Dell takes Social Media seriously

Dell’s Hearing Test

29162-dellLYour home page is Google," said Jarvis [Dell CMO]. "It becomes really important the right things are appearing on it."

Since then, the company has embarked on a concerted effort to turn around its image online, reaching out to consumers in blogs and soliciting advice on how Dell can improve. The end goal for Jarvis is not touchy-feely: He wants to spend less, not more, money on advertising. One way is to cut down on the need for advertising altogether by having satisfied customers spread positive word of mouth.
"The Germans and British no longer believe anything you say in an ad," he said. That makes advertising pretty pointless. You have to think of how you’re going to reach people in different ways."

One key way to achieve this is to move as many customer interactions — Dell estimates it has over 2 billion per year — online and away from expensive distribution like catalogs.

The numbers weren’t pretty either: The company’s own 2006 analysis of its "share of voice" online found 48 percent of chatter about Dell was negative. Its renewed focus on customer communications coincided with the rise of the social Web, as more people gathered online to share thoughts, rate products and contribute to a community Web experience. [now 21%] 

Over the last two years, Dell has worked day by day rebuilding its ties to its customers. Its problems could not be solved by an ad campaign with a cheery message, Jarvis said, but a reorientation of its culture to solving customer problems and listening to their complaints and advice.

The searing experience of the battery recall and "Dell Hell" helped the company, believes Pete Blackshaw, evp, digital strategic services, Nielsen Online and author of the forthcoming Satisfied Customers Tell Three Friends, Angry Customers Tell 3,000.

 

"Social media is a grand experiment," Dell’s Jarvis said. "It has a future. I don’t see it crashing down. Social interaction, communities and participation are absolutely the fabric of the Web." 

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