company. I was ready to blog about them and add yet another scathing review of their customer service.

Well, being Asian (and cheap) I still wanted to save that $45 so I called Dell customer service again. This time I got another person. I explained the situation to him and did not mention my terrible experience with the previous Dell rep. This guy was the exact opposite. He understood the unique situation, didn’t know how to resolve it, but he was gonna try his best to see that I get the discount. He asked me to hold for a few while he got a hold of someone who could handle this. Once it was clear that he couldn’t he asked for my number and said he’ll do some research and get back to me. He calls me up later to give me an update saying that it looks like he should be able to apply the coupon towards my purchase and that I should see the charge back in a couple of days. Sure enough, I get an email from Dell days later saying that I got a refund. The next day after, the same guy calls me up to ask if I did indeed get my refund and if everything was OK. I told him it was great and that I was very pleased with it. I was pretty happy with the guy and it’s people like him that make the difference.

The sad thing is, this is how it was supposed to be in the first place. There was a time when you drove to the gas station that there would be attendants who would wipe your windshield, pump your gas, fill your tires and generally just take care of you. Sadly, nowadays, the mighty dollar man is all about saving pennies at the cost of customer service. What they don’t realize is that consumers will just go somewhere else.

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