The Dell HELL Experience
How can blogs help during crisis situations? Here’s a case study that would prove the importance of new social media in today’s organizations.
What happened at Dell?
Dell failed to deliver customer service promises. Jeff Jarvis blogged about Dell’s shortcomings. Dell failed to address in public the mistakes they have committed. Then it became hell for Dell.
What Dell did next?
1. Invested an additional $150m to improve customer service.
2. Launched an official Dell customer service blog and two other social media sites “Dell Studio” and “IdeaStorm”
IdeaStorm hosts online brainstorming sessions on Dell products and invites insights from people about the products and services offered by Dell while Studio Dell is where people can share Dell-related videos. At IdeaStorm, one can view all posted ideas, post his/ her own ideas, promote or demote ideas and see his/her own ideas in action.
At first people were critical about the step Dell took.
“The subtitle is ‘direct conversations with Dell’
but this is as much a conversation as yelling at
a brick wall. There is not one link there. It’s filled
with promotions for Dell’s wonderfulness.”
– Jeff Jarvis
With the initial criticisms, Dell assured people that they are actually listening to what they have to say.
Social Media in Action
1. When Dell’s blog was launched, a serious issue emerged. Because of an exploding laptop, Dell was forced to announce product recall and because of the company blog the recall process became easier. Dell was able to calm people down by announcing what they are already doing regarding the issue. The blog also provided an avenue for Dell to address the concerns brought by that exploding incident.
2. IdeaStorm has also been successful in promoting stakeholder democracy. One incident was when Dell preserved the option of XP despite the original plan of having Vista because of a suggestion in IdeaStorm which was agreed by almost 14, 000 members of the community.
Was Dell’s social media strategy effective?
A study showed that after months of having blogs and other social media sites as the customers’ platform for expression, perceptions about Dell improved and complaints decreased. Of course this would not happen if Dell only allowed comments to be expressed without them acting on these comments.
At first, Dell was not able to listen very well that’s why the problem became worse to the point of attracting so many bloggers and people online.
2. Assure people that you are listening.
It’s difficult for a customer to feel that he/ she is being listened to, especially by a huge organization such as Dell. That’s why it is the organization’s duty to tell customers that “Hey we’re here and we’re listening.”
3. Respond immediately.
How an organization responds to crises is very crucial for its reputation because it shows how it values customers and their perceptions. Organizations should not take customer concerns for granted because customers are the ones in control, as what Jeff Jarvis said. An immediate response is necessary and also crucial, that’s why organizations should carefully plan what they will say in response.
4. Admit mistakes
Pride and being defensive will only worsen things. If it’s your mistake, admit it.
5. Act on it.
After assuring people that you’re listening and after informing them of what the company will do about their concerns, do what you need to do. You don’t want people telling the world that your company is just trying to put up a good image by managing online reputation without actually translating these attempts into action.
6. Take advantage of the NSM.
Analyze what type of social media will best address the problems at hand. There are a lot of SNSs out there but not everything will work well with the kind of crisis the organization has. Strategize.
It is equally important to engage people via the available social media even there’s no crisis at hand. Would you wait for a crisis to happen before you welcome New Social Media in your organization? Well, it’s up to you.