Daily Archives: December 10, 2007

Dell and the Art of Spinning Business Decisions (part 2)

Bob Pearson replied to my previous post on this topic.

I thank Bob Pearson for the reply. Nobody can accuse Dell of not paying attention to what people are saying. However, I remain skeptical that I, as a customer, am going to see anything dazzling come out of Da Vinci. Again, the evidence on which I base my skepticism is provided by none other than Dell.

Last month, Laura P. Thomas, reported that Dell’s beta for a new home page was found to be more difficult to use than the current page. I did not say anything at the time but now I have the impetus to comment. How on earth can Dell design a site more difficult to use than the current one?!? (I’m assuming that although the term “home page” is used, we’re talking about a complete site overhaul.)

Case in point: I went to Dell’s site this morning to order a monitor. The only reason I even went to Dell’s site was because I had researched reviews and found that one of Dell’s monitor fit my performance/price ratio. So I went into the “Home and Home Office” store and put the monitor in my cart. Then I decided I should check what price I’d get if I went through the educational channel. Being affiliated to UVA, I can benefit from better prices, right? Nope. After I put the monitor in my educational cart, I found that a free 2-day shipping deal I was able to get in the “Home and Home Office” store was not available to me if I ordered through the educational store. Now, let me be clear. If I had obtained exactly the same result through both stores, I would have said “fair enough”. It is the fact that I get different results depending on how I navigate the site that irritates me to no end. And then Dell will send coupons by email which, once applied, invalidate rebates already offered on the site. So shopping in Dell’s store is an exercise in frustration.

That kind of nonsense is precisely why I hate the Dell store and why Dell’s store is never my first destination when I shop online. It is utterly unpleasant to think that if I had ordered the item from the same dealer but through a different set of clicks, I might have gotten a better deal. I keep having to check and recheck that I have not missed any click, any coupon, any change in barometric pressure which may result in a better deal. That also played a part in why the last laptop I bought was not a Dell. I paid a little more that I would have for a Dell but I felt the dealer respected me and my time.

And then I read that Dell is unable to create a better site? What on earth is going on? There’s nothing in the Da Vinci announcement that makes me believe that the new partnership will solve this problem so why precisely should I get excited? It seems to me Dell has bigger fish to fry than spinning their business decisions into some sort of second coming.