From Hell to Heaven in one email

You have heard the stats about how 1 annoyed customer will tell 7 others?

Well, I told 80. As it goes with bad service and outright systemic stupidity, I regaled my MBAs at MGSM with the story of Dell Hell. It started when a major blogger in the US used his blog to slam Dell for their poor response to his problem. (Read Jeff Jarvis’s tale here.)


Back story: My Dell Hell




  • Bought a laptop from Dell some 9 months ago.

  • Wife drops laptop – shatters screen.

  • Call Dell, they quote me $2,500 to repair.

  • I rant & rave and tell them how ridiculous that is when I bought the laptop for $1200.


I used this as an example of how very large successful companies don’t ’get’ marketing.


Unbeknownst to me, I had a Dell employee in the class. He took it upon himself to investigate and took great pride to report back the following week on what should have happened. I then received a flurry of emails and a phone call from Dell. I was quoted about $500 or $600 or thereabouts to have screen replaced – and an extended warranty. I was assured that I wasn’t being given any special treatment or price – and I then agreed to have the screen replaced.




  • Two days later, technician arrives, replaces screen.

  • Follow-up email and survey.


The Present: Dell Heaven


The battery life has been a bit suspect, but with the laptop being out of action for several months and when used, it was only for short stints and usually on AC power. I have been meaning to have it fixed, but somehow don’t get around to it.




  • Get email reminder that the warranty will be expiring soon.

  • Phone Dell and report that battery lasts less than 1 hour.

  • Replacement battery delivered the following day.

  • Included was a pre-paid, addressed courier satchel to return faulty product.

  • Next day, I receive this email. (Note the tone, content, and even the ‘bumf’ at the bottom…)


Good day Dennis,


How’s it going, mate? This is a quick email to enquire whether the case reported on April 14th 2008 involving the replacement battery has been resolved to your satisfaction.


If it has, do I have your agreement to close this case from my end?


At the same time, do let me know whether the faulty part has been collected?


If there is anything else I can assist you with, please do not hesitate to contact me.


Thank you and have a pleasant day.


Warmest Regards



Lim Haan-Yu

Technical Support Analyst


Global Commercial Support Services


Australia toll-free 1-800-633-559


New Zealand toll-free 0-800-444-617


Support website http://support.ap.dell.com/


Email: haan_yu_lim [at] dell [dot] com


How am I doing? Email my manager at Kelly_Yeap [at] dell [dot] com


Dell is committed in delivering the best Customer Experience to its customers. You may be randomly selected to receive an online survey from us. We would very much appreciate you taking the time to provide us your feedback on this interaction so that we can ensure we deliver the level of service that earns us your loyalty

Good service is so rare, that it worth celebrating the all too rare opportunities when it is excellent. It is even more necessary when commentators (such as yours truly) have slammed the organisation previously, that, when they get it right, to be ‘big’ enough to tell the other side.