Blogosphere, I present to you a happily resolved customer service issue:
On the left, Old And Busted. On the right, New Hotness (MIB reference-nod to TSM). Let me 'splain, as best I can, how this miracle of corporate responsiveness came about. You may already know what's coming, but I had no idea, so for the other three people out there who might be likewise in the dark, this is for you.
Within hours of my first post mentioning a problem with our laptop, I received an email bearing the subject line, "Problems with your Dell computer." It was short and sweet, and seemed too good to be true:
I am a customer advocate at Dell headquarters in Texas. I read your Blogspot post about having to send your Dell computer back to the repair depot a second time. I wanted to get with you to make sure we get things taken care of. If you can send me the service tag for the computer or a reference number for one of the services and I can pull up all the notes and see what options I have available. If you have any questions for me I will be more than happy to answer them.
I look forward to hearing back from you,
Dell Customer Advocate
OK, stop right here, before I admit that I thought this was probably bogus, because you're all smarter and more internet-savvy than me, and would not suspect that Larry was actually a Nigerian scam artist who was going to somehow empty my bank accounts and ruin my credit-rating by getting hold of my Dell service tag number. Shut up. And yes, one of two very simple things would have settled the question immediately: A Google search (DUH) or checking my own site's traffic report. What I actually did was to kind of blow Larry off, and ask around. No one I spoke to had heard of anything like this, though most people said it "seemed harmless."
So a few days later, when I griped online again, in a bare mention tacked onto the end of this post, I immediately got another very polite email from Larry, again offering to help. This time, I thought (because I am clever like that) I'd just find out if Larry was for real, and asked for a phone number and extension at Dell...to which he responded by offering to call ME. To which I responded by saying to myself, "AHA! He won't get me that easily! I didn't just fall off the turnip truck, Larry!" I wrote back pretty much implying that I was onto him, and no way was I giving out any information without knowing who I was dealing with. BOY, did I tell him. Ahem.
And as it turns out, I was still ON the turnip truck, because Larry very politely answered that my position was perfectly understandable, and provided the main customer service number at Dell, along with his direct extension. By this time, it had occurred to me to Google the phrase "Dell customer advocate," which I should have done in the first place. If I had, I'd have found numerous articles about this program, and this one in particular, from Dell's own blog, that addressed the very issue I'd had with "stranger danger" apprehension about being approached out of the blue by someone offering to solve a problem. Because honestly, how often does THAT happen? Also at that link, you get to see (and hear) our hero, Larry, in the flesh (and voice) on a video clip! Go, Larry! He's the quiet one of the bunch, but he gets the first and last word in that clip.
So once all THAT was out of the way, Larry got right down to solving our problem. And we were positively bowled over with the speed and efficiency and fairness of his work. When one thing wasn't available, he'd upgrade to the next better thing (I know you love that technical lingo), until finally, because of the uniqueness of our problem and some particulars of our repair history with Dell (seriously, our laptop was whacked), we wound up with a new replacement computer, upgraded from the model we'd had before, because that model wasn't available at the time, and Larry didn't want to make us wait. I'm here to tell you, we had Larry earning his paycheck in dealing with us, because we seemed to have one issue after another, and while he had us our new computer inside of a week, we weren't able to send our old one back to Dell for more than twice that long. (We had to figure out how to transfer our many programs and files from one unit to the other, which was complicated by the fact that the old was unit running Windows XP and the newer one came with Vista. Hint--it involves ordering a special magic cord. For real.)
So now, we are humming right along in computerland, and as you can see from the picture above, we got everything transferred over to the new 'puter, right down to my Huey Freeman wallpaper. Larry even made sure that I got the same faux burled cherrywood cover on the new 'puter that I had on the old one. Between the upgrade and the not having to type with one hand while holding a power cord in the other any more, this new laptop is like a bionic version of the previous one. THANK YOU, LARRY.
As for Windoze Vista: Not a fan. It has a lot of new bells and whistles, true, but anything I needed? No way. Plus, a lot of the new features--heck, most of them--actually clutter up my internet/computing experience and get in the way. It doesn't seem to want to play nice with Mozilla Firefox right out of the gate, but having been told firmly by Alex that this is the way things are going to be, browser-wise, seems to have settled down on that count. And it only took me ONE session of using Vista's "new and improved" Internet Explorer to know beyond a doubt that I LOVE FIREFOX. Never leave me, Firefox.
That Mac commercial, where the PC has the Secret-Service looking guy interrupting him every 5 seconds asking him if he really wants to do what he's trying to do? Totally not an exaggeration. Constant pop-up windows are everywhere, and you have to spend a lot of time turning things off. Software designers and computer manufacturers would make everything easier on us if they'd just send us the units stripped down to the bare basics, along with optional programs on disks, so that we could install only what we WANT, rather than going through the headache of having to figure out how to uninstall what we DON'T want.
Consider this a Love Thursday post. We love Larry. All right, it's not your typical LT fare, but seriously, he brought some happiness and relief into our lives during a very frustrating time.
And that's not for nothing.
UPDATED to add--Be sure and check the comments to this post for the response by Lionel Menchaca, Digital Media Manager for Direct2Dell. In part, he writes, to those of you who've expressed your own Dell-related woes:
"I encourage you or anyone else that needs help with their Dell hardware to go here:My personal e-mail is at the bottom of this page, and the Customer Advocate team email is listed as well (fourth bullet point from the top list)."