Dell CAP Canada - A day of listening, collaboration, and discussion hosted by Dell
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Dell CAP (Customer Advisory Panel) Day Canada

Dell CAP (Customer Advisory Panel) Day Canada
A day of listening, collaboration, and discussion hosted by Dell in Toronto, Canada

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Dell CAP Canada - A day of listening, collaboration, and discussion hosted by Dell Dell CAP Canada - A day of listening, collaboration, and discussion hosted by Dell Document Transcript

  • David Miketinac As always we encourage all of you to reach out if there is anything that I can ever do. I also want to introduce Phil Bryant, good morning. Phil also one of the executives here at Dell. A little bit of background and then I’ll let Phil give a little bit background on himself. I’m a seventeen-year Dell veteran. By the way, I currently live in Canada, I work here in Toronto. I’ ve been traveling over the last six months all over your beautiful country and consider myself in a lot of ways Canadian. Little known fact, I have a great grandfather that was a Canadian lumberjack, so my connection to Canada actually is also my bloodline. I’m really excited to be1 1 here and to introduce Phil Bryant. Phil Bryant I’m Phil Bryant, I’m the vice presidential manager for our retail business across North America, also responsible for Canada. I’ve been with Dell about twelve years, prior to that I worked for AT&T. In those twelve years I spent eight of that twelve years outside of Austin. I lived in Asia for six years and Europe for two years in various part of Dell business. I’ve been back in North America since about last, well about this time last year, I came back almost this week last year. So it’s good to be back on this side of the world. I appreciate you guys taking the time to come in and talk, talk to us this morning. You know we’ve done these things in three other countries, I guess it started in Germany I guess is where we did the first one and then the US and China, and Canada is the fourth one of these that we’ve done. So I really appreciate you taking the time to1 2 come in and speak with us. David Miketinac I currently run the small and medium business organization in Canada, which also has responsibility for the channel and previous to this position I spent three years building up channel in the US. Dell has been a company for 27 years. 27 years ago Michael Dell, in his dorm room in the University of Texas, had an idea how to go and market and put technology out there differently than it had been put out before. At the time it was just the PC and in 27 years a lot of changes happen and I think all of you in the room understand more than most that we’re at an inflection point for technology overall. But the foundation of what Michael formed the company 27 years ago and where we are right now, the principles of what we do are exactly the same. And part of those principles, actually are the reason why all of you are here today. The voice of the customer is critical to what we do at Dell. And I will tell you in my 17 years, traveling all around the globe, US, Canada, is that one of the things that I think makes Dell unique are forums just like this. So today we’re going to talk a lot about a lot of things. What I would ask from each of you is to tell us the things that Dell does really well. I think because it puts a nice stamp on the hard work that goes into every day and the things that are the cornerstones of our business. But I think what is much more helpful if you could tell us about the things that we don’t do well in your experience. Because there is an old adage that the only way that human beings really learn is through mistakes, and I can tell you that having come from a business where building a channel at Dell was something a lot of people didn’t believe we could really do. I think that a lot of people in the room could say that Dell hasn’t been incredibly successful in the channel yet. There may be others that may say that Dell is seeing a lot of success in the channel. I think the reason why is because we want to know what we are doing right and wrong. Three years ago, I went to the first ever channel session with Dell where we were one of the sponsors. When my boss Greg Davis got up to speak, about half of the room got up and left. When we went to the breakout sessions and I was there, doing my presentation and my brown bag, half of the people got up and left and the ones that stayed talked about how Dell was not really committed to the channel. Fast forward 2 ½ years my last channel event when I was in Boston, Dell won the lion’s share of awards and the gentleman that was from one of the other sponsors said, “the big gorilla in the room is sitting over there at table four, when it comes to the channel and small media business. The small and medium business was actually sitting at table 4.” There’s a lot more we can learn, but we can’t learn without your feedback. So my own request today is- let us happen. Give us what we are not doing, because only through Dell’s failures can we actually learn how to succeed. I know all of your time is incredibly important to you, and I will thank all of you up front for this investment, because that’ s what it really is. It’s an investment. You will help Dell deliver that technology that helps customers and partners grow and thrive. I thank you in advance for your contributions today and1 1 would invite you to tell us what we could do better. Thank you.
  • Mark Evans So, my name is Mark Evans and I’m the moderator for today’s event. My role is to learn, which is a really experience for me, because I haven’t been involved in this kind of format before. I’m interested in learning about the Dell approach and some of the new products, the 14Z laptop looks pretty sexy, so I’m going to take that for a spin later on today. My role for today is to moderate the conversations, get everybody involved and to make everyone feel comfortable and to get as much value out of the day as possible. A few housekeeping notes before we get started. One is, you all received a copy of the guidelines, and essentially if you boil it down, you have to be transparent and clear with the fact that you have been invited by Dell to be a guest. This is a very sort of open and transparent form and so page one- complete disclosure and terms of your participation and at the same time they are very happy you have actually traveled and made the investment to come here today, some people as far as Vancouver and Winnipeg and some people from Windsor and local people as well. As it’s mentioned this will be very open and honest and frank discussion. You know, I often find that some of the things that don’t help the most is when people tell you how great you are and how wonderful you do and everything’s great, because you don’t learn anything. As much as Dell wasn’t to hear nice things about them, its also important to hear things that people don’t like, because that’s the way that the organization will move forward and integrate improvements to their products and the way they operate. Everything is on the record. So, if you want to blog or tweet about what you hear today, please feel free to do that and it’s been live streamed as well, so you can wave to the camera, just to the back, we’re live. Were having a little bit of technical difficulty right now with the Wi-Fi, but we’ll be up soon, they can join in in fifteen or twenty minutes. If you’re going to tweet or put this thing on Facebook the hashtag is #dellcapcanada. You might want to warn your followers that you will be tweeting a flurry of Dell focused tweets today, we hope you’ll be tweeting about a lot of things Dell today. One of the things that I want to make people aware is the fact that there are a lot of Dell executives in the room and if you want one on one interviews with any of them, they are happy to do so, so there will be a series of breaks throughout the day so you can corral anybody here and pull them aside. If you do interview, just a pen and paper interview, however you want to do that. You will also notice that there are a number of Dell people in the room as well. Some of them are participating and some of them are simply taking notes and learning and feel free to introduce yourselves and engage in conversation about what they are doing and more important what you are doing as well, because I think they want to learn more about the people in the room. At this point I think I want to ask some of the Dell customers and some of the Dell people in the room to introduce themselves, perhaps tell people where they are from, what they hope to get out of the day and when you do do that, please give people your Twitter user name so if people want to follow you or just want to comment on Twitter they can1 2 do so…who wants to be the first volunteer? Brad Penner Hi, I’m Brad Penner, and I manage the consumer call centres that we have in our Canadian consumer business, our English and our French teams, and I am located actually in our national office and have been in this role for three years, but I grew up in the southern Canadian province of Minnesota <laughs> I am well versed in this weather. I love my job in Canada, I love coming up here. It’s a great country, a great city. I’m just really excited to be a part of this and I’ve never been involved in an event like this before and I’m really interested in hearing about1 1 your experiences with our sales teams, about being a consumer and what we can do to improve. Tara Lemieux Hi, I’m Tara. I manage consumer marketing communications. I’m really excited to be here. I’ ve been at Dell for about 10 years now. On the small medium business side as well as the consumer side. I am just very excited to hear feedback on both sides of the fence and if anyone wants to chat during the break, please come find me. I’d love to hear personal from you, looking1 1 forward to it. David Bohl I’m David Bohl, and I’m from the online support website and I guess I’m really excited to understand what we can do better to provide you kind of those tools that make you successful in trouble shooting your issue as quickly as possible, that’s really what I focus on. A lot of comment on what we do right and what we do wrong, for me whenever we do something wrong its best to contrast that with who did it right for you, what’s a similar experience you had. I’ll be1 2 on one of the panels later and I hope that can be a part of our conversation Suzanne Akleh Hi, I’m Suzanne and I’m with DFS Canada Dell, leasing and financing. I support all business segments, large corporate as well as small medium business and consumer. And I’m very excited to here today as well, and I want to hear what we do well and what we don’t do well and just like David said, I want to hear who is doing it better so I can help and what Tara said, I1 1 would love to talk in the break.
  • Sarah Richardson Hi, I’m Sarah, @sarahatdell on Twitter and I help manage the CAP Days program, so I got to be a part of the very first event over two years ago. I get to help plan these great events but also think beyond that. How can we continue our relationships with you guys and our customers in other countries and I’m really interested to hear about how you want us to continue the relationship that we are starting to build today with you guys, ongoing via social, keeping you up to date with what we are doing with all our great products and really figure out how we can customize that relationship with you and not only you and your extended social communities. I’1 2 m excited to be a part of today. Maurice McFarlane Hello, and good morning everybody, my name is Maurice McFarlane, I am the enterprise brand manager for Canada, so servers, storage, and networking products, data center, roll up to me and I helped set up the product showcase today. I’ve been at Dell for 8 years in sales and now I’m in marketing. When I was in sales I was in close touch with the costumers and now I’m in1 1 marketing. I’d love to hear any sort of feedback that comes out today and thank you. Janet Fabri I’m Janet Fabri. I handle corporate communications for all aspects in business in Canada. I want to thank all of you for being with us today. I can say without exception when invitations were extended that you responded very quickly, very positively, no matter what your point of view was coming into this. We’re here to listen, we’re here to learn and thank you so much for1 2 being with us. Anne Camden Hi, I’m Anne Camden, 13-year veteran at Dell, and I’m one of your panelists later today. I’ll be talking to you about product development. My particular area of expertise is more consumer desktops and laptops. I know a little bit about the small business products, enterprise, all him <laughs> and they’re my babies, okay? So, just like any parent wants to hear what their child is doing great and what their child can do better, that’s what I want to hear today, its helping help1 1 my children be better global citizens, okay? Thank you. David Gair Hi, good morning everyone, thanks for joining us here, my name is David Gair. I manage small media business marketing for Dell Canada. I’ve been with Dell for 12 years now. In marketing we tend to paint this glorious picture, of what we aspire to in terms of our solutions in products and it’s very important to see how we deliver against this, right? So, is our marketing matching the real experience, so that’s what we want to hear from you, as well our online experience so the purchase experience, the research is useful, what can we improve, so just curious where we1 2 can improve things, so thanks for joining us. Mike Agerbo My name is Mike Agerbo. I’m from Vancouver. I own a production agency out there called Blink Media, we do a lot of online video content work for a lot of big tech companies. I’m also a tech journalist; I produce a couple television shows here in Canada for the Business News Network and other broadcasters including TV shows called Get Connected and App TV as well. I’m excited to see what happens here because not only do I cover a lot of Dell stuff in my1 1 journalist hat, but we’re also a big Dell costumer at the agency as well. Nancy Polance My name is Nancy, I’m from Windsor, and my Twitter handle is @whispersinspire. I’m more so of a life style blogger and I’m here just to give my opinion and I have a lot of questions from Dell customers and people who have had experiences with Dell. I write for some online publications and manage an online community as well. I’m here and I’m excited to hear what1 2 everyone has to say. Thank you. Dick Weytze Hi, my name is Dick Weytze, until earlier this year I was with the Federal Government, providing service and support for users in one department within the government. I am interested really in just seeing what is coming along with Dell, I’ve been a very strong user, after three years with the company originally, I finally standardized on computers and it ended up being Dell, I’ve always been happy with them and I just wanted to see where they are going and1 1 you know, from now on. Shirley Freinkel I’m Shirley Freinkel and I am a software quality analyst. I’ve used Dell computers quite a lot in the last couple years, my family uses them at home, and I’ve just like to get out to hear about the1 2 new Dell technology.
  • Jason Duty Good morning everyone, I’m Jason Duty and my Twitter handle is @JasonDatDell but a more important Twitter handle for you to know is @dellcares. So I, along with David support organization but I should run our social media customer support business for Dell. So you’re on Twitter and you need help or you have friends and family that do, please let us know @dellcares and we’re glad to help. I would say also that like many of the other Dell participants, first thank you all for coming and being willing to share your feedback. Our ears will be open today and while David and I came to share what we’re doing in support and some changes that are being made, I think we are more interested in your feedback about what’s working and what’s not. Thanks again in advance for sharing that with us. This is my third CAP Days and I’m really excited to be here with you all and the couple of sessions I’ve attended so far have been really beneficial for me and I’ll share with you the first session we had in the US, we recently brought that team back together over this last summer and it was really exciting to bring them back in and be able to share with them some of the changes we had made based on the feedback and so please know that we treat these sessions very seriously and the feedback you give us we’ll take1 1 back in and see what changes we are going to make. Dave Perry Thank you for having us, my name is Dave Perry, @socialdave is my Twitter handle. I have actually use a lot of your competitor’s products over the years, I used to be with IBM for about five years, actually worked in Toronto. I’m now business director at a game developer in Montreal. We have been using your products for quite some time. I’ve only had a chance to work with Dell products for about three months now. I have a gaming blog, so I’m very interested in what you’re doing in the social media sphere how you’ve made that successful and how your seen and performing as a leader in that, and also a bit of a geek gamer, so you know,1 2 looked interested in all of your new products. Thanks. Lior Hershkovitz Good morning, my name is Lior Hershkovitz I guess so far I’m representing the financial services sector. I’ve been a Dell costumer since the mid 90’s. I basically bought three different Dell systems in the last year and a half, both for work and personal use. Overall I’m just here to share my experiences. I’m honored to be invited. I also run web blog, a website called Mortgage1 1 Economics, I’m just here to share my views so. Mark Graham Good morning everyone my name is Mark Graham and twenty years ago almost to the day I bought my first Dell computer, I was heading off to Queens University as an 18 year old and Dell had a great offering and I was just reflecting on that it’s been twenty years. Which one was it? Do you remember what it was? It was HUGE. <laughs> I think it cost me 3 grand in twenty year ago dollars and it lasted me until about my third or fourth year in university so it was a real workhorse. I have since moved on and become an entrepreneur, I own two businesses, one of which is called RightSleeve which is a promotional products company that is very interested in how technology has been able to allow us to stand out within a pretty traditional and mature industry and we have also started social software company called Common Sku, which is a social CRM platform for our industry, heavily involved and interested in cloud computing, how computers can really make workers day to days much more efficient and social and more interesting, and we were honored two years ago to be the Canadian recipient of the Dell SMB Excellence award, it was really neat I had a chance to go down and visit Michael Dell and told him that story and his computers were huge and he said, you know in China they like their boxes big, that’s what he said <laughs> That was interesting. Thanks very much for having me here1 2 today. Stuart R. Crawford Good morning everybody, my name is Stuart Crawford and I represent the channel. I work with channel partners across the globe, Canada, the US, Australia, the UK; we have clients all over the place. I ran an IT bar in Calgary Alberta for fifteen years, recently moved back to Toronto, missing my Leaf games on a regular occasion <laughs> I’m a big Leaf fan. We were a Dell partner long before an official program came up and I like to think we helped Dell get some traction when everyone beat them up, we’d wave the Dell flag and fly it very high. Thus we have a very strong relationship with, even today, with some of the channel people here in Canada. In my role today, I help IT bars and resellers go to market and how to position their businesses for success, so one of the parts is helping with building strong vendor relationships,1 1 so that’s why I’m here today to bring the voice of the channel to today’s event. Jody Arsenault Hi, I’m Jody my Twitter handle is @mommymomentblog, I am an online magazine for moms basically and a social media lover so I’m here to bring my readers and audience and their1 2 questions to you and to hear what you have to say to them. Thanks for having me.
  • Kathryn Lavallee I’m Kathryn Lavallee. I’m actually from Saskatchewan so this is quite the big trip for me <laughs>…and along with Nancy and Jody, I represent the mommy blogger contingency here and I’m really excited to hear about Dell’s technology, to share some ideas and especially to kind of see from the customer point of view that easy user, that type thing what Dell is doing to1 1 make the experience enjoyable so, thanks so much. Eric Vallillee Hi I’m Eric, my Twitter name is just Eric Vallillee I’m a student and earlier this year I started my own internet marketing company that’s already sort of grown to the point that where I did the website for Sheila Copps last month, who is running for the liberal presidency for Canada. So I’m doing quite well that way, but I’m here because I have some concerns about some of the products but I really like Dell, Dell was the first…from, shortly after that I tried Apple and with the exception of my phone, came right back to Dell a few months later, so I’m just excited to1 2 sort of share my views and learn more about Dell’s products. Joe Mallon Hi, I’m Joe Mallon. I’m a native of Toronto actually, and I was very glad to be invited today. I’ m a long time costumer to Dell going back to the late 90’s and yes they were big boxes back then <laughs> I apologize for the weather especially to those who came from southern climates. I’m also a long time Dell community forum member. I’m looking forward to seeing the1 1 products and giving some feedback and thank you. Bob Benedetti Hi, I’m Bob Benedetti. I’m the former TV broadcaster and executive producer. I’ve been both a Dell consumer, personally I preferred Dell over the years and in 1995, I started a weekly technology report of gadgets on CTV Montreal, and it was kind of new and in those days I had to fight for every second with management who thought people didn’t care about technology, but it was fun to start that, and I did that up until two years after I retired and I became mayor of the community where I live in Quebec, stopped doing it for a while and then when the mayor thing went away I thought what the heck try again so I started a blog called home technology Montreal, my Twitter handle is @hometechmtl and I’m loving what I’m doing. I publish every single day and it is a gamut of opinion to product reviews and just sometimes just funny little movies I pick up and stuff like that, it’s a crazy little blog so if you want to drop by sometime take a look at it it’s hometechntl.com. Eric and I happen to have a link, it’s funny in these rooms you’re always looking for a link. I worked many years ago with Janet. One of the comments I got from the followers on my blog when I asked for comments on Dell came from one of his clients, Julie. So you go somewhere, there’s always a link. I’m looking forward to this day; I hope to hear some answers to some of the questions that people raised to me when I asked for comments. I’ll also pass you on the good things they said. Whenever I hear, if I have suggestions I will feel free to offer them and I hope that even if one of my thoughts turns up1 2 someday down the road in helping Dell make a better product, I’d be happy.1 2 Melissa Lee Hi, I’m Melissa Lee, and I work for Cohn and Wolfe, the PR agency representing Dell Canada, so I’m here to listen to what you all have to say and I look forward to it. I’m also a Dell consumer on my personal time and my Twitter handle is @missy_lady. So I hope to be chatting1 1 with you in the future. Fiona Cassidy I’m Fiona Cassidy, I’m with Cohn and Wolfe and working with Janet, and we’re here to help out today, if you have any questions, or need help with taxis and that sort of thing, then we can help. We also want to just steer you in the direction of the video booth which is there to record any comments that you have, what your opinion is of Dell coming in, and at the end of the session, what might have changed, what you got out of the day. So if you don’t have a chance to1 2 participate in the group, feel free to go to the video booth over there. Hanif Thakor Morning everyone, my name is Hanif I am the laptop brand manager. I’ve been with Dell for about four years now, up to this point I am acting with the small medium business division, so I’ m very well versed with the latitude, precision, vostro laptops. Recently I went to the consumer division so I’m looking forward to getting your feedback on all of our laptops assortments, XPS, Inspiron and the assortment of our laptops here. Have a chance to look around, touch them, feel1 1 them, can’t wait to hear about them from you guys. Thank you. Bill Tyrrell Bill Tyrrell, consumer direct side of the business, I’ve been at Dell for twenty years. I’ve been in consumer, small business, corporate, public, all around the organization. Happy customers1 2 are the key to our success so were looking forward to what you have to say.
  • Selin Stancati I’m going to stand up because I’m a little on the short side. Selin Stancati. I’ve worked for Dell four and a half years, so with the tenure around the room, I’m a newbie. I’ve spend most of my time on the consumer side, just recently moved to small medium business, so I’m learning quite a bit. I am responsible for demand generation and media planning, so any questions. I’m interested in the bloggers, you can teach me a few things. I look forward to the feedback and1 1 chatting with you during the break. Thank you. Prashant Ramesh Morning everyone, my name is Prashant, I manage the consumer online business in Canada. I’ ve been at Dell for over seven years, I’ve been in the e-business for over thirteen years and you know similar to what Selin said, we get feedback every single day from our customers on dell. ca. When you hit dell.ca, I am responsible for your experience, up until you are researching, till you check out and after you check out, too. So the exciting thing being at being at Dell in my e- business years of experience is that we are really connected with our customers more so than any other company I’ve worked for in the e-business space. It’s exciting, so for over seven years dell.ca has gone through three huge overhauls, based on customer feedback, so we’re listening, we still have a lot of work to do. I’m looking forward to hearing what you have to say,1 1 comments about your experience at dell.ca. Lazlo Molnar Hi everyone, my name is Lazlo. I’ve worked for Dell for about five years now. I had the pleasure of actually serving our social media program here at Dell, so on Facebook. com/dellcanada where I will be posting today and taking questions, as well as Twitter, Dell home sales today. I’m very happy to be here and look forward to the constructive criticism.1 2 Thank you. Mark Evans So, a couple of final housekeeping notes before we get into the rest of this session. The video booth is set up so that anytime throughout the day you want to make a comment, or you want to do a mini interview with a Dell executive, we want to capture your thoughts and your perceptions of the day, what you think of the day think what you got out of the day. I think that a lot of people have expectations and hopefully some of them will be met and maybe you’ll be delighted in many other ways in what you get out of the day. And finally, as you’ve noticed we’ ve got a graphic artist, Lisa and Diisa, who will be recording graphically all the conversations and themes today. Feel free to take pictures of her artwork and we’ll also be sending out a high res image of the final product so that you can maybe post it on blogs. I saw some of the previous artwork, some other CAP Days they really are spectacular and I think one of the things I am going to take away, is that I run a conference called Mesh and I really like this idea, you should give me your business cards. I think it’s a truly terrific way of sort of capturing what’s going on1 1 today, so thank you for that. Phil Bryant Yeah, I think just before we get into the main part of the agenda, the whole thing is designed to be a conversation so I think we promised no power point or anything like that for the whole day. We’ve got people here from as you saw multiple disciplines within Dell. We’ll conduct a series of forums as we go through the day and we’ll focus in on things like the sales process with Brad, tech support and customer care process, social media, blogging, product, all of the different disciplines and give you a chance to go through that and talk with the people who have big parts in those organizations here and run and manage the Canada business. So again we appreciate it, in the feedback here is what’s important and having a conversation is important and one of the great things about my job and you’ll probably see my pacing because I’m usually not sitting in a chair this much during the day, I’m usually out talking to customers, what I love is that I never have a conversation with a customer that I’m not surprised, no matter how well prepared I am, no matter how much I think I know the customer’s business, the customer really understands their business a lot better than I do. These conversations are the most meaningful. A couple years ago I went to Istanbul to meet with a large customer. I worked with the account team, I thought I knew everything we had done right and wrong with that account. I had gotten some fantastic feedback and we started going through some things and this customer was naming all these things that we had was in conversation in 2009, was naming all of these things that we have done wrong and I’m looking at the account team, I thought we had addressed every issue in Dell with every problem. And so I finally just asked the customer, “when did this happen” and he said 1991. It had been almost twenty years, right? That this customer had been dealing with Dell and customers have very long memories. When you do things right, it leaves a lasting impression and naturally your brand with a customer. So again, it’s all about getting the feedback and making sure we respond to it and deal with the issues we have. It’s like what Winston Churchill said- I need the feedback I just don’t always like hearing it. <laughs> So that’s what this is about here during the day, please speak up , speak freely and it should be a1 2 great day.
  • Mark Evans Before we get into the sessions one of the things may be you could give me some color on and the people in the room, is just sort of the reason Dell is doing CAP Days, and maybe some of the things that have come out of previous cap days because I think a lot of people are looking to see1 1 how their important and how their thoughts are going to be integrated in your going forward. Phil Bryant Again, CAP Days are a part of the ongoing dialogue we have with customers. Folks like Jason1 2 and others, how many conversations you guys have every day, Jason, with customers?11 2 Jason Duty For my team, we do a couple thousand a week.1 Phil Bryant Same thing for Brad on the sales side. You know at Dell we have always had a great legacy of listening which is one of the keys, and one of the great things about the direct relationship, is being able to get all of that feedback and then go and act on that feedback whether it is in product design, whether its improving how we service and support, whether its improving and how we treat our marketing, those kinds of things, we are constantly trying to sense what’s going1 2 on and make the changes in response to that. Mark Evans How do you pick the people in the room? There are some Dell fans, Mac users, and lots of iPhones. It’s interesting mix of people both geographically and in terms of the computers they1 1 use.1 Phil Bryant You don’t learn much if all you do is talk to people who like you a lot. Again, I love the praise, right, I love it when I call home and my wife says, “oh gee, Phil, you’re doing a great job.” <laughs> It’s just not always the most effective thing around the house, when all I want to hear is the praise and not the other things. Again, it’s a complicated environment right now. David, you talked about the changes in the industry in the 27 years, what about the changes in the industry in the last 27 months? We’ve had entire categories come and go in the last 27 months, so if you’re not constantly getting feedback and listening and trying to respond to that, you kind1 1 of miss the game. You miss on whole waves and trends in the industry. Mark Evans So at the end of the day, when we are all having cocktails and I come up to you and say how’d1 2 you define success today?1 Phil Bryant I just want to learn, I’d just want to hear more, I want to learn about things that we can do to go1 2 out and improve the business. Mark Evans So, we’ve got an agenda but it’s completely flexible, so if the conversations going really great, we’ll keep on talking. We’re not going to have to adhere to the timelines hard and fast. I think1 1 it sounds like we are ready to move to the next presentation.
  • David Miketinac Hey Mark, I want to make sure I touch on a couple things. We talked about why we are asking questions, why we are doing this. The one thing that 17 years being at the same company offers you, it offers you at least a perspective. I think Phil probably could comment and all of the Dell folks could comment in the room, our history and where we’ve gone and what we’ve done I’ll just bring up couple of things, today. If you take a look at mechanisms in which Dell gets feedback, this is a very big one. This is not the only one. There are surveys that go out at every time we purchase, there’s surveys that are called net promoter that we do almost monthly in most of the businesses. There’s one called Tell Dell where our employees tell us what we could do differently. There are internal blogs that we have. You know, one of the things I think our company is good at, clearly always could get better, we want data. We want to know. I think Phil will tell you having come from AT&T, and a lot of the folks in the room, Dell is a very data driven company. We want to know how we can be better. I think our presence in the community, our presence in the communities that we live, presence around the world- I think there’s this insatiable thirst for how could we be better. Michael wrote a book several years ago, direct to Dell and a few years ago Michael came out and said, the direct model is a business strategy, it’s not a religion and it was very empowering as a guy who was going in the channel to think about how we could meet the needs of our customers and different mechanisms, where the CEO of our company came out and said, we’re evolving. We change. We do things differently. Part of that difference is having open ears; think someone said that, our ears are open. I could give you a number of different examples of things that we do to listen. What I would say is my litmus test for if this session is successful or not is how long is the list of things we have to go fix. If it’s a short list I don’t know how successful we will be. If it’s a lengthy list, an actionable list, to me it will be a success. Because Phil will also tell you, every time you go and do a meeting with any Dell executive, the action list is always pretty substantial, it’s because of this1 2 insatiable thirst to be better, and a willingness to listen. This forum is about listening.
  • Mark Evans Alright, we are going to talk about customer support. Jason Duty and David Bohl are going to lead the presentation and I think given the fact that a key part of Dell’s approach to business is customer support, they have been formed on dell.com since 1996, a very engaged customer support team and obviously enthusiastic embrace of social media as a way to support customers. This is really part of the company’s DNA. I think as much as they do great jobs, they really do want to hear real life experiences and get your insights. Feel free to raise your hand or to speak up about things that you like, things that you don’t like, and the team will give you their input1 1 and where they are going and what they are doing. Jason Duty Great, and to follow onto what David was saying, I think that our culture at Dell is definitely being pleased but never satisfied, so this is at the heart of these sessions as well as to figure out how we could please you all <laughs> and figure out how we are never going to be satisfied. So I think David and I brought a few things to share with you today in terms of big improvement programs in the customer support space and by customer support I mean those things we traditionally talk about being technical support or customer service, I’m ready to share some of those things with you and then as I mention I’m really responsible for customer support in social media so I’m like to share a few things that the team is doing there, and tell you a little bit about my organization. I think David is going to do the same for e-support, the Dellsupport.com website, I’ll say we’re going to keep our words pretty short because again we are more interested1 2 in your feedback and what you have to say.1 I think in general across the customer support business there are a few big programs that we’re really counting on to drive change within the business and provide a better customer experience and frankly these programs have been developed because of feedback from folks like you. I’ll list off a few of these pretty quickly, and tell you what they’re all about, and definitely open to your feedback about them. One of them I’ll say is a program that we call CISS- Complex Issue Simple Solution and for a while at Dell we had trouble shooting processes that weren’t necessarily geared to the person talking to us on the phone. So someone who was a novice with computers and someone who was an IT professional, got treated the same way if you called into the queues for supporting the consumer and small business. Definitely not the right model, so with a CISS the idea there was we have these really complex issues and one of them is a blue screen of death as an example and if you’ve ever experienced one of those and had to talk to a technician whether at Dell or somewhere else, the steps to solve that problem can be pretty extensive, somewhat complicated and pretty darn time consuming and frustrating. We found that there is actually a better way to serve customers when they have that problem, and rather than put them through a number of hurdles, call us back a couple times to confirm something worked or didn’t work, we saw that despite how many actions we asked customers to take to trouble shoot, the end result was almost always the same thing. So what we’ve done is sort of erased some of those middle steps and immediately gotten to the solution, so today if you get the blue screen of death, it’s less likely we’ll be trouble shooting with you and more likely we’ll send you a hard drive with an image burned on it already, or in some cases a drive that allows you to restart your system and reimage it. So that’s an example of one program that’s happening at Dell and we’re hopeful it creates a better customer experience for folks that have to call us for support. There’s another program that I think is very interesting, we call it the first 60 days program. Through talking with customers like you and analyzing some of our call center date, we figured out that after customers buy a system, within the first sixty days they generally have a unique and fairly common set of problems that they call on us and ask questions about. So one of them, as an example, is software that is installed on their system. Whether it be an office software package or something else, we found that customers called us in the first couple of months about those software applications. So we said, how can we create a better experience around this. What we did was create a team that specializes in the first 60 days experience and is used to dealing with questions around software or other things. So we actually service customers with this unique support professionals that are familiar with these issues and actually help the customers pretty quickly. There’s a third program that we call one team, one goal, and this program is designed to reduce the number of times the customer of times the customer may be transferred at Dell, whose ever called Dell and been transferred between one group and another. It’s not very fun, it’s not fun with any company. We found that there are again a set of these common issues that typically got transferred around and it typically happens between these couple of teams, why don’t we just put these two teams together and allow them to solve everything. So that’s a solution that we started to implement and one we expect to continue going forward and we’re seeing some positive results from that as well. I’ll pause there a bit to1 2 get feedback or questions or comments you have around those few programs.
  • Mark Evans I think what you are looking for is real life customer experiences, for instance, the good, the bad, the indifferent, things that have gone well, things you’d like to see different. Anybody got some1 1 insight to share?1 Eric Vallilee About six months ago my Dell laptop started really, really slowing down on me like it was just crazy slow. And no matter what I did, I couldn’t fix it so I decided to just format out the hard drive and start fresh. The problem was that after I did that, some of the software that came with the computer stopped working, reinstall it and reactivate it, but I didn’t have the activation keys for it, like McAfee, that sort of thing. So I called Dell support and was transferred around a couple of times. Then I was told that I had to contact McAfee, only to be told I had to contact Dell, so I called back, they gave me a different number and when I finally called back after a couple of hours, the other number was closed. So I don’t use McAfee anymore. I never got it resolved, I use Microsoft Security Essentials instead, but that was pretty disappointing to me because you pay extra for this for a tech support with Dell, you pay an extra $100-$200 and to1 1 have that result, on top of the software you paid for, it’s pretty disappointing.11 1 Mark Evans Was their any resolution to that?11 1 Eric Vallillee Yeah, I changed software.1 Jason Duty So I’m sorry you had to go through that first and foremost, frankly software issues are a big challenge for us and for us internally it’s sometimes simple to figure out what’s a hardware problem and a software problem but sometimes it’s not and so we expect for the average consumer it’s probably not that easy as well. That’s one of the things we continue to work on to1 1 make that process better and to simplify those kinds of things. So I appreciate your feedback.1 2 Mark Evans Any other thoughts, anybody else?1 Dick Weytze Over the years I’ve been working, using Dell systems for 16 years and even before that actually I was working for a company where I did service warranties for them. One thing that I found with Dell every time I had called the support desk, I seem to bounced all over the world, which is very interesting. One night that I found very gratifying is possibly because the federal government, I think the 1-800 number we had to call is different from SME’s, individuals, whatever. I was talking with somebody in Cape Breton and I really enjoyed speaking from someone at tech support within Canada, and Cape Breton... I got a kick out of it a few times. Problems in themselves, many software problems we ended up building our own images, we have our own set of problems most of the time we had to work them out internally so it’s hard to compare that. The only major hardware problems I had was that the batteries never seemed to last. We’ve gone through to the Latitude right from the models 14-15 years ago till today, they just do not seem to stand up compared to other manufacturers. Just wonder if that is being1 2 worked on.11 2 Jason Duty So that’s a little bit outside my domain.1 Hanif Thakor I can totally address the Latitude response. Recently we launched the Latitude e-series against the competition and it performs better and the battery life has improved significantly across the board. Recently we launched the Vostro 131 which is more of a small medium business product and its a real sleek product (its in the back if you want to look at it). We had it internalize the battery and through feedback from customers we made it a replaceable battery and weve also extended the battery life. Weve taken this kind of feedback and battery life seems to be one of those common recurring things. Not only do you get the extended battery like you see here but you can get a battery slice or replace your optical drive for additional battery so there are lots of solutions and you can run your system all day long without recharging it. The other thing is that1 2 when you plug it and within an hour you have an 80% charge; our competition cant do that. Jason Duty You raised another point in your comment about offshoring support, you mentioned that1 1 sometimes you get someone from all around the world when you talk to support people.1 Dick Weytze It’s dependent upon time of day. I used to go to work very early and I don’t think anyone was online in Canada, so yeah, I’d be speaking with people from other countries and sometimes even down in the States, that was interesting. I know people are not supposed to divulge where they are but they gave a little bit of information, I did enjoy that. Most people were very helpful.1 1 Many were quite knowledgeable and my problems resolved quite quickly.1
  • Jason Duty Good. we’ve actually been working on our global support force, and so, to give a person in one country to call Dell support it’s likely you’ll get someone in another country and we know that that can be challenging and that’s constantly an area of focus for us. I’m kind of curious about1 1 other experiences in the room. When you call Dell support, what’s your feedback? Lior Hershkovitz I think from the consumer point of view, I’ve bought quite a few Dell systems over the past few years. It used to be very bad, especially, well I know you guys get a lot of flak because it’s a offshore call center, a lot of people complain that they can’t understand the people they talk to. I personally didn’t find that to be the issue, but in terms of them solving the problems, it’s a huge problem. A lot of them are completely incompetent, they will tell you just basic troubleshooting, they don’t really think outside of the box. If there is something wrong with drivers, they will just tell you to update it from the website and if that doesn’t work, please call Windows. Well, in a perfect world unfortunately, not everyone has the time to do that. The second purchase that I made was a Studio 9100, we discovered that there was a flap when you used the head phone jack lot of feedback probably because it’s too close to the power unit. So basically I had to escalate all the way to the demi gods of customer service, and even they could not resolve. One of the things I suggested, because the system was already exchanged and the second system showed exactly the same problems I said, you know what just extend the warranty and maybe if you come up with a fix it would be covered under the warranty. Now I’m basically stuck with this system, it’s not a huge issue, but considering it’s a premium product you’d think you’d find these kind of problems before you ship it out. The third one was just recently it was an XPS laptop we had a problem with the screen initially and I think that the customer service on the third one was much better. In terms of that they should be called back to check system exchange, so they called back, they were a lot more concerned, how is the system working, did you accept a new system. It was very smooth, I’m impressed with the last one. All this happened in the last two years, they were complete disasters in terms of them actually identifying the problem and also when it comes to thinking outside of the box a little bit. They are like, no, we can’t do that, no we can’t extend the warranty, but it’s your defect and so it’s only fair. If you escalated the problem to engineering, but we don’t know when there is going to be a fix. Thank you very much, but I was hoping to expect a lot more considering I just spent $1,600 on a brand new system. So, but I think in terms of technical support offshore issue, yes there are sometimes a lot of needless transfers between departments especially when you need to buy new systems and so you call tech support they say, well we have to transfer you to the other tech support, then you have to talk to them and then customer service, okay so we’ll transfer you back to customer service. I think it’s gotten better, but there’s still a lot of room for1 2 improvement.1 Jason Duty Well I’m glad to hear that your most recent one went well, one out of three isn’t very good,1 2 right?1 Lior Hershkovitz I was pleasantly surprised, and you know, with all the three systems, which is two laptops and one desk tops, I never actually kept the original system. The first one was an Inspiron 1545 and the screen was defected so it had to be exchanged. The second one was the problem with the head phone jack, which I complained, they exchanged it but the second one had the same problem, it was also confirmed by the technician. The third one again the screen defects, at least 20 dead pixels, which is actually the upgraded screen but that one went smooth, they exchanged it and the new system does not have that problem. It erodes confidence. It’s one thing to have a defective system shipped to you, but it’s also and how you handle the exchange process, how smoothly and how without any exacerbating the problem even more without all these transfers1 2 between one department and another. It has to be a lot more smooth.11 2 Jason Duty Thanks for your feedback. And I’m going to talk to you after, when we get a break, as well.1 1 Mark Evans So, Mark?1
  • Mark Graham This might be somewhat unconventional approach, but over the years we’ve got about twenty people at my company and we have well above average experience with Dell over the last several years. Hardware has been for the most part pretty good. In the odd time that we have had issues with our hardware, we’ve unfortunately found that the service, or just calling tech support, takes so long that we now do a business calculation, we go- if the desktop after let’s say a year and a half, it’s beyond the warranty but after a year and a half a computer should still be fine. If it’s going to cost $500 to replace it, we make business calculations and say, okay, our IT people are on the phone, dealing with it having to send it back and forth- forget it, we’ll just go and buy a new product. The bad is that the service is still frustrating whenever we have those odd problems, but the good is that the computers are so inexpensive, it’s just better for us to buy a new system. I know that’s not exactly glowing praise, but the reason I say it’s unconventional is because if you get the green screen of death, it’s going to take 5-6 hours to deal with it and1 1 exchange it, it’s just better to buy a new one.11 1 Jason Duty Well, that’s interesting feedback. You mention long call time, and it’s tough to get resolution.1 Mark Graham A lot of what Lior was mentioning is that there’s typically either wait times, or having been bounced around to a couple different people. I must admit it isn’t me on the phone, but its people that cost a fair amount per hour that are handling this on our behalf and I know that they have had some frustrations and it’s almost the conclusion that we’ve reached that if the system is beyond the warranty a year or two after the purchase, it’s easier for us to buy a $500 machine. It’s quicker. The good news is that it doesn’t happen all that often. I think we’d be out of business with that approach. And I think that the last experience was about a year ago, so in light of what you’ve been mentioning, maybe it’s been improved, so we haven’t had to call in a1 1 year. Anne Camden Let me throw in another comment as well. It sounds to me that some of these issues, hopefully we’ll address over the next year or so to make things easier anyway. In the consumer space for a while now we’ve got an application called Dell Support Center, so in the particular issues here where you say it takes more time than going out and buying a replacement, a hard drive or an entirely different computer. We’re hopeful that people find that Dell Support Center has hardware diagnostics on it and running that diagnostics should get a quick return back whether your component has failed or passed. So if you’re in warranty, what we hope to be able to do is to enable you to just go ahead and say, it’s a warrantied component the drivers failed, the memory stick failed, let’s just go ahead and give me your information and get a dispatch going, where you don’t actually have to call and contact and that sort of thing. So that’s something that I’m looking forward to on the horizon. It’s kind of been a holy grail, I’ve been at Dell for 13 years and I don’t know long I’ve been talking about this, but we’re really close to actually delivering that now. So that’s one way we’ve been hoping to improve that experience. Of course you’ve got to use the tools you got, you got to come online, for that sort of thing to help, but yeah, that I think is one of our key objectives is kind of how do we just make it simpler. How can we be a little more proactive to give you tools where it’s easier to take care of these1 2 issues without having to go through that kind of struggle.
  • Bob Benedetti With customer service in general, my personal experience hasn’t been terribly good. Over the years, I’ve been responsible for buying a whole bunch of Dell computers for the companies I’ve worked for and/or bought one for myself. I’ve only had to call customer service once. And it got frustrating for a while, this was a few years ago, it got frustrating for a while but then finally one time I called, about 2 in the morning, or some odd hour or maybe the weekend I don’t know when it was, but I called and I got a guy in Edmonton instead of some guy in Bangalor, and he was able to answer the question he was able to send me a cd to fix the problem. The feedback I got when I asked for opinions, was that the general feeling was that the more recent experience dealing with customer service is a frustrating experience; lots of transfers, phone calls, people don’t call back. I had one guy I personally recommended his first Del computer and he subsequently bought four more, his most recent one was about three years ago, it was an Inspiron 800 I believe it was. It had a well-documented defect and he couldn’t get anything done. He wrote letters, somebody sent him a $10 gift certificate for his next Dell purchase. He brought the computer to show me and pressed the button and you twist it and it turns on <laughing> Apparently if you look online for this particular model, it’s a motherboard problem that is well documented and that the switch doesn’t work so you twist the computer a little bit and it works and it works fine after you twist it a little bit. But he was very frustrated and his next computer will not be Dell. Another report I got was a guy who still pleased with his Dell computers and will probably buy another one and but his problem was with the printer. Every time he called, they acted like he was trying to steal something from them. That was the impression that they gave him, that’s what he wrote anyway. His most frustrating experience was that he bought (before printer cartridges were available in the channel), his printer cartridges from Dell and he bought a box of ten and one was defective and he tried to get it replaced and again they were acting as though he was trying to steal from them. In his case, he is still happy with both the printer and the computers and will continue to buy Dell, but he was really1 1 frustrated with his experiences with the customer service. Eric Vallillee I just want to say, now that computers are getting cheaper and cheaper and cheaper all the time, and it’s getting so much easier going into a Future Shop or Best Buy and buy one. The service I think is probably one of the key things as much as the product itself because I just have to tell you a quick story. I had a friend recently who’s in school with me and her computer she had an HP and it failed and she was able to just go to Best Buy and it was replaced on the spot. That warranty that gives that to you is the same or even a little less then what you pay for technical support with Dell and when you go through the online order process. The thing is If I can just walk into Best Buy and replace my computer instantly when it breaks and I know if I ‘m going to be calling Dell and there’s the transfer issues and that kind of thing, Dell’s always going to be at a disadvantage because they have to ship things to you. The only way to make up for that is to make sure that the people answering the phones are really, really good and aren’t bouncing you around, aren’t getting frustrate with you, aren’t sending you to weird website s to update your drivers, that kind of stuff. It just really has to be simple and it has to be as quick as possible.1 2 Otherwise people are just going to say forget it, I’ll pay the same amount and go to Best Buy. Jason Duty That makes a lot of sense and I think the comments agree with you 100%, service and support, if it hasn’t been a bid differentiator in the past, it certainly is now. So I think that, either one of the programs that I didn’t mention is a little bit on the softer side, we call it the People Program, and one of my peers was responsible for this program. We found that getting in touch with people on the front lines much like getting in touch with you all today provides a wealth of information to the executives who run the call centers to say what the problems were from their perspectives and based on that feedback we’ve actually developed quite a few things on the people side that help our, as an example of our technicians in Bangalore understand how a customer in North America tends to react, likes to be treated. So I think that’s an ongoing program that we think is really important and it’s very cultural in nature. So this is not so much a process, not so much1 1 policy, it’s about helping people understand people.1 Eric Vallillee I think that that’s really good, because I had an experience once where I was talking to somebody in India somewhere and normally the accent is not an issue. I don’t usually have trouble understanding, but I was really having trouble with this one so I said, I’m sorry can you repeat yourself a couple too many times and he got frustrated with me, which is like, I paid how money hundreds of dollars for the privilege of phoning you today? Generally that stuff doesn’t happen, so I think that that kind of program where you’re dealing with the cultural differences1 1 and just making people understand where other people are coming from is really good.1 Jody Arsenault You say it doesn’t happen a lot, but that’s one of the biggest things I’ve heard too, is when they1 1 phone in and they can’t understand. It’s a big frustration with a lot of my communities.
  • 1 Kathryn Lavallee It depends on the person to a large extent. Some people have a better ear for picking that up and1 1 some people don’t. It can be an issue and it cannot, depending on the person.1 Jason Duty I think that there are communication issues. The feedback we’ve gotten for the most part is that as long as this person is helping me resolve whatever problems the is, the communication barrier is okay. It’s when communication breaks down and we’re not really reaching some sort of a resolution and that’s what seems to get people frustrated. I’ll say, the People Program, for us at Dell was that while over the last 6-7 years as in terms of a leadership team we’ve made it really, really hard for our employees to help customers so we’ve been looking at that over the last couple years and looked at policies that generally aren’t customer friendly, looked at processes that generally cause people to get passed around. So I think some of the programs I mentioned earlier are there to are meant to address these things. A lot of it comes from customers and from1 1 the front line folks who have the experiences with calls that don’t go so well… Bob Benedetti One thing that might help, if there is a way you with phone support, it was a personal one, but figure out a way to put this concept into phone. I had my first iPad 2 had an intermittent problem, that was a well-documented problem that was known, I went back to my local Apple store, and I said, this thing is doing this, it might not do it now but it will do it tonight perhaps or maybe next week some time and the guy just took my iPad and gave me a new one. He didn’t sit there and say go try to troubleshoot this or that, it was an established issue, I had a good description of what it was doing, there was no question it was this issue, whereas my experience with Dell customer service and other companies, Dell is by means the worst offender, if there is a way that your scripts could incorporate when there are known issues, so that certain key words the guy types in for the issue he’s presenting, that instead of just the usual script he gets to ask the customer to plug in your computer <laughs>, you know, or something like that, this is a fairly common issue and it might speed up the decision making about how you are going to deal with that and I don’t know how you would work it within the context of a call center type, but if there was a way if you got a call and they could see it’s a known issue and you’re not going to do nothing but frustrate the customer if you walk them through plug the computer in, reboot it, reboot it from the CD, when in fact you know you are going to have to replace the computer or send them a part or something. If there is a way to incorporate that into the system where the guy knows this is a common defect, because nowadays on the internet, people, even relatively inexperienced computer people, go hunting around the internet and they find it real quick and1 2 that hey! 800 other people have my problem, how come Dell doesn’t know about it. <laughs>11 2 Jason Duty That’s really good feedback and a really good suggestion; it’s got a star in my notebook here. David Miketinac I do know that there is an individual I meet with back in Austin that actually mine the data from tech support to kind of proactively engage customers for the soul purpose of trying to find problems before they start happening in mass. I think the numerics that come back, that are kind of the gate to when we see a certain percentage of these; it triggers a more proactive message. I’ ve seen these come out, I know I’ve gotten one myself. I’ll tell all of you, the one thing about these forms that’s always concerning to me, as an individual that really bleeds Dell blue ; from a sales perspective, I know that this morning, I’ll use an example, I don’t know why today it’s the first in a while, a customer from I don’t know where, and I don’t know what country and I don’t know for what reason sent me an email that said, the line was, “super frustrated” was one of them, I think the other one was “I’m livid.” Phil can weigh in on this one. My instructions back to whomever I sent it to is, usually several words. Take care of it and over satisfy them. So when you hear these sort of examples, and I can’t speak for Phil, only myself, it’s always a challenge for me. I had an incident, Brad knows my dad’s a retired army general and I’ve a military background myself, one thing that I’ve learned about military generals is when they have a problem, they are usually pretty loud about what’s going on. My dad called me on a Saturday, I happened to be at work, and my dad was having a problem, coincidentally with a printer. It wasn’t with the technology, it was, you told me that when I bought my printer, I could recycle my other printer and I’m calling your customer support and I didn’t get the box to send it back in. I’ve been on the phone for two hours and I’m trying to get the box. And my dad, who also has an MBA from Notre Dame, told me that this is why companies fail. It was a rather1 1 lengthy conversation, actually. Him talking to me and me doing the listening.11 1 Phil Bryant We all like being dressed down by our fathers <laughs>1
  • David Miketinac What I will tell you is that my dad had a problem the other day and the good thing about generals that I’ve found over the years, when they are satisfied, when you’ve corrected it, they’ll also let you know. My dad said I called this person, it seemed like an easy decision, they called out that it’s against what they usually do, but it sounds like this is the right thing to do in this case. All these issues that you have, my only request is, I know that these transfers happen enough to know that I don’t want to stick my head in the sand and say they don’t. You are going to get an email, you are going to get a bunch of addresses when you leave this room. My children go to school, my families livelihood is based on the four letters on the wall, of this company. I know how Michael feels when he gets this message. Send a message to Michael. I’ ve seen him send things back down, he responds to every customer message that comes his way and if it goes from Michael to my boss or my boss’s boss and to me, I have to give my boss1 1 enough data, what was the root cause, what didn’t we do. Send it to us, it has our name on it too. Phil Bryant It’s my job. It’s my job, that’s what I do. I love getting those things, a lot of what Jason’s talking about and what David talked about; somebody has written a procedure or a manual that says, this is how you do things. Well there’s just no way to cover every possible situation. You have to, like Jason was saying, you have to start building in flexibility to deal with these kind of things that come up. That’s one of the great things about my job. I can go, "I know what the1 2 manual says, but that’s clearly not right. It’s clearly not working." Dave Perry To me the difference between, (but I’ve never had to call customer support in the three months) I’ve had this laptop, but the difference between meek and great customer support and not is ownership, it’s feeling that you’re not the one having the runaround. Even being transferred from one department to another, the way that it’s being done, sometimes is key. Sometimes it’s seamless, you go from one guy to another, just because you are not being thrown to some queue and you hear some Muzak and you have to wait a couple minutes, when the guy comes back and says I have such and such on the line- taking that ownership, if it doesn’t follow normal procedure, at one point the buck has to stop, and whomever has your call takes ownership and1 1 does what needs to be done. That’s the key difference to me, the bad and the good. Phil Bryant The ones I get most exercised about internally with our teams, is when we make our internal1 2 problem a customer problem.1 That’s the one’s where the veins jump out of my neck and you just literally wonder what somebody was thinking. Our job is to make sure that that doesn’t happen, our problem isn’t your problem, if we got to transfer somebody, there’s a seamless way to do it where it doesn’t impact the customer and they actually appreciate oh you got me to the right person, fantastic, I’ m so happy, because they saw my problem. The problem is when we try to make it as if it’s your problem because I have to transfer you someplace and you get the Muzak and you wait and1 2 it drives us all crazy Dave Perry Years ago I was in customer relations for IBM at their business division, and the way I saw it was a customer support issue was one way to increase the satisfaction of the customer. It’s a touch point with clients and if you can quickly and efficiently resolve their issue, they end the call saying I bought the right equipment from the right vendor and that’s why I should have bought Dell. At the end of it, versus somebody who’s never had a problem and never called Dell support and never experienced that, you have a touch point, this is why you are that important to us and we’ll make sure that by the end of the call, you’ll almost be happy to have had to call us1 1 and see why we provide you with great service. David Miketinac Last week I taught one of our leadership sessions, leadership imperative, and I could commit to you that every leader in that room if they got your call from your friend that was frustrated with Dell, I’m going to go somewhere else, they would talk to them and in a minute they would buy their next Dell but I’m assuming it would have been a little longer because they would over satisfy. I think at the core of every Dell employee and I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been here for 17 years or because I believe in the company so much, everyone believes that their job1 2 is just driving satisfied customers.11 2 Bob Benedetti Obviously there are some of them that may not think that way.1 David Miketinac And that’s the thing, I think that in those situations you can find if you can’t get to someone that1 2 you don’t believe has that at their core, send it to Phil or I.1 1 David Gair Can I ask, do you guys…is there an outlet to get what you need?1
  • Kathryn Lavallee I don’t think it’s that easy to find and I think that’s a big part of the issue, it’s not easy to find the higher up to go to if you don’t get satisfaction initially, which is why so many people give up in1 1 frustration.1 Eric Vallillee I agree that it’s great that you guys all obviously care about these issues and care about the company and I don’t think anyone doubts that, but the problem is when we call the customer service line, the buck stops with this certain person and after you’ve gone through that, nobody wants to be spending another two hours googling around trying to find who to email about this,1 1 nobody wants to do that, so, like you said, you just give up in frustration and just moving on.1 David Miketinac I think to, maybe, but I don’t want to speak out of turn, the segment of the business I manage is heavily relationship sales, the vast majority of it. I can tell you that it may be easier for someone who has a sales rep that’s been assigned to them for some time and saying to their sales person, I’m totally frustrated, take care of me, and that the sales rep would do that. I think that maybe we could probably do a better job of maybe making sure that when people get frustrated, we provide that sort of contact information. I suspect that the customer care and tech support folks1 1 maybe would be able to provide that, it’s a great actionable item for us. Bob Benedetti I don’t know if it would be again worth considering providing some sort of feedback mechanism into the system, because obviously you’re doing right, I quoted some of the unhappy ones, but I got a lot of people who said I’m happy with Dell and I’ve been a customer for 10 years. You do a good job in a lot of cases it’s not like I’m saying you are all doing it all bad, maybe the trick is1 2 to identify how you are doing that good job.1 David Miketinac This net promoter I was speaking about, where we send out all those surveys and I guess you are contingent on people responding to those surveys where they may have gotten to the point that they are fed up. I can tell you, any net promoter survey whether it’s positive or negative, the manager out bounds to that customer to say thank you for giving us a great survey or, what’s1 2 broken and how can I fix it.1 Bob Benedetti I deal with the company that hosts my blog, and every time I do an online chat with them, or a telephone service call, the online chat I get a pop up right away and it’s almost like you have to fill it out before you leave. Or else I get an email right after the phone call and it’s an easy form to fill out. It makes me happy to tell when someone does something right or wrong, because this company is priding itself on its customer service and so I think that there must be some better way to attract people to sign up for my blog and the pop up chases them off, you have to figure a1 2 way to do it so that you are not so that you aren’t chasing them off…11 2 David Miketinac Survey fatigue I think they refer to that as.1 Bob Benedetti I think again that there’s some way if you can get at least a statistically reliable feedback so when it’s going well… It’s probably more important to get the feedback when it’s going well, because then you can see where you are doing it right (yeah) and that’s the key, and anywhere I’ ve ever did, I looked too closely at what we did bad because I looked at what we did well and1 2 tried to just move it around and make sure everything went that way.11 2 David Miketinac That’s great feedback.1 Eric Vallillee Just on that, I agree with one of the things I’ve noticed with a few different companies is what they do is right when you call them, if you are willing to do a quick survey after press one and afterwards it only asked you two questions; were you satisfied and was your issue resolved. Press one for yes and press two for no. I think that would give good feedback not only on every1 2 single call, but it also gives the people in the call centers some incentive to work towards more…11 2 David Miketinac That’s a great idea.1 1 Eric Vallillee One thing that I really do like, and I know I’ve been kind of rough on Dell this morning...11 1 David Miketinac We like you being rough…1
  • Eric Vallillee One thing that I really do like is that when I usually buy a Dell customer I buy it through the website and I customize it, but there’s been once or twice where I had to call in to modify or I forgot this or whatever, and what I really like is that when I do that, I not only get an email back saying this is your modified order, but it’s from the specific person and you get their name, and you get their contact- it’s like you are actually dealing with a real person instead of an automated email and that not only makes you feel like you are more in touch with them, but it also gives you that feeling that if I did need to complain or something, I know who to call to resolve the1 1 issue1 David Miketinac It’s a great point, Eric. If I’m not mistaken, you guys keep me honest, I believe those emails are a function of feedback from our customers, they wanted that more personal touch. Great1 1 feedback.1 Brad Penner Every one of our email signatures will have our boss’s name on the bottom. So on the bottom of mine is Phil, for some reason if I get a customer escalation and I’ve lost my mind and I cannot1 1 figure out how to solve it, Phil will know, or Phil will figure out how to find my wits.1 David Miketinac It is interesting; we talk about being a very metrics-driven company. Commonality in email signatures where there is corporate mandate to have who is your boss, how am I doing, are you 100% satisfied with my boss’s email on there. You talked about that as a little incentive to insure you have a more positive customer experience. I know in the small medium business segment, it’s also on voicemail messages. We constantly want feedback, how we can do better,1 1 and the appetite’s there, please keep it coming. Lazlo Molnar One more thing…social media, in terms of an outlet, it’s actually a lot more powerful than customers realize. Any time we go on our Facebook pages…www.facebook.com/dell or Canada www.facebook.com/dellcanada or our twitter handles, the @dellcares team, we have our senior managers looking at these daily, and basically we escalate these to the right people right away for quick resolution because this is very visible to everyone and most of the time we have very happy customers come back talking about their great experience with their particular customer1 2 care reps so that’s a great outlet. David Miketinac I know there’s a segment where we talk about social media, there’s a book out there that some of you have read that is called the Thank You Economy and it talks about the power of social media. If you haven’t had a chance to read the book and understand the importance, I don’t1 1 want to ruin the book, I would do less of a job explaining it, pick it up it’s a great read Jason Duty So again, you can contact me for any support issue and I think I’ve heard a couple that sound like they are still open and I’d like to talk to people at some point today about those. I’ve mentioned my team @dellcares, my team is fully empowered to solve anything and everything. They are fully empowered to throw policy procedure process out the window. If it doesn’t make sense and if it’s not getting to a good resolution. I would also say consider that as a hotline for you and your extended communities. We’d love to help, we would love to help more people than we are today, and really we’re trying to get the word out about the positive experience we1 2 think we can provide through that channel. Sarah Richardson I think that Eric, to your point, Jason’s team does a great job handling the individual accounts as well as support so you know that it’s a real person. There’s a woman at Dell she’s helping me through my process and she’s kept me updated in real time and how they manage that account, so I think they are doing a good job, you have that direct person and especially for you guys who are so active and social, the fact that you can get an answer really quickly, right there…weve1 1 seen people respond really well.11 1
  • Mark Evans I think one of the challenges personally from customer service, the nature of the web these days people have these expectations that you are going to respond instantly and if you wait minutes if not hours, that level of dissatisfaction gets higher and higher. High expectations, to the point that you take your computer in and, no questions asked, they replace it- I think consumer expectations are rising and their tolerance for difficulties are decreasing to Mark’s point about fix versus buy, most people are saying forget about it, buy a new one. The other thing I find very interesting is we’ve become a really do it yourself consumer marketplace. If you have health problems, you don’t go to your doctor anymore you go on the internet to figure out if you are having a heart attack or not <laughs> and one of your problems is that people are trying to self-diagnose, you know they go to the Dell forms or somewhere else and either they will be delighted because they can find the answer or frustrated because everyone else is having the1 2 same problems they’re having. Jason Duty That’s a great point. That’s something that we thought we sort of did early on, a few years ago and my couple years in this role it’s become incredibly evident that thats sort of the behavior out there…and Bob, I think you mentioned why dont you guys share some of these solutions around common issues and thats something David and I are both trying to increase our efforts on both e-support and social media, so I know if my team, not only through @dellcares but through some of the Facebook pages and community forums and we’ve been really trying to broadcast some of those solutions around some of those common issues as early as possible. We don’t know that we have the right formula for that today other than deploying the masses to post solutions in a few different places. If you all have feedback on the best places to do that or1 1 where you and your communities go for information, we’d love that feedback. Bob Benedetti I don’t know, but I’ll think of one company as an example. My opinion as the absolute world’s worst customer assistance, bar none, they service from a Canadian call center not an offshore issue, which is Bell. However <laughs> if you are a more savvy customer, you’ll find they have a dedicated forum called dslreports.com where you can put in that problem and a Bell representative deals with it and the results are great. These guys got the ability to throw away the policy book and things got done, but you have to be into it enough to find this forum. This is one of the things that I found that I never understood how they had this service and yet over the years continued to provide the world’s worst customer service. Even if you pushed them hard enough, one of the expensive guys from Ottawa calls you, all he is he’s been trained better to1 2 hold your hand, but doesn’t do better. David Miketinac Bob, it’s always interesting as a transplant to your country, I’m always interested in, we’ve talked about who provides the worst, Bell was one of them but who provides the best customer1 1 service. Who should Dell look to in Canada for the best?1 Lior Hershkovitz I think I can answer in financial services industry. ING Direct is fantastic, Bank City which is a credit union in British Columbia, fantastic. I think you should look at ING Direct, particularly what the CEO Peter Shepard is his name, he has his own Twitter and Facebook page and actually directly communicates with customers. I think it’s a very personal touch and just to add to what the gentlemen said about Bell. I’ve never seen anything like this, I think this company is possessed <laughs> in terms of really bad customer service…a couple of years ago they had a lot of their call centers in India. They found that even though they were saving money sending all the calls over there, they realized that the customer service was so horrendous people were leaving them for the competition, so during the Olympics during 2010 they were the main sponsor and they ran a huge advertising campaign that they brought the customer call centers back here to Canada, because the ones offshore were so incompetent that was a big marketing point for them, you are calling from Canada, you speak with someone in Canada. It’s something you should take a look at because I know the enterprise consumer has the option to speak with someone in the US. If you are on the consumer level, you will basically go offshore- I don’t have a problem with that just as long as they solve the problem but more often than not, they don’t solve the problem. They just frustrate you even more and whatever the money you save over there, in a couple years down the road, I’m not going to deal with this crap anymore, I’ll just go to the competition. Apple has good customer service, I know people with apple products, mac books, they said they are not perfect, but in terms of getting things done they are a lot better. A lot less transfers, the reps are somewhat more empowered to think outside the box. Like that example when you brought in the iPad 2 they just exchanged it right away. I think this is something to take a look at. As far as Canadian companies, I think ING does very well, also customer service if you call them there is immediately you are transferred, there is no such thing1 1 as the press one, two, three, so you might want to examine that.
  • Eric Vallillee My favorite Canadian company for phone service is actually Scotia Bank. They used to have some of the transfer problems you guys had because it was stuff that only the branch could do and of course the branch closes at 4pm. Then there is stuff only the 1800 number people can do but in the last couple of years I’ve seen that’s pretty much disappeared and I can call the 1800 number until 9pm, and then anyone can do whatever I need them to in my account, look up whatever info I need. I always have good service, I’m not getting transferred, I’m always getting a resolution. I think I only had one time there was confusion and their supervisor called1 2 me back in ten minutes and it was resolved anyway. I would suggest looking at them.1 David Miketinac Funny you should say that, I bank at Scotia Bank and the day after I set up my account up and I got a call from the bank president and now she’s my bank contact. I thought it was old school1 2 like the US. Bob Benedetti TELUS. I’ve been really impressed, I switched my mobile service from Bell to TELUS. And I paid a cancellation fee to do it, that’s how mad I was at Bell. I can’t even think of an occasion where I had to talk to more than one person. When there has been one occasion for a call back, it came when it was supposed to come. I know the people are working from scripts, but they seem like better scripts or they are better trained or they care more I don’t know what it is, but you get an answer from them. On a stupid mistake, I started getting $25 fee for text messages and clearly at some point when I was half asleep, I put my cell phone number in one of those boxes probably. Had I been at Bell, they would have told me, you signed up for it, tough luck Charlie. The guy from TELUS said, well since you got your bill you’ve gotten four more of them. I’ll walk you through how to cancel it and if you do it while we’re talking, I’ll give you your money back. It wasn’t like, I’ll have to transfer you- this is the one guy I had on the phone and hadn’t generally gotten where one person handles the call, who can do what’s necessary to deal with the call. They are ready to do whatever it takes. I tried an unreasonable request once, it didn’t work. <laughs> If you are going to look at one in Canada, from a fairly large customer1 1 base, I’d say TELUS Is a good one. Mike Agerbo Vital has really turned things around as well. When you phone in for tech support you get through to a real person right away, they listen to you first and then route you to the appropriate person you don’t have to keep digging through numbers to hopefully get to the right person which you don’t usually and get transferred a few times being able to talk to the person I was1 2 routed to the right person right away who fixed my issue quickly.1 Dave Perry One I called a few years back was both for the actual console issue and then a XBox Live issue, it was XBox support and they’ve got some kind of automated voice system that’s actually pretty impressive and I was quickly routed to the right technical department. I had the red ring of death and had my console replaced and I had an issue with my gamer tag. Both times quickly get to a flesh, a human being, but the process of doing so wasn’t – that’s not what I said, you actually1 2 speak and the voice recognition was pretty impressive, eye opening.1 1 Mark Evans The flipside of that, to give you insight into a company with bad customer service, Rogers…11 1 Jody Arsenault Just wait, unless you go to their Rogers care on Twitter, they’re actually….11 1 Kathryn Lavallee Phone service is by far the worst phone service I’ve ever used. I’ve never seen one that is harder11 1 Jody Arsenault I use Rogers And I love them.1 Kathryn Lavallee I have Rogers And I will not call them and their website is constantly going down- horrific1 1 customer experience.1 Jody Arsenault I don’t like their website, but it depends on how you reach them. Because when you use1 1 twitter…11 1 Kathryn Lavallee But not everybody uses twitter…1
  • Mark Evans That’s a good point. With twitter, it’s a good and bad thing, because people have learned that they can use twitter, they’ll get great care because it’s a public forum, companies tend to bend of backwards to do it. The frustrating thing for people who don’t use twitter, you don’t get the same level of service and this is particularly relevant for Rogers. Rogers will get back to you on twitter right away, but on their website it’s like they don’t want to deal with customer service and it’s so hard to access information. I try to call them, but I can’t find a way to call them, so1 1 you use twitter and then finally someone gets back to you. That’s not the way it should work.1 Eric Vallillee The way you are treated on the phone every 30 seconds being told to use their website,1 1 because…11 111 11 Kathryn Lavallee The problem is, even when you call, they are not very clear about how to get through to a real person , you go through a list of options and finally choose an option to contact them, they give you five minutes to give you an address so you can write them a letter. The first time I got that message, I thought that’s all their was and hung up the phone it wasn’t until the next time I called, I realized that if I stayed on the line after that, after probably ten minutes of waiting, I could actually talk to a human being. It’s agonizing and I’ll almost do anything not to call that1 1 number if I can. Stuart R. Crawford One of my mentors when I started my business taught me two valuable lessons about communicating to customers and clients. One way was to communicate back to your client the way they want to be communicated to. If they are on twitter, phone, email- never assume that they want to communicate in the way that you communicate. The second one was, during a crisis or issue, there’s no such thing as over communicating. The worst thing that could happen is if I submit a ticket for support to Dell and I hear nothing back, I assume that the ball has gotten dropped or nothing is getting done. I don’t mind getting 500 emails back if we are still working on the issue, because my military career taught me when we didn’t hear anything back from our forward operating posts, we assumed the worst. Even if our officer guy said that there is nothing to report, no change, we knew everybody was okay. We took that into business, and took it to our clients and said- we are still working on the problem, working on resolving it, that was good enough to let them know we haven’t dropped the ball. I think people get upset when they don’t hear anything back and there is no communication coming back. A lot of my clients are in the service industry as well, they are working as front line people for Dell and they are the ones that get the feedback from their clients when things break down so they also want to get that feedback and feel the love from their vendors because IT service providers are a loyal bunch but when things start breaking down their easy to switch from Dell to like HP, they don’t even think about it, they just do it. Then they realize after that was a big mistake I should have stayed where I was because the service at the other place is worse. Not to say that Dell is good and the rest bad, it’s just an example that that can happen. Coming back, any issue that’s going on, I would appreciate being communicated with constantly until resolution and then that follow up after the issue was resolved to make sure everything is still working. In IT, things can break down again and again and it’s nice to know that the partner the vendor I’m working with, at least has- and it could be automated as much as possible, but knowing that there is still someone I can1 2 reach out to when an issue arises. That extra step.11 2 Dave Perry That extra step at the end when an issue is resolved…closure.
  • Bob Benedetti One another outfit you might want to look into- ten years ago, their customer service would have made Dell look great, which is Videotron in Quebec. They’re integrated communications company, those of you who don’t know it, they are publishing television stations, they sell home phone internet service and cable tv. They’re second only to Rogers In size in Canada. Ten years ago they were awful. It was almost as though it was an effort to get anyone to talk to. Today they are the best just in general, companies like Lesshay that do consumer marketing reports, this company consistently comes out on top, way above anybody else, as far as customer service goes. They seem to go out of their way to make it work. I called some time ago just because I was thinking about switching from Bell because Bell was overcharging me so I wanted to find out a technical question. I wanted to know if the guy comes to my house to hook up my phone and internet and they have to put the router in the basement or the modem in the basement. I don’t know the answer to that but I’ll check on that for you and I’ll call you back. Twenty minutes later someone called me back with an answer. They contract out their installations, so they did some work to find it. I was really pleased with that one experience with them. If you read the surveys they do, as to customer service for telephone companies and internet providers, and cable companies, Videotron is consistently number one and ten years ago they were number1 1 630 on those lists. Nancy Polance I just wanted to mention that I got a comment on my blog yesterday about Dell and it said to tell them their support is awesome. He had a hardware problem, which was going to take a few weeks to resolve but he got phone calls every couple of days, just to give him an update for1 2 what’s happening, so he’s very happy.1 1 Kathryn Lavallee That’s that over communication and I agree. That makes a huge difference any time you need to have something replaced, anytime you are working through a problem. It is the most awesome1 2 feeling in the world that people are constantly working to make sure you are satisfied. Nancy Polance Now, I have a question. One of the readers on my blog want to know why you don’t have a physical location or store where you can go in for troubleshooting. She mentioned, she’s a customer for ten years and her father is also a happy customer. Not everyone is on social media and they would want to go in for troubleshooting or just go in and look at and experience new products you have and play with the gadgets. I know you guys had kiosks years back, but they want to know why. They are happy customers, but they want to know why you don’t have a1 1 physical location for customers to go to.1 Phil Bryant We’ll have forty in the US before Thanksgiving. They’re will be another series that rolls out in January and another group that’ll role out in the spring. So, we definitely heard that call and we1 1 are trying to get them out there as soon as we can.11 1 Eric Vallillee Will they be kiosks or stores?1 Phil Bryant The first phase will be different than the prior version of the mall locations, but it’s still a small1 1 mall location and there are other formats we are looking into for later in the year.11 1 Kathryn Lavallee Is that forty across north America?11 1 Phil Bryant The initial phase is across the US, the Canada piece will come in the second phase.1 2 Eric Vallillee Are you considering ways to look at…apple store?1 Phil Bryant We are looking at all different formats right now. The format we have chosen to go with first, right now we are familiar with it, we’ve done a lot of testing over the last nine months, we’ve tested it in four different cities, various formats and different models. The one we are rolling out is the one we had the best customer feedback on, we’ve extensively tested them. A couple things that will be a little different this time, certain of the skews like the new 14Z you mentioned, it will actually be in stock on location so you can take it home that day unlike the previous model where it all came off at Dell.com. So if you want to do complete configure to1 2 order, we’ll still ship it to you.
  • Nancy Polance Thats another thing she mentioned was that her father was kind of frustrated just being online. I find it is beneficial to have it like an Apple store. If you see that people are in a mall…it’s packed in there, you know what I mean, and there are people troubleshooting and people are helping you on the spot and that’s what people want. They want to have their problem solved as soon as possible. There’s been a stigma in the past for Dell, that’s set off customers. The opportunity to go in and see what Dell’s actually offering, myself included, I would like to see what’s going on. In the past I’ve had some bad experiences but I think it will bring old1 1 customers back is what I’m saying. I think it would be very beneficial for Dell.1 2 Phil Bryant It goes back to what Mark said, one of the reasons for getting back into that is there’s a certain1 2 way you can present the product and present the brand, represent the..... Eric Vallillee I think it’s great because it does make people get more excited about the brand. You always hear these stories about people camping out outside Apple stores and I don’t think there are any other brands you get these stories, not as often at least. I’m not one of these people that walk around like, oh, I have my iphone, but there are people that do feel that having that little apple on the back is something to really be excited and proud of. I think Dell used to have that, the little round thing on the back of the computer. I think it’s lost it, but I think it’s something you could1 1 build back up again because they really are good products. Mark Graham One observation I had last time I called in 12 months ago, it is really quick when you call the 800 number to get to a sales person but its three or four different buttons to get to customer support. My view is that it should almost be the opposite if we adopt this. If we believe that customer service is the new form of marketing in the 21 Century. Albeit a much smaller company then Dell but if you look at a company like Zappos which is in a low margin, very competitive business, not dissimilar to Dell. They are a little smaller than Dell, but you can call the one number, they are fun, they are crazy and they are empowered to solve the problem. They have free shipping back and forth and I’m not necessarily saying that’s the right thing for Dell, l but it was the equivalent of an easy button with regard to customer service. You call and you can get to a person within 15 seconds. I think those are the tiny little tweaks that make a difference in the life of a frustrated, upset customer. As we’ve discussed here, I don’t think many people get that but it’s so simple. I don’t know that it has to cost that much. A sales manager might be upset with me and say, hey make it more difficult to get to the sales person but I almost feel that with an entrenched brand like Dell, so many people, with such a huge installed base, to make that customer service experience on the phone easy and quick, it would1 2 be a huge boost on sales. David Miketinac That’s a great point and another thing, Eric. It’s funny that, as having been at Dell 17 years, only about 9 months of that was selling consumer products. So it’s always interesting to me when we talk about the kind of the flash appeal of Dell. We’re talking a lot about the consumer brand and it’s a flagship brand for us, very critical to our company, it’s our company’s roots. I would invite all of you to read about Dell in the business sector over the last year or two. I know that our channel friends over there in the corner, one of the things they love most about Dell is our push toward solutions and intellectual property and what the companies we’ve acquired over the last two years are honestly cutting edge technological products, and storage; our acquisition of Compellent, our acquisition of EqualLogic. Our channel loves it because for the longest time Dell was seen only as a consumer client provider. If you go out to small businesses and go out to channel partners and go out to larger companies, that’s no longer the case. When you are an account executive in one of the businesses, and you are in front and you are talking to customers, you are talking to the CEO and asking, what is your problem and how can technology solve it. There’s all kind of things that you all connect with all the time, like security, virtualization, cloud computing, all these industry trends that weve kind of escaped talking about as weve talked about clients that seventeen years of selling solutions in the enterprise class products... you want to talk about being really excited about being with Dell maybe all of you could take a1 1 look at our product offerings for businesses and I think it would give you…1 2 Eric Vallillee …I think your products are great…11 2 David Miketinac …flash appeal…1 Eric Vallillee …flash appeal too, but the problem is when people are walking on the street, they don’t see big colorful flyers all over the place and these days that’s important, people see that from Apple1 2 everywhere…1
  • 1 2 David Miketinac Completely…1 Eric Vallillee And when you walk into a Futureshop you’ve got HP and Acer and all these other companies1 2 and it’s right there. With dell, you see it online and it sort of stops there.1 David Miketinac I completely agree with that. I think the only thing that I would add to that, I think we’re like that in the storage and cloud computing space. You’re definitely right and I definitely want to get where everywhere we see that our brand is out there like what our friends at Apple have. I look at cloud computing and I look at the Compellent and Equallogic solutions, channel partners1 2 love those products and they make great money from them. Mark Evans I don’t want to cut you off, I know you are very passionate about the Dell product line <laughs> but I will. It’s 11:30, we promised people a break, catch up on email things like that. We’ll come back at 11:45 with a panel on product purchase discussion. It’s been a really great discussion, I was wondering whether we were going to cover this much ground and in how long we would do it. Great insight, but good and bad experiences, I think we got a lot of value out of1 1 it.
  • Brad Penner Speak to that. Also, some of my counterparts are in the back that do our merchandizing marketing and online. Well certainly engage them if we want to talk anything there. You know just to kind of lay a little background on a few things as I was listening to the first session and some of the things we have done in sales. We have about a hundred and sixty (160) folks in Hydrabad, India that do the English speaking portion of our sales and about 45 folks in Casablanca, Moraco. One of the things that seemed to kind of come up in support and things like that was about communication. One of the things we invested heavily in sales is communication and not just the language but the culture. How do you talk to your customers? What kind of questions do you ask them? They may not know the right question. Many times when I get a sales escalation, I think I wish my sales rep would have asked me that. We put a lot of emphasis1 1 on training.1 One of the things that came up earlier was about scripting. That is something that I really dislike. There are some things that you have to script like you need your DFS (Dell Financial Services) Terms and Conditions, Export compliance and things like that. We threw a lot of that away and said, “Let’s go hire great people, give them great training and let them have a dialogue with the customer and lets engage with them where they want to engage”. We have chat functions where you can chat with us or go online with us. If you want us to walk you though the web process, we can actually walk you through it on your screen. Were looking at all these areas. We are really focused on how we sell a solution. The customers are changing the way they use technology very rapidly. We are trying to change with that. I would really like to get some – start with a question around what do you like or what don’t you like about your purchasing1 1 experience with Dell? What do your followers like or not like? Eric Vallillee I love being able to compare all the different options. That is something you don’t get with a lot of other companies. Obviously, you don’t have three computers in front of you that you can play around with but it is good to know why this one is 200 dollars more and this one is 300 dollars1 2 more and have that broken down for you.1 Kathryn Lavallee I know that my family has quite a few Dell computers. My sister just graduated last year and her graduation gift was a Dell laptop that my mom and my step dad got for her. One of the things they adore about Dells is how customizable they are. That is the one thing that keeps my stepfather coming back again and again. For him, that is a huge selling point because her1 2 computer is completely different from his computer but they are both perfect for them.1 1 Mark Evans Does anyone else have a few experiences good bad or indifferent?1 Joe Mallon I already mentioned to Jason the problem I had last year where I purchased on line where my delivery was delayed and I could not get feedback as to why it was delayed or what problem was1 1 causing the delay.1 Eric Vallillee I actually put an order in last January for items other than computers that I was buying. It was on Boxing day. I got a whole bunch of it on time, but some were delayed. I got emails that said why things were delayed. I understand why things get stalled and it turned out to be a good experience overall. There was one wireless keyboard that I ordered that was wrong. I got an email letting me know that the one that I wanted was not available anymore. They asked if they1 1 could change it and I said sure. Phil Bryant I understand there was one person down there that had an issue with a delay for about thirty (30)1 2 days and you couldn’t get any information?11 2 Joe Mallon Yes, there were no emails. I could only get information through tracking it.11 2 Phil Bryant So there was just no status available? All along, you didn’t get any update?1 Joe Mallon I submitted a ticket and I got a non committal reply about when the delivery date was going to1 2 be. You mentioned a survey. I don’t believe I got a survey. This was last year.11 2 Jason Duty Maybe it was February or March when the government monopolizes their last minute binge. Mark Evans There is a lot of talk this morning about the retail experience and how being able to take your computer into a store makes a difference. I am curious about people’s attitude about the online1 1 experience. Is that a differentiator for anyone?1
  • Mike Agerbo I get a lot of callers into my radio show. It is a call in show. Generally Dell is highly regarded from the purchasing side. A lot of callers would like to see more of a retail presence for people to actually take their computer in to a location. Many of the older people don’t like to ship things1 1 back and forth. David Miketinac So Brad had mentioned real quick the organization that supports consumers. I would just like to differentiate real quickly the small and medium business team here in Canada. Of my 8 direct reports, 6 are bilingual so we have both languages integrated into all we do. We have technical sales. We have services sales. Software and peripheral sales. We do have folks in India, that do chat for unassigned relationship small medium business customers. That is very, very small1 2 portion of our business. Mark Evans What I find interesting about the retail experience these days is that web is a great research tool . Within a digital age, there is still the touch issue. People want a tangible product. When you are talking about more expensive products, you can buy in a book. It is a challenge when you are trying to advocate that experience online. It would be interesting to get some insight about how1 1 that Dell buying experience has evolved or will evolve.11 1 David Miketinac Are you surprised that it is that big?1 Bob Benedetti Again, along the same lines, people like to touch the product. I for example, read all my books on my reader, yet I don’t like shopping for books online. I usually go into a store and scan the barcode in and then order it on line. If there is a way you can get the tactile experience. I think the consumer market is open. If anyone has had to buy a computer at Future Shop or Best Buy. If you get someone who knows what it is or what it does, you are lucky. There reps over sell them. People get disappointed and people bring them back. If you can figure a way. That market is gettable. The trouble is it is a commodity now. The prices are not exactly the most exciting place in the world to be. But, the market for specialty laptops is sitting there waiting to be picked if you can figure a way to combine the touchy feeling thing versus the getting the versatility you have about ordering on line. I am boring. My personal experience with Dell has always been positive. Everything came when it was supposed to come. People are weary of going online and1 1 ordering something for 500 dollars.1 Kathryn Lavallee You definitely exclude some of your demographic. There are some people that will not ever purchase anything online. I am sure they will come around, but it will be at an age where everyone will be shopping online. They were raised to believe that your credit card information1 1 is something to guard with your life.11 1 Bob Benedetti Of course, they will happily give it to a waiter in a skuzzy bar. Nancy Polance I was telling Brad that the older generation is not as computer savvy. I use a relative as an example. All he knows how to do on a computer is Google and YouTube. If he wanted something with computers, he would ask one of us and we would go with him to pick it out. With his poor hands, that touch is very important to him. The touch issue will really help that1 2 demographic that won’t or can’t go online. Stuart R. Crawford The question I was going to ask is “What is the percentage of purchasing? How much is from the SMB space verses consumer and enterprise. Our biggest challenge in the SMB and enterprise space is that our clients this instant gratification type of people. Many of you in the room are that way. We want it right now. They fail when they plan to hire staff. So we are always the last notification and we have to drop ship it. In the IT space, sometimes that means going to Tech Data or Ingram and buying two distributions and getting them over night shipped. Which is good that Dell has relationships in that distribution, but we don’t get that specialized product that we want. The clients who plan effectively and are ok with ordering it online or through the rep. When I bought this laptop, I actually called it in on the phone and he walked me through the whole process. That was a very pleasurable experience by the way, It was great versus buying it online. But I still have the instant gratification. I was asking how fast you are going to get it to1 1 me. Knowing I had to wait seven to ten (7-10) business days was tough.11 1 David Miketinac It ships fast and then just sits.1 Stuart R. Crawford Exactly. I want to know in Dells overall revenue model. What is the percentage of the SMB, Enterprise and consumer. That is what should be the focus of how we deliver to market. It makes1 1 sense to me from a business point of view.
  • Brad Penner Eighty five percent (85%) Dell’s revenue comes from our other businesses outside of consumer. However, Consumer is a big brand awareness in the marketplace. Every consumer is also a works for a company or owns a company. I know a lot of you in here own companies. It is that whole Prosumer and consumerization that are seeing a lot of changes. One of the things. We talked about delivery. Fast shipping is something we are very focused on in Canada. We know we want to get the products to customers faster and we want to be accurate with our delivery. Chat sales give more accurate lead times. If you are going to completely customize. We work very diligently on reducing those lead times. We are working very hard. David can talk more about fast ship in SMB. As we move into the holiday buying season, you are going to see more and more ships fast options from us because we know that folks want that product as quickly as possible. Our customers shop multiple channels. It is pretty rare today that we get a customer that phones us that has not been online or vice versa. With the Dell experience centers, it will1 2 just be one more opportunity for us to meet our customers where they want to be met. David Miketinac Ships fast was a big issue for me. When I came here to Canada, I looked at the amount of ships fast that they were selling and it was actually less. It kind of stymied me. We have put a lot of emphasis on ships fast. Well over 200% unit growth in ships fast product. It is funny that you mentioned something. You mentioned. As a visitor to your country, I see a lot of differences between the US and Canada. You mentioned that you shop in bookstores. Bookstores in the US1 1 are almost impossible to find now.11 1 Bob Benedetti Well also, it almost impossible to find here too.1 David Miketinac There is a pretty sizable Chapters bookstore here just a couple of blocks from my house. In fact, we bought a Texas cookbook at the one right around the corner from our house. Do you think there is a difference between what Canadian customers want verses what customers from the states want from Dell? As far as getting things quickly and shopping online. It seems to me that customers in the states want to shop more online verses customers in Canada but I don’t have1 1 any empirical data to support that.1 Nancy Polance I know myself that if I want to make a large purchase, I want to go and see it first. I will buy it online. However, I need to see if it works for me first. My American friends say “I buy1 1 everything online.” I don’t know. Maybe there is a difference.1 Jody Arsenault One difference is, Amazon is hugely popular in the states. In Canada, the bloggers say that no1 1 one is buying that way.1 Kathryn Lavallee I personally do a lot of online shopping. I think it is an amazing tool. I know I am very much in1 1 the minority.1 Eric Vallillee I think it is telling though. I think the only reason that Chapters does well with online sales is because they discount their online sales by 30%. We have about five big box Chapters book stores in Ottawa. The fact that they can slice their prices by 30-35% to match Amazon is telling. I think there is a market for that mixed kind of approach. People want to see and touch the1 1 products then go home and order online or maybe order from the kiosk. David Miketinac Speaking from a complex solutions perspective, I find that in Canada, Canadian customers want us to dispatch a lot of resources to scope out very complex solutions driven verses in the US where it seems like they are more apt to have discussions over the phone. I do believe that Canadian customers require more field presence, especially in the small and medium business base. I find that the channel partners in some of these local cities provide such a huge benefit to Dell and the partners which is why we are seeing such traction in the channel. It is very curious to me because I agree that as we go and build out businesses that map the small and medium1 2 business, we have got to have a much more heavy field team1 Kathryn Lavallee I think that is probably because small business is such a huge part of Canadian culture. And because of that, people are used to having that one on one personal approach when they shop anywhere. The country was founded on small business and it is still everywhere very prevalently. That is what people look for. If they don’t have their guy to go to, it is not the same1 2 experience. Mark Evans Lunch is going to come in at 12:30. If you want to continue conversation, just grab your lunch1 1 and sit back down because we have barely scratched the surface here.
  • Eric Vallillee I was going to say that all of my business is intangible stuff. Still, it is very rare that I will ever have a customer that just wants to talk over the phone. Everybody wants to come in and see the samples in person and go over that kind of stuff and have that one on one physical contact whether we meet at their office or somewhere else. Nobody really wants to just sort of do everything on line. For something that is nothing to come and touch or come and see, it is pretty telling. When you are talking about buying five or six computers for your business, I can see why people want to see how it will work for their employees and want to talk to someone one on1 2 one. Brad Penner I am kind of curious about financing a little bit. Whether it is consumer or whether it is small to1 1 medium business. How important is it to you and your customers to have a financing option?1 Stuart R. Crawford Financing is huge. I would not be able to run my business cash flow without some sort of financing. I learned early in my career. It is funny, I am writing a blog for Amex on this right now. You know that the investing in a depreciating asset is such a foolish position in my opinion. I would rather keep my money and invest in something that appreciates. Computers and cars are depreciating assets. After three to five years, there are no longer any value left. I would rather lease that get the tax advantages up front and preserve cash flow in my business verses buying a laptop for fourteen or fifteen hundred dollars. I will eventually giving it to my kids in five years. Actually, eighteen months seems to be my churn on my machine these days. I will pay this thing off. I am used to paying two or three hundred dollars every month for technology. From a business point of view, it is a sound strategy. For micro-small businesses, there might be a different strategy. My company is six people so it just makes sense for me to lease or finance1 1 technology.1 1 Mark Evans Price has been mentioned a lot and commodities. Basically, if it’s broke, throw it away. I am curious about how price plays into the whole buying decision and how do you decide how much1 2 of an influence it has on the brand you buy.1 Lior Hershkovitz I think that pricing is very important. First of all financing is very important when you are independent and all of my systems are bought interest free. I also try to buy when you can get pretty big discounts. If you have repeat customers, I think you should have an option. I think it is important that communication is important. I think there should be a quota. If you buy x amount of product from Dell within a certain time period, you should enjoy preferential interest rates and better terms and maybe slightly lower prices because it is customers who constantly buy from1 2 you, you have brand loyalty. Consumers who buy even more should have dedicated discount.1 Eric Vallillee The business side of that is different. In terms of consumers, look at Apple. Often you are paying a lot more for the same thing that just has the apple stamp on it. There is something to be said for flashy products. People will pay for that. Dell is very good at sales. There is often 30% off sales and I am often drawn to that kind of marketing plus the very good product. I am not going to be1 2 as worried about one or two hundred dollars if the quality is there. Lazlo Molnar We have gotten a lot of feed back on price. We do a lot of border shopping. There are many1 1 people who buy PO Boxes on the border to pick up their products.11 1 Stuart R. Crawford I will drive to Niagara Falls for 3.44 a gallon gas.11 1 Phil Bryant That is one of those US/Canadian differences.1 David Miketinac I have found in previous months when the Canadian dollar was at an all time high that the cross1 1 border shopping didn’t happen more.11 1 Bob Benedetti It is a warranty issue.1 David Miketinac When shipping across the border, I never approve it unless we can meet the export compliance guidelines. I understand the cross border shopping but it is important to understand that we as a1 1 company are following those agreements.11 1 Kathryn Lavallee Customs can be a huge issue.11 1 David Miketinac It is a compliance issue and it is one that we follow well.
  • Bob Benedetti Pricing is an issue. Best Buy and Staples have created the concept of the $499 computer. It doesn’t matter what brand it is. If you look at their circulars, it just says $499 computer and doesn’t say much at all. People are not being trained in terms of what they should be buying and they buy something with a slow CPU and they wonder why they are not happy with them when they get them home. It has impacted the market to the point where it is tough when someone goes online and actually reads about what they need. A lot of people buy for their business at Staples or Best Buy. It is tough to try to inform the consumer. Cameras for example have not1 2 been impacted as much by this price sensitivity. It is easier to sell someone on a better camera.11 2 Stuart R. Crawford The consumerization of IT is where I can buy a 499 laptop, then want to hook it into the server. David Miketinac You bring up a fantastic point. The technical resources and the people we have in our small to medium business group are really putting a huge focal point and I think Dell has been doing this for several years. Channel is an extension of this. We are going out and using technology to solve big business problems. The client connecting into that other business problem is definitely a big piece for us. Right now, the technology that we are spending a lot of time on now are server, storage, help solve those problems. I honestly believe that all of our client sales clearly customers always say that price is important. But for the IT professional and for the small medium business that has a small back office, the compatibility comes at a premium and they don’t want to sacrifice the compatibility for price. From a small medium business perspective, we are focusing a lot of attention on server storage. Clearly the client bolts into that but the compatibility and the usability is mission critical for small to medium businesses. We are not1 1 going to run to that low price band. It is just not who Dell is. David Gair You touch on real issues. A lot of merchandizing Best Buy and Future Shop. At the same time, a lot of you will pay a premium for Apple. What do you value? What would make you realize a1 2 $750 notebook? What would make work for you.1 Eric Vallillee I think that companies like Apple that get people to pay that premium are really good at marketing. They simplify and clearly explain what this computer will do for you. I am sure all of us in this room know what the difference between a 1 GB hard drive and a 1 TB hard drive. So why not market it the way the iPod people used to do and say this computer can hold this many movies from iTunes, this kind of thing in this many seconds. Oh you want to talk to your grandkids? You can do video chat. Have the technical specs there in the background, but really play up the specifics of this is what you can do with this computer. On the smaller size, businesses that don’t have dedicated IT people, so it is going to be the lawyer who owns the practice making the ultimate decision. Tell them what they can do with your servers or with Cloud. I know Microsoft has been doing a lot of marketing with the cloud technology. For those people who don’t care about what a gigahertz is, if you can tell them clearly, quickly and visually what you can do with it, that is where you will break through and people will pay more1 2 for your product.1 Brad Penner I think that is what we do well online or over the phone. We have been really successful in the medium to high price bands. On the consumer side, if you haven’t seen some of our new products, we have them over here. We have one of the strongest portfolios and line ups that we ever had in consumer. Our 15z product was very successful in the thin and powerful. It made a1 2 validation there. The new 14z.11 2 So take a look at those during the breaks and you will see a lot more.1 Eric Vallillee On the more info button, let it pop up with a Dell recommends. It really is helpful to see the1 2 difference. Dave Perry The big difference between what Apple has done is that they are not selling nuts and bolts. They are selling an experience. Whether it is on the consumer side with this is what you can do, even on the enterprise and small medium side of this is what it will allow you to do to grow your business into something bigger. If I look at your website and it has XPS and gaming. If I don’t know what XPS is, why would I click on that? When I need a computer, I need it to do something, not because it has a faster CPU verses this model or that model. There is a task that I want to achieve whether it is business, personal or both. If you clearly get that message out, it is much easier for me from a consumer who doesn’t know how computers work but knows what they want to do, it is much easier for that experience to come through. If once I get there, the support is there and I can call and get someone on the line instead of pushing a bunch of numbers, then I am hooked. Why would I consider a couple of hundred bucks if at a mission1 1 critical time, I can get it fixed and move on.
  • Stuart R. Crawford I don’t know how many Dell folks that know this. There is a great book out there called Stuck with Y by Simon Sineck and he clearly defines the difference between Apple and Dell and how Apple was successful in their market at high value high priced product and Dell was in the (they don’t call it lower price) . Apple was selling an experience. He compares Dell to being more focused on the speeds and feeds. This was very true in the early days and it is changing with time. When this book was written it was probably very true. Apple was selling experience and1 2 the other IT was selling speeds and feeds1 Jason Duty I would argue that Apple has gone a step further than that particularly with the iPad and iPhone. Where you used to buy devices with a specific purpose in mind. Now people buy the devices and1 2 then see what they can go do with this thing.1 Stuart R. Crawford We talk to our clients every day about how their product has to become an app that they can install on an iPad. When they get there, gone are the days of installing CDs. That is where we are1 2 going to get to. Bob Benedetti Some of the concept of selling Why Dell is a marketing problem that has to be answered. I know that most of the business comes from other places, but the consumer and the small business user who functions much like a consumer. Otherwise, they are brought into this price thing and they don’t know why they should spend more money on something. If there is a way that Dell can be identified. It is all experience. I heard about Dell twenty something years ago because a friend bought one. I bought a Dell desktop and I liked it and told friends about it. Then some years later, I got into a position where I was a buying authority for a fairly large company and as a result, bought 600 Dell desktops so the impact you have on the consumer today can be the VP of the big enterprise. We are all even when we are spending in these days our company’s money. We think about experience. Gone is the day where people say you can’t lose out by buying IBM. Maybe Dell can get the “You can’t lose your job by buying a Dell”. The impact of the consumer1 1 or individual user is more important than his dollar number would indicate to the business. Tara Lemieux I think this is really wonderful feedback. From a consumer marketing perspective, we are investing a lot more in brand recognizing that this is really a tough place to compete be when you see those flyers every day driving price points down. It is really difficult for us so we really do have to take it up a couple of notches and explain why. It is tough to compete. You have heard a lot about the 15z and 14z. The thin and powerful line up is all about this new elevated1 2 brand. It has taken us a while to get there for sure. David Miketinac I think the strategy from a marketing perspective around pricing. To me was always a little bit difficult because I don’t think on the small medium business side that we ever made a focus to make it a price game. I think as we become a more enterprise, advanced systems laden organization, we have really put all of our marketing and focus on what are your problems and how can technology solve that problem? I am just a firm believer in our Compellent and Equallogic products, our storage products is that these products are so cutting edge and so economical by the TB, that it not only attracts CEOs. Not only is it world class technology, but it is secure and going to save you money. There is another old saying that if you get in the back office, you get in the front office a little more easily. Right? I think for us, our key focus is going to be providing these technology solutions that help those small business and medium businesses grow and thrive. I am a firm believer that if they like that technology and the client will come along with it. It has been a strategy we have been using for some quarters thinking that we could get better at it. The real focal point for us is going to be on the enterprise side server storage, services I think is a huge focus for us. The size of Dell is immense and the amount of intellectual property that we possess and we acquire will help to channel. We will help these small businesses. I believe they will find their way to Dell Client that way. They seem to be responding. Especially if you go look at IDC numbers on service and storage, I like where Dell1 1 sits.11 1 Bob Benedetti For most of us here, our feet are firmly placed in the consumer realm. Maybe it works for Dell. David Miketinac Part of our new brand campaign is a focal point on how technology helps companies and helps people. If you go and look at the market data with regards to what Dell is doing. As a consumer myself, I want to buy that technology that not only rings true for me in my home, but also is1 2 helping companies.
  • Nancy Polance You know what was really nice to see from Dell was the Do More videos. They were amazing because I actually sat there and looked through all of them. They were well made and high quality. They showcased all the services, each product and to me, it shows you what you can do with the actual hardware and how it would fit every walk of life whether you are a consumer or a1 1 business person or in the classroom. That to me was really well done on behalf of Dell.1 David Miketinac It is easy for me as a 17 year Dell guy to gush about the technology. To actually be part of the events in the 17 years where Dell stepped up and delivered something amazing. I do believe that1 2 we need to do a lot better job putting that brand out there and let other’s see it.1 Bob Benedetti If I were going to do a server farm, I would think totally differently than if I were buying fifty1 2 computers. Phil Bryant When you talk about the $399 computer, I just have to say that is just bad selling. Just to be more blunt about it, right. Because I look at what Brad does. Brad doesn’t sell any $399 computers. In this supposedly commoditized world, when people go to Dell.com or they call Brad, they don’t buy a $399 computer because Brad talks to them about what they are trying to do with it and they leave satisfied with what they get. It is not a door crasher and it is not a 2 gig system that doesn’t satisfied your needs or weighs half as much as you do. It is possible not to do that. I have heard a lot of feed back about Gee, you ought to be in retail more. That is one of the reasons I am not in retail. If somebody can’t sell the value, I am not going to give away1 1 computers that are going to do a bad job.11 1 Bob Benedetti I wasn’t saying that they should sell the $399. I am just saying that is a market challenge.1 Phil Bryant There is a market challenge and there is a sales execution challenge. Even where the marketing has been, Brad is successful selling value in that environment already. Dell.com is successful already selling value in the face of all that. It gets down to whether or not you understand the customers needs. Do you have empathy for the customers needs. Are you trying to sell to those needs. It takes time. It is harder. It is easier to give something away and not worry about it. It is1 1 harder to train people like Brad does.11 1 Dave Perry Building your relationship is way better than soup of the day computers. Eric Vallillee Those small retail environments. I think it is a great opportunity. That is what Apple does in Best Buy. They are getting people to spend two thousand dollars. Even the table tops are special wood that was selected by Steve Jobs. If you build up a really cool brand that you put out in malls, it is even more visible. If you can make it look high quality and have really good people1 2 there it will really build that feeling of “yes, I want a Dell”.11 2 Nancy Polance You know Apple even has vending machines in airports.1 David Miketinac I talk about my 17 years at Dell. I spent 9 of the 17 years in the large enterprise space which was selling to the biggest companies around the globe and I will tell you. I will ask all of you this?1 2 Do you think that fortune 500 companies are buying $399, $499, $599 computers?11 2 Bob Benedetti No1 1 David Miketinac Then what are they buying?1 Dave Perry They are buying the tool to meet a business need. When you said there is a big difference between consumer and business needs, but in effect at the end of the day if you have an order for a set of servers for a server farm for 100k and then comes along XYZ company that will sell it to you for a third of a price. You are not necessarily going to jump on the cheaper deal, you are1 1 going for the name recognition and the past experience.1 David Miketinac That is my point. I sell to small medium business. They buy more Optiplex. They are more of the same systems that large companies by from Dell. They buy from Dell because, like Apple, they like the technology that we offer on the Optiplex system. I would tell you that the same intelligence that goes into those Optiplex class systems, goes into the Vostro class and1 1 Dimension class systems, goes into Alienware.
  • Brad Penner You know, one of the things we hear a lot from customer that escalations come from a sales stand point where people who say “I wish I would have talked to my sales rep about this because I assumed that any computer could do this or could integrate with that or I would have enough space or whatever it might be. Our big focus is to ask a ton of questions because you have to communicate in the customer’s language. To Phil’s point about taking time. One of the things that we focus on is that it is not about a transaction. It is about helping the customer buy. If you are calling in on a $399 ad and want to compare a Dell to it. We are selling a solution because we are selling a lot more than just PCs. How does that integrate with all of your technology? We find that we have to let them think about it for a few days after we talked to them. We find that is that they usually come back to us after they think about it. There is a little anxiety in letting them go. It is about the customer experience and building that relationship. We talked about a loyalty program. We are looking at that. We are piloting something for the holiday season. It is also that we have implemented a virtual store where we don’t talk about calls. We don’t talk about calls, we talk about customers. We have created a store where if you want to talk to your original sales rep again, you can. If they are not there, you are going to get someone right away. Or you can1 2 leave a message for that original rep in case you want to talk to them.1 Mark Evans We have lunch going. It is in the back. We will take an hour break and then we will come back1 2 for product discussion.
  • Mark Evans Ok. I think we are going to go ahead and get started. I hope everyone enjoyed lunch and had a good enough break to tweet and blog. So, for the next hour Anne Camden is going to tell us1 1 about her children and lead a discussion about product. Anne Camden As I mentioned earlier, I have been with Dell a long time. I am actually something of an anomaly. They hired me in 1998 to do PR for our corporate desktops. From there, I went to corporate laptops. From there, I went to consumer products. I did the same job within Dell across all of our product lines for almost twelve years. They would come to me every few years and say “You are not acting like a normal Dell employee. You are supposed to change and do something else every so often”. But, I love what I do. I love our products and I love talking to people about our products. My biggest bad habit is that I talk to people and I want you to talk1 2 back to me.1 I am a near and dear grassroots product evangelist for Dell. I believe in our products. I was there when we were taking our corporate laptops, putting a different color on them and handing them to consumers and they loved them. In the background, the engineers were going crazy because the consumers were saying “I want speakers that really work. I want to change my volume on the fly. The corporate consumers were saying “I don’t want these loud speakers on our laptops because they will interrupt the executives!” Trying to balance those two worlds in one product became unattainable. Finally, we said enough. We have to develop products that meet consumer and small business need versus products that meet a large corporation’s need. Since that time, I1 2 have been on the consumer side and we have been doing some exciting things. General question. How many of you have a desktop at home? {Hands raise} How many of you1 1 actually use that desktop? Is it gathering dust?11 1 Jody Arsenault My husband uses it.1 Anne Camden OK, when you replace it. Are you going to replace it with a laptop or a desktop? {Mixed answers} Would you ever put a desktop in your kitchen? {Mostly no} Would you ever put it in1 1 a public place where you could use it as a TV, or phone?11 1 Kathryn Lavallee Yes! Anne Camden We have an all in one that we just announced earlier this week. I tried to get one here, but customs became an issue. It is really nice with a full HD display. It comes with a blue ray option. It is a swiss army knife technology. It is a TV, stereo, telephone, access to the world. What we want to hear is what are you all doing with your systems that we can design for? How many of1 2 you carry a 17 inch laptop?11 2 Kathryn Lavallee Me!11 2 Anne Camden Why do you carry that huge laptop?1 Kathryn Lavallee I need a full keyboard because I type a lot and I type fast. I like typing on a desktop. If I could1 2 carry a desktop with me, I would.11 2 Bob Benedetti You would be better off bringing a small laptop and a big keyboard!1 Anne Camden If I made it easy for you to buy a smaller laptop with a wireless, full sized keyboard to go with1 2 it....1 Kathryn Lavallee I love a full keyboard. Yes, I loathe the track pad. I carry a full size, wireless, optical mouse with1 2 me as well. Anne Camden OK. How many of you are touch typists? (Most) Is the keyboard make or break for you? Do you1 1 live with it or is it something that causes you to move on.11 1 Stuart R. Crawford My keyboard. I love Dell, but this is the biggest frustration with buying a machine right now.11 1 Anne Camden Which one is it?11 1 Stuart R. Crawford I have the XPS 15 inch1
  • 1 1 Anne Camden The Z?1 Stuart R. Crawford I am a heavy typer because I learned how to type on punch cards. I think the mouse goes crazy.1 1 But I am probably not the normal typer.1 Anne Camden That is a very polarizing keyboard. Some of you have asked whether or not we get information from customers. We do. There are a couple of ways we do this. There is a Dell. How many of you research products before you buy it? Have you looked at dell.com at our customer ratings and reviews. We publish all of them. Positive or negative. If they are about the product. If they are talking about Windows, we won’t publish that. If a customer has feedback, we will publish it good or bad. If you will look at the 15z reviews, there are about 30% that say that they do not like the keyboard to the point that they want to return the product. There are 40% that say the keyboard is nice. They are not saying that they are keeping it just because of the keyboard, but that they don’t have any issues with it. My job is to gauge feedback like that. Are you saying that1 1 the trackpad goes crazy?11 1 Stuart R. Crawford My mouse goes crazy. It chimes all the time.11 1 Anne Camden Have you updated your drivers?11 1 Stuart R. Crawford I am a technical person. That is the last thing I would think about doing.1 Anne Camden Now we are coming to an issue where people say, "What do you do before you launch your product? What is your process on checking systems before they get there?" At some point, we have to draw a line in the sand. It is a pretty compressed process. You have your mechanical engineers that dealing with final tweaks, fitting, and does this part match this part and are we allowing for thermal dispersion, do the thermals allow you to get rid of the heat. The electrical engineers are dealing with a lot. We are having to qualify about 100 third party software and hardware components. The amount of work you have to do before you actually say “go” is phenomenal. To keep up with current technology, Intels chunking out a new processor every 12 months or so, Microsoft is launching a new OS every 18 months or so, NVidia and ATI are leapfrogging graphics every 6 months or so. At one point we have to draw a line in the sand and say this is the launchdate. Occasionally, we will have a helpful customer that will find an issue1 1 that we missed. We found out that the track pad on the 15z when we launched it is not as stable as we would have liked. Our customers have said that they cannot turn it off. That seems like a pretty big mess. I don’t know how that happened but we went back to the engineers and the thing with engineers is that they say, that is fine, but I have to replicate that. They go back to their labs and set up everything. They want all the information from the customer. How did this happen? What were they doing? What time of night? What day was it? What phase of the moon…and so on. Finally, they replicate it, then they fix the problem. They have issued a new track pad driver and1 2 it should fix it. I advise you to do that.11 2 Stuart R. Crawford I am doing it right now.11 2 Bob Benedetti The scroller is a little sensitive. I have modified it, but it is still temperamental.1 Anne Camden Again, that is the software that comes with the trackpad so you can go in and modify that. There is some information on how we launch product. We have a team of sustaining engineers that keep up with a product after launch. We have actual laboratories where if you walk in, there will be 5 or 6 laptops. They are shaken up. The open and close the hinges. There is a pogo stick that comes down on the keys ten thousand times. We are trying to replicate the average life of a1 2 laptop over 3 years in a 6 month time.11 2 Bob Benedetti Do you spill coffee on it?1 Anne Camden We do that on the ruggedized ones because we have to test those to go into rough environments.1 2 OK time, for me to look for questions. Anybody? Bob Benedetti I like little laptops. My favorite ever was a Dell 12 inch that had silver and white on it. It was1 1 really nice with a full size keyboard.1
  • Anne Camden I am thinking that was probably the Inspiron 700. I would be surprised if it had a full sized1 1 keyboard. 13 is about the limit that lets you have a full size.11 1 Bob Benedetti It felt like one. Maybe there is not market for them?1 Anne Camden The industry goes in cycles. The netbooks launched and everyone loved them, but then people treated like they were full grown laptops and they would open up 15 and 16 emails and try to watch a youtube video, then go shopping on Amazon. At one point, someone would crash. To1 1 get the small size, you gave up memory and performance.11 1 Bob Benedetti This was expensive, so I didn’t give up anything. I think it was a 700M.11 1 Anne Camden It was a cult favorite along with the XPS 1210.11 1 Bob Benedetti This was 10-12 years ago. It was $2,000. Anne Camden Here is a 15 inch that if y’all haven’t, I would like to go ahead and pass around. If you have not had a chance to view it. It is the XPS15z. It has been out since May. There is a method to my madness because I want to try to make sure everybody understands the amount of engineering, ingenuity and design that went into bringing this product to market is pretty cool. Many people look at it and think, it is the Macbook Pro rip off. You can put it on a table and people think that is what it is from a distance. Then I get the comment “Dell, why can’t you design something that looks really nice!” How do I combine those two comments? I am going to start with you because you are carrying a three year old laptop. This is the studio with the extended battery. It has the1 2 same screen size on it. Has it done well by you?11 2 Eric Vallillee Yes.11 2 Anne Camden Which would you rather carry?11 2 Eric Vallillee This one! Are you offering?11 2 Anne Camden See me at the end of the day. I will tell you that we have one on-going industry issue. The number one request that we get is “why don’t you put a blu ray drive on it?” It is because there isn’t one. We went with the slot load drive because it is a very thin one. To date, none of the optical drive manufacturers have stepped up to offer a thin, slim line, slot load blue ray drive. That is also probably why someone else who has a thin slot load does not have a blue ray drive either. It is not that we are missing it or are too dumb. It is that there is not one out there. You are limited by what is available by the1 1 manufacturer.1 Anne Camden Exactly, we have been back to them and asked them to bring on. They don’t believe there is1 1 enough demand for one to ramp up and create it.1 Soon enough, the bet is that that the need for the slim line blu ray will just intersect with where1 1 you will eventually just download all your high def content. Take the tablets. What is the Dell answer to the tablet? I guess one of the challenges is1 2 competition with the iPad.1 Anne Camden I am not a tablet expert. We have a dedicated group of folks that are bringing a tablet to market. We did actually announce a tablet today. It is a Latitude branded tablet. I am going to pass it around as well. I will be the first to admit that I know very little about this product, so I apologize in advance. I have a colleague here who can answer those questions right here. This is a purpose built tablet. We have decided that there is a market in the enterprise space for a tablet that meets some specific needs. This is a Windows based tablet that was designed with a lot of feedback from the medical community, education community and some key small businesses. What they asked for is a Windows based tablet with the same level of security, manageability that they need to deploy a system on their network that meets their very rigorous security needs. This is what we launched today to that effect. It is available on dell.com. I am going to pass it1 2 around.11 2 Anit Actually, it’s true launch date will be November 1st. It is on the sneak peek area on the website.
  • Nancy Polance I have some questions from Twitter. Some are mean. I picked two. They are asking “Why are1 1 you selling Windows as a compulsory add on to studio series laptops?”11 1 Anne Camden Studio series?11 1 Nancy Polance I don’t know anything about it.1 Anne Camden Here is the deal. There is a population out there that use an alternate OS. They prefer Linux or some version of Linux. We cannot sell you a system without an OS loaded on it because we require it for testing purposes. We do offer a small, select group of systems that are actually preloaded with Linux on them versus Windows. It is pretty much like retail shelf space. You are going to put your most popular, best selling products in the most easy to find places in the retail store. You walk in to Best Buy or the grocery store. You have all your brand name peanut butters and the kind of niche appeal organic stuff is going to be in the back. That is a very small shelf space item that may not be at the eye level. It may be at the bottom of the shelf. That is pretty much where our Linux systems are on dell.com. You can pick up the phone and call and we can show you. You can order a system without Windows, but it will take extra work on your1 1 part.1 2 Nancy Polance The other question I have is “Is the Inspiron z discontinued?”1 Anne Camden Yes. It is. It was a great system for entertainment. It is great for streaming Netflix or something like that. However, the technology is older and all I can say is stay tuned because we are1 2 refreshing the road map. I am not going to say it is going to be immediate, but it is coming up.1 1 You aren’t going to ask any mean ones?11 1 Nancy Polance They have words in them that should not be said in a professional setting.1 Anne Camden I understand that there is a question about battery life. I just want you to know that it has made it’s way to me. I am going to check on it as well. Batteries, overall, have not changed dramatically for many years in the industry. There is the lithium ion. What we are seeing though is the ability to charge a battery more often. Batteries are consumables. When you put batteries1 2 in a flashlight, you expect them to wear out.1 Nancy Polance The issue I have been reading from my readers is that the battery is good for about a year and1 2 then it tapers off.1 Anne Camden The average battery life across the industry will charge up to 100% around 300 cycles. There are a lot of things that can impact your overall battery life capacity. After a year or 300 cycles, you are only going to be able to charge that battery to 80%. Again these are average numbers. If these batteries are subjected to extremes as in cold or heat, that will impact the batteries. I live in Texas. I am terrified if I leave my system in the car during the day. We have over 90 days where the temperature inside a car was over 160 degrees. If I forgot and left my system in the car for the weekend, I knew that I knocked 2% off my battery capacity life. They can’t maintain that level of full chargeability. The same thing is true in Canada, where is will freeze. It will impact1 2 that battery.11 2 David Miketinac To translate that into Canadian, that is 40+ degrees Celsius.11 2 Anne Camden Sorry. Yes. That is why I am LOVING the weather here personally.1 We are working with the industry. We know this is a hot point. Especially when you are working with systems like the XPS13z that does not have a user replaceable battery. It is in our best1 2 interest to put a good battery in there. Jody Arsenault Another thing someone brought up was something about having to lift the actual keyboard to1 1 upgrade the RAM.1 Anne Camden I will say that the memory is a little more accessible on the consumer system. The majority of1 1 people do not ever open their system. Have you ever opened your system?1
  • 1 1 Kathryn Lavallee No, but my husband would.1 Anne Camden I have bought laptops with only 2G of memory with the intention of upgrading it and I never did it. It is a competitive marketplace. To get competitive in terms of thinness and performance, I have to make certain compromises if you will. One of those might be positioning of memory where it is not very friendly for a consumer to go in and do something, but in the end. I have a1 1 very nicely built, compact system that meets their needs in terms of thinness and portability.11 1 Kathryn Lavallee That is true, it is not something that everyone would do. Anne Camden This is the Inspiron 14z. We launched it in July. We realize that everyone wants to carry a thinner and more portable laptop. Not everyone is able to pay a premium for that laptop. So the starting point on our XPS 15z is $899. The starting point on our Inspiron 14z is $749. It is also aluminum clad which is nice to have as well. We did an optional backlit keyboard because it1 2 adds cost. It will be standard on the XPS product. Lior Hershkovitz Could you explain the discrepancy as to why OLM batteries are so outrageously expensive after1 1 market. I recently had to replace one. I saw one online for $50 and Dell wants $170.1 Anne Camden I asked that same question because I had to replace one. I went and asked a battery engineer. The engineer said that there are a lot of industry specific, safety and regulatory information. When it comes down to it, batteries are dangerous. The engineer told me that we have no way to guarantee that a third party battery will meet this criteria. For example, does it turn off when it is1 1 finished charging.11 1 Lior Hershkovitz I understand that. It is the same though. It is fine.1 Anne Camden It is a safety issue. The engineer asked me if I have ever seen a lithium ion catch on fire? I said no. He said you do not want to, it is like a blow torch. The most aggressive language we have on1 1 our website is that Do NOT buy a third party battery. We cannot guarantee its safety.1 David Miketinac One thing I came across in the channel. There is a market for used computer parts where people will buy computers off of lease from a number of different companies. Dell being one of these. Then they will break them down for spare parts and then sell the parts by themselves. A lot of times. You know we talked about this life cycle of a battery after the first year, etc. The other thing that we started seeing was that some of these third party places are selling things stamped by Dell that were being sold as Dell, but were used pieces. Think about buying a two year old battery. Clearly, it is going to be less expensive, but it also doesn’t have the same life as a new1 1 battery.1 Anne Camden For me, the comfort level was worth it. I am very frugal as the next guy, but the safety and assurance was worth it to me. I hear you though, it is a painful decision to make when you can1 1 find something significantly cheaper. Who is familiar with Vostro? Vostro is our small business brand. This is the third generation to the one previous to this one was that the battery life was not good, but it was not user replaceable. When we launched this generation, we made it user replaceable and we doubled the life span. This is a 13.3 inch system with the full size keyboard. It weighs right at 4 pounds. That1 2 will get about 6 hours of life with the extended life battery.1 The Vostro brand is for small businesses. The Inspiron is for a larger company. Is anyone1 2 confused by the branding? Do we have too many brands?11 2 Eric Vallillee You guys have separated it up pretty clearly. I have no problems.1 Kathryn Lavallee I agree, as a consumer that doesn’t look for the small or big business solutions, I find it easy to find what I need. I am not as familiar with some of the different brands, but it is easy for me to1 2 find my personal needs.11 2 Jason Duty Does anyone comparison shop between small business and big business?11 2 Kathryn Lavallee I look at all of it and compare.
  • Anne Camden One of the key things about the laptops that I have passed around is that they are thin. They are all an inch or thinner and they are powerful in terms of “we did not compromise on the components that went inside” They can all support up to 8 G of memory. They all feature standard volt processors which are more powerful than your ultra or low volt. In the case of the 15z, you have got your discreet graphics which means you really have the best in terms of entertainment experience etc. The Inspiron 14 and the Vostro are more optimized for portability and battery life so they do not offer a discrete graphics option but they get this phenomenal 61 1 hour battery life. The last one I am going to pass around is the one we have mentioned several times today. It is the XPS14z. Can I borrow this for just a second? One of the things that is most impressive about this is the hardest to communicate. This Vostro I have in this hand is a 13.3 inch display. The display I have in my right hand is a 14 inch display. It is not significant but it is a lot more real estate. If you stack these things on top of each other, they are identical in size. We put a 14 inch display in the same size form factor as a 13.3 system and this actually took a lot of late nights and creative thinking in terms of the engineers and designers who wanted to do that. So, how we did it is something called a slim bezel display. Again if you look at that one feature verses the other systems going around. You will see that they all have a larger bezel. It is different from edge to edge glass. Edge to edge can still have a bezel on it. The display on this one goes almost to the edge on this one. The other thing is, not only is that the same size as the Vostro, it managed to include a slim line optical drive, plus you can also get optional discrete graphics for those people who want to do casual gaming or watch high def video without stuttering. I am panting because am so excited over this product. If you optimize it, you will get 6 plus hours and1 2 closer to 8. We put a lot of good things into this. We welcome your feedback on it.11 2 Bob Benedetti This can be a desktop replacement.11 2 Anne Camden Phil made a good point. How long have you been carrying yours?11 2 Phil Bryant Two weeks and I really like the keyboard.11 2 Anne Camden We made a couple of tweaks to enhance the experience.11 2 Bob Benedetti I like this, but it has only two USB ports.1 Anne Camden There is no real estate. I made them send me a schematic. If we take out the optical drive, we can put in 5. In the end, there is just no more room. However, I am happy to help you find a USB1 2 hub.11 2 Phil Bryant One that the hardware will work through. I have an HD cam that it will not work through.11 2 Anne Camden There is an HD cam on that.11 2 Phil Bryant That is just one example. Bob Benedetti This may be a dumb question. Is it just me, but I don’t care about a big drive. I can’t remember1 1 when I used an optical drive.1 Anne Camden How many of you have used an optical drive in the last year? How many of you would buy a system without an optical drive (all hands raised). Well, you are advanced users as well. We take them out and show users and let them know that they have to choose between the optical drive or the longer battery life. More than 50 percent say that they want that optical drive. I am not saying that they use it. Right now, from a global perspective. In China and Germany, the optical1 1 drives are higher in needs.1 Bob Benedetti When I go to events. Years ago, they gave use paper, then they gave us a CD, now they give us a1 1 USB key or tell us the website where we can download it.1 Anne Camden I can tell you on future products, we are going to have some pretty radical shifting away from the optical drive. However, you will always have the opportunity to buy one. I am going to start wrapping up. In general, how do you all feel about the product quality of Dell for the last 2-51 1 years.1 2 Lior Hershkovitz The one thing that I see. When you close this, there is a rattle and it does not remain shut.
  • 1 Anne Camden That is not a feature that we have sold you. Let me get your card and I will address that with1 2 you. Let’s get together afterwards and we can take care of that.1 1 Dave Perry What OS is on the tablet?11 1 Anne Camden Windows 71 Hanif Thakor As you pass the tablet around, keep in mind, it is not an iPad. It is not a touch device. Think of it as a full functioning business PC in a tablet form. It is built to be in a network environment. With this device, you can add a corporate image that also sits on a desktop or a laptop. It is not a1 1 laptop replacement. It is a complementary product.1 Eric Vallillee I bought an iPad this year but I actually returned it because I was using it to take to class and take notes and it turned out to be a $700 e-reader. I would like this one because it runs Windows1 1 7. I am excited about this because it is getting away from the plastic.1 Anne Camden I am glad you do. That is our goal. We want to create products that you are excited about and are proud to carry. I am not going to tell you that every system has an aluminum case. For personalization, the most affordable way we can implement that is a plastic. What is interesting1 1 is that the design studio lids are super durable. They have to be to maintain the artwork.1 2 Any other questions? Feedback?11 2 Bob Benedetti Littler laptops!11 2 Anne Camden We have something coming for you, Bob. You are going to love it.11 2 Bob Benedetti I have been reading about an Ultrabook.11 2 Anne Camden I think Intel kindly announced that we will be having an Ultrabook.1 1 Mark Evans What has been the reaction to the XPS14 so far?1 Anne Camden The tech sites like Gizmodo love it but they say it is fat based on a picture. They are comparing it to the Air and that is a different system. That thing has an 8 cell lithium polymer battery in it. If you want only 2 hours of battery life, we can build that for you. We can build you a laptop that1 1 is 2 pounds, but it will only give you 45 minutes of battery life.11 1 Mark Evans Thanks Anne for that.1 2 David Gair We talked about notebooks. What other products would you like to see from Dell?11 2 GROUP: Smart phones.1 David Gare You had to bring up phones... We are experimenting in the phone market and we will probably1 2 offer something next year.11 2 Mark Evans Thanks Anne. There was a lot of laptop porn there. (Giggles.)11 2 So we are going to roll into a session about sustainability and recycling for the next hour.
  • Rebecca Wellum I am sorry. I missed today’s introductory session. I am going to talk to you today. Moreover, listen to you today about our environmental and sustainability program. Like a lot of the people you have heard from Dell already. You will notice that there is a lot of tenure in the room. I am also a lifer. I have been with Dell since 1998 and I don’t see any end in sight. Which is a great thing because within my history with Dell, I have seen an incredible shift culturally to something that is very social, environmentally responsible and more conscious. If you see what has happened outside our industry in the last ten years. Bottled water is a huge focus, packaging, paper, the import of laptops and tablets. Just from design itself is all about being more conscious of reducing our foot print. Dell, would you be surprised to know, for the last decade has been in this shift. So, we are now doing packaging that is completely sustainable. We are shipping our products in bamboo. That is just a piece of the whole life cycle. Every part of the life cycle of a1 1 equipment on your shelves has had some influence on the environment.1 We talked about battery life, the size and drain on your systems. We talked about packaging and transport. From a perspective of getting it in your hands and replacing it. What are you going to do with the old laptop when you are finished with it. We are regulated in 73 countries, we have take back programs that helps you recycle and properly dispense with that equipment. Who else do you know that does that for free in the consumer segment. We have been doing this since 2006 for free. What I am telling you is that we are active, we are leaders and we are still looking for what we can do better. What I am hoping to hear some feedback today. Did you know that we are that active in the environment? No? Can I point you to dell.com/recycling. We operate with global policies on our take back the earth environmental disposition of equipment. Everything we use to guide our principles of take back is a global policy supported with a global standards with global audits. We think quite rigidly with a global sense. How does that effect us here in Canada? Everything we have established as a cutting edge leadership role for the environmental space is employed and executed right here just the same as it is in Europe, Africa, the US or Japan. We are using the same standards. At the end of the day, what does that mean? It is a lot of big words and it ultimately means that we are trying to take back the equipment we put out in the marketplace and do something responsible with it. Maximize reuse wherever we can and insure that it is being recycled and not exported to some landfill on some developing country. We want to make sure we are doing the right thing. Again, that starts from product design, product shipping and now take back. In Canada as well as other jurisdictions, we are regulated to participate in industry programs that collect so beyond what we are doing what we are on our own. We are asked to participate with our competitors and collect from the basic consumer through collective programs. Just like your municipal garbage collection. You would go to a community recycling center and drop off your old equipment for free. Our industry is obligated to go and find that mechanism and make sure it is operating smoothly. Dell sits on the two industry boards that help drive what that looks like. That is how we are active. You guys said that you weren’t that aware that we were out there doing these things and are surprised somewhat. I really urge you to go see that. I would like to know what we can do better so that1 1 the next time I saw you, it wasn’t such a surprise. Dave Perry That is a great motivator that you guys were that conscious for that long of a time. That needs to be marketed a lot better than it is right now. Because I see that being a real selling point. I had no1 2 idea that Dell was green in that way.1 Rebecca Wellum So let me ask you. Who did you think the greenest IT company out there was? Or did you not1 2 think that any of us were?11 2 Dave Perry Not Apple!11 2 Rebecca Wellum I am glad to hear you say that.1 1 Nancy Polance I hear that you make your systems PVC free as well? How long have you been doing that?11 1 Rebecca Wellum We were the first doing that as well. We have been doing it since 2008 in a phased in approach. Nancy Polance Do you offer some kind of recycling system besides when it becomes obsolete? When it is still1 2 rather new so it can be upgraded?1 Rebecca Wellum Absolutely, we have trade up programs in place. Dell.com/recycling will direct you to a map. It is a global statement as well. Wherever in the world you are, free recycling is available. In1 2 Canada, it is just a form. You fill it out and we will send the way bills for it to get shipped back.
  • 1 Dick Weytze Somebody from Dell came to see me a couple of years ago with that. Unfortunately we were not1 2 compliant with that.1 Rebecca Wellum We also partner with Goodwill. We offer consumer and corporate services for this. From the consumer perspective it is absolutely free, easy, accessible and completely and pain free. You1 2 fill out a form and we send you a waybill or you can take it to Goodwill if you have one nearby.1 On the corporate side we have asp recovery services which focuses on making sure we can take volume equipment out of spaces, wipe it and recycle it or resell it. Share value, so on and so forth. If we are able to do these things, we can lower the cost of ownership for our corporate1 2 customers and we don’t have anything collecting dust in some basement.11 2 Mark Evans How many corporations follow through and use this program?11 2 Rebecca Wellum It is quite prevalent. Quite used. Kathryn Lavallee How much research goes into this? For example, packaging? What made you choose bamboo? It1 1 is rapidly renewable which is great, but does it also use a lot of water?1 Rebecca Wellum I am not a packaging specialist. I can give you the name and link to the person who can give you those details. To think about where we were when I started the box that showed up when I ordered my first Dell, it was monsterous. It was styrofoam, it was huge. It was more packaging than system. To see where we are now, I ordered a laptop a year ago and it came in something no bigger than a1 1 briefcase. I was amazed. Eric Vallillee I am just curious as to why the computer district hasn’t wrapped itself in green. Everybody is into the environment these days. It doesn’t strike me that any electronics company has done the1 2 green thing. Is it the cost? It could be a competitive differentiator. Rebecca Wellum I think you are right. For us, having ingrained it into our culture and into our business decisions, it is second nature. We don’t take enough credit for it but thats just because its the way we live...it would be like taking credit for making dinner. We believe it is a business differentiator.1 2 It is pretty stifling to know that no one else is offering free recycling to the consumer segment.1 Nancy Polance As a consumer, I like to see when companies give back or are doing something active in the community not just providing products. Do you guys have any programs outside1 2 computers/hardware? Like some printing companies will sometimes plant trees.1 Rebecca Wellum Up until this last year we have achieved 100% carbon neutrality. We have revised that so that we arent aiming so much for carbon neutrality as we are aiming for responsibility and awareness. We manage our carbon emissions as best we can. We now have a goal of collecting 1 billion pounds of electronic waste by 2014, something were on track to do. It is such a way of life that these things are second nature. I would advise you through dell.com/recycling to check the sustainability reports and see the progressions we have made. Carbon neutrality is one of them. We had a plant a tree program for a while. That has been revised. We wanted something more1 2 effective, engaging and cooperative. We werent getting enough input from customers on it.1 1 Nancy Polance How are you engaging your customers now?1 Rebecca Wellum That was a point-of-sale sku. When you purchased your computer, you were asked if you wanted1 1 to plant a tree.11 1 Nancy Polance I mean, like with the recycling part, how are you engaging customers to actually do it?1 Rebecca Wellum Right. With every printer, there is a letter from Michael that points you back to the program. There are lots of ways that we can do better and that is part of why I am here to find out what we1 1 can do better. That letter generates a lot of return business through the recycling programs. Shirley Freinkel I just want to ask a general question about printers. When you go to buy ink for your printer that costs $30 or $40. The ink is sitting next to a new printer for $50 that is completely full of ink. I have asked people and they have said to take the printer to the dump, but that does not seem1 2 right to replace the printer each time you need ink.1
  • Rebecca Wellum I cannot speak to price per se although I will take that back to my group as feedback. It is a lot like the battery situation. There are a lot of refurbished inks out on the market and theres a lot of churn that way which we know degrades quality over time. There are always advancements1 2 made and were always watching them. Kathryn Lavallee I think its something that needs to be communicated before you buy the product because for a lot of consumers it influences the purchase. They dont want to find out afterward as a bonus1 1 that its eco-friendly, theyre buying it because its eco-friendly.1 Kathryn Lavallee I really think it is something you should market. I remember a few years ago when things really started to go eco friendly strongly across Canada. Asus issued a laptop that was encased in bamboo and they marketed it as the green laptop. Dell should have been there saying weve1 1 always been eco friendly, we dont have to make a bamboo laptop to show were eco friendly.11 1 Nancy Polance I had no idea that Dell was so involved. It is a big market that you are missing out on.1 Mark Evans You say that you don’t talk about it because it is like cooking dinner. Everyone makes dinner,1 1 but not every computer maker is green.11 1 Dick Weytze It might be worth putting a message on the box.1 Dave Perry If I had known that by buying Dell products, I could market that for my company. I can say that1 1 Dell does that for me.1 Kathryn Lavallee Exactly, the corporate customer looks better to its consumers as well by saying look at these eco1 1 friendly choices were making by going with Dell.1 Nancy Polance To be honest, I would invest in a company that is taking those initiatives. I always have in the back of my mind, I ask myself if I have heard about them helping the environment. If more1 1 people knew that. David Gair Great feedback on blowing our own horn. We have the case studies now. A lot of companies are positioning themselves as green. Is there some third party or way that would resonate with you1 2 guys?1 Dave Perry I would say show them Dell. Use Youtube and put the videos out there. Show what you used to1 2 do and what you currently do. The people who are earth conscious will respond. David Miketinac What advice would you give us to not be perceived as being environmentally friendly for the1 1 sake of selling verses being environmentally friendly for the sake of being responsible?1 Bob Benedetti What is wrong with being conscious for the sake of selling? I don’t feel any negativity towards a company going green simply because it is a good marketing opportunity. I don’t care what the1 1 reason is, as long as they are doing it. It is the end result.1 Eric Vallillee You want people to actually know that you are actually being green rather than saying that you are. It connects back to explaining the features of the product. Saying a Dell XPS 14z uses this much less energy than X product (some average). If you can actually put on the packaging WHY this is green. It is not about having green stickers on everything. Work it into the marketing1 1 itself.1 Dave Perry I say in wrapping this up. Not only showing what you have done and what you are doing to be eco friendly. Also, add some advice on how we as consumers can participate from home. You are not only saying it because you are doing it, you are encouraging your clients and consumers1 1 to do so as well. Mark Graham You also want to think about how you determine consumers into advocates. If you look at the most successful eco-marketing of all time, it was the Walmart recycle bag phenomenon. It becomes a game. I am going to Loblaws or Walmart, using my bag, I am going to save five cents and I will be perceived as eco friendly. I don’t care if I see an ad from Dell or whatever that says1 2 it uses 30% less but if you empower me to make a difference, I would really care about it.1 Eric Vallillee It would be great if you could come up with a big, original campaign. Like Dim your Dell day. Where everyone turns down their monitor for a day. If you could do something like that and1 2 work Dell into it, it might catch on, build brand awareness and the green brand as well.1
  • Bob Benedetti Eric is on the right page with this. The plastic bag thing was purely media driven. Having spent 35 years on TV I can tell you that story was simple. That is the best kind of publicity that you can get. Simple stuff. You have an asset recovery system. You might get the media to come out and take pictures of what is being done. They will throw it back to the consumer and that kind of stuff works. The plastic bag thing was driven by the media. I spent 4 years as a politician and the media pushed me to start doing it within stores in my jurisdiction. Get it into the media. You are in PR. You know you have good days and bad days. You create a hum. Dell is one of the green companies. It is not so much about logos anymore. That is just noise now. Some good PR can be1 2 better than a very expensive ad campaign. Rebecca Wellum Would it be more important to you to hear how we recycle our products, how we build green or how we work in the whole in a green way. We have installed solar panels in our Round Rock parking lot. We have become an organization globally that is so ingrained in it that we see it, but1 1 we are not showing you.1 Nancy Polance It is all of it! I don’t see it as tooting your own horn. You are just letting people who care about1 1 this know.1 Kathryn Lavallee You can even approach it in a way where you can almost talk about the fact that you haven’t talked about it before because people can do the research and see that you have been doing it.1 1 Honesty is the best advertising. Say, we never felt the need to talk about this because it is right.1 Eric Vallillee That will really appeal to organizations who are looking to be more green too. Our university is sort of militantly green. These guys had bottled water banned. They banned the use of anything that utilizes child labor. Carlton is a mid size university of 25,000 students but there is hundreds of thousands of students across the country and if you can get a couple of them to latch on to the idea, it is a really good starting point because students tend to care about that stuff more than most probably than other segments of the population. I was just saying earlier that Carlton just replaced 5,000 of its computers in one go. If you can get the organization to say that they will choose to replace their computers with a company who is green, it builds up PR and orders and1 1 starts the trickle in.11 1 Nancy Polance Is the reason why you haven’t really shared it because you experienced criticism in the past? Rebecca Wellum Yes. To be very honest, we hit criticism early on through various channels who were looking at specifically exporting of waste. The truth of the matter is that we have very rigid standards on not exporting. We have policies that keep us really bound. So early on, we were like ooh, let’s make sure it doesn’t happen again. Then honest to God, it has just become a part of things. I don’t think we are even consciously thinking about not tooting our own horn even. I think we do put the message out there, we are just not screaming it from the rooftops. When we have done that, it gets clouded by all the merchandizing and branding. We have a good website. We have a lot of people behind it. We have a sustainability report that goes out like clockwork. It all talks about the things that we are doing to make sure that we continue to be sustainable and socially/environmentally responsible. It just seems like it is on one hand I can tell you from our experience, yes, it is a niche market. Yes, people say that it is important. However, when it1 2 comes to purchasing power, it doesn’t really resonate.1 Nancy Polance To me, if I were to have two products that were the same and one says that it is eco-friendly, I1 2 would rather buy that even if it costs more. But that is myself personally.1 Eric Vallillee You guys are the data experts. You collect all the numbers. My guess is that it doesn’t resonate1 2 with customers because people don’t really buy that a computer company could be green.1 Dick Weytze You have to be very careful because it only takes one negative report to shoot it down. Like it1 2 has happened with coffee. Everything says it is fair trade, then they are all over Maxwell House.1 1 Mark Evans So Nancy, how much more would you pay for a green computer?1 Nancy Polance I dont know, I am not a numbers person. If it suits my lifestyle and what I need to do, I will buy it. I am not going for the price, Im going for the functionality. It has way more appeal to me if it is green. I am not 100% green, but I try to be. If more people were doing it, the bigger the1 1 difference is. So, I would spend money.11 1 Mark Evans But is an eco friendly seat really more expensive?1
  • Eric Vallillee But it does contribute to that brand confidence that we were talking about before. We talked about Mac and Apple and how they have built that higher end to get people to pay more for the same product. It adds to that list of things that makes people feel good about Dell. Dell has great products with great features, aluminum cases, they are lightweight, the service is good and on top of that, it is green. It makes it a product that you want to go out and buy. So, it stops being an issue of “I would pay $150 more for a green laptop” and it becomes, “I would pay more for1 1 THIS laptop”.11 1 Bob Benedetti He said what I wanted to say.1 Mark Graham I just googled “greenest it company in the world” and IBM showed up as the greenest according1 1 to the Newsweek green index.11 1 Rebecca Wellum That is good to know. Mark Graham I don’t know if there is any weight or depth to that. I think Dell as a hardware company has an inherent challenge. If you were going to ask a consumer quickly to decide between Dell and Google as to which was more environmentally friendly because it is all about the cloud and software and there is nothing physical on someone’s desk. Of course, you could say that Google has 11 billion dollar data centers around the world. But, they have been quite proactive about posting how they are cooling things with sea water. They have been quite proactive in quelling some of those concerns. I am not saying that you should go copy Google. But, it is interesting in how they have been canny in how they have positioned themselves in being quite1 2 environmentally canny. Whether that is the case or not is up for debate.1 Eric Vallillee Maybe, Steve, you can get somebody famous to endorse your green plan. Like honestly, that stuff appeals to people. Like David Suzuki or someone. Like an actor or actress that is known for being green. Green, to be honest, is not my number one concern or interest. However, in terms of1 2 marketing I think it contributes. Rebecca Wellum Great feedback. Other questions? I have about 15 minutes. I can quickly talk to you about some of the things we do within our four walls. I mentioned the solar panels in Round Rock. Someone1 1 from Austin can confirm this. Are we off the grid in Round Rock? Yes.11 1 David Miketinac Explain that it is more than solar panels on the roof. Explain the set up.11 1 Rebecca Wellum I am not that familiar with it. I am the take back girl. I just know that we are off the grid.1 Janet Fabri One document I can point everyone to that is pretty comprehensive. It talks about our green strategy and our corporate social responsibility position. It’s our CSR report. You can find it easily on the dell.ca homepage. There are five headlines. It is one of those headlines. It will take1 1 you to a pretty hefty document that talks to all of our initiatives in the area:1 http://content.dell.com/ca/en/corp/d/press-releases/2011-09-06-dell-press-release-cr-canada.1 1 aspx?c=ca&l=en&s=corp11 1 It is on your twitter screen now Rebecca Wellum One of the things that I did want to point to beyond this is. All of our manufacturing in Austin and Round Rock is impacted by that. Also, a large portion of our workforce in Canada has gone remote. We have reduced the footprint of our space in the Canadian office where people can sit. We have hoteling cubes where people can work when they absolutely have to come into the office. That is just another every day kind of thing that happens locally to reduce our footprint. We don’t do a lot of printing anymore. We don’t do a lot of traveling anymore. Everything is monitored closely. Everything we can use. Conference calls, webcams, we are totally leveraging that in every aspect in our business. We have also gone to global workforce. Quite literally, I manage programs globally from my home here. That is something you would not heard of in a1 2 corporate space five to fifteen years ago. Dell is a head of the curve on a lot of that. Eric Vallillee It sounds like you are using a lot of your own products to become more green. Do you have some kind of Dell green solutions to prop up other companies that want to become green? That1 1 seems like a good strategy.1 Rebecca Wellum Again, I think this is another situation that is just ingrained into our business. We are not putting1 1 up a headline on it.
  • 1 David Miketinac A lot of our white papers talk about the impact to the environment. A lot of our data center storage server offerings speak of it as well. But as she said, it is subtext and definitely not the1 1 banner.1 Eric Vallillee Think about Samsung or the Ontario government. Right now, there is a big push in Ontario to go green and build up green technology and that sort of thing. I could see the Ontario government or an office in the government saying “we are partnering with Dell to reduce our carbon1 1 footprint by doing all the things that they have been doing”11 1 Dick Weytze Producing calendars to motivate. Rebecca Wellum Right. Right. A few years back we were in a very vocal push to be the greenest IT company in the world. That produced some engagement, but we have not sustained it in terms of communication. Anything else? That is awesome feedback. I don’t necessarily want to wrap up1 2 early, but I will be here if you have any questions.1 Mark Evans I don’t think anyone is going to mind if we take a few extra minutes for the break. We are back here at 4:00 for the social media discussion. I see that there are some snacks in the back, but they1 2 don’t look diet friendly.
  • Mark Evans OK, I think we are going to get started. Everyone find your seats. It is pretty common knowledge that Dell has embraced social media in a very successful and active way. Rather than provide an overview of what Dell is doing, I think what we want to do is talk about best practices so Dell can get some insight into what is happening out there. Who is doing social media well and how we like to engage and communicate with brands in social media. Some of the things that work and some that don’t work. So maybe I could call on Mark Graham. So with promotional merchandise, is probably one of those companies that is using social media from a professional basis. Mark has a very strong brand on social media. Mark can talk to us about how much work1 1 it takes and how you measure success. Mark Graham Those are a lot of questions. I will try to be brief and keep it under 5 hours. I think as a quick snapshot, the thing that is unique about our approach is that promotional products is a very old school, mature, commoditized somewhat unprofessional industry that has been around for a long time. I have always been interested in technology’s ability to transform a company and make it stand out in a mature industry. Social media and technology are so entwined that I glommed on to social media a few years ago as a great platform to do a couple of things. Number one, establish thought leadership for the organization and use that as a tool to differentiate. Number two, interact and have honest conversations with what I would define as “fans” and clients of the company. We would have the conversations of look what we are doing well and also what we are not doing well. That, I have found, is really unique because when I started the business in the year 2000, the first 6 years did not have that opportunity to engage in real time, honest conversation with your customers. Since 2006, it has completely changed how we go to market1 2 and interact with people.11 2 Mark Evans The second question was resources. For a lot, businesses that is a key consideration.1 Mark Graham We spent a lot of time on social media. Be it our blog, shooting Youtube videos. We spend a lot of time on our Twitter feed and Facebook. If was to give a percentage of time that we spend on a weekly basis, probably thirty percent of our time is invested in social media. I have given several presentations about our approach. I have people put up their hand and say “Thirty percent of your time? Are you crazy? You should be meeting your customers.” What I always say is that we have noticed almost a 30 percent drop in face to face interaction with customers because those customers don’t have time for us anymore. They have time virtually, but they don’t want to get up and go to a meeting room for an hour to talk about a promotional merchandise strategy. They can see it online, watch youtube videos, chat, email whatever the case may be. It is almost allowed us to direct resources away from an inefficient way of marketing to a more efficient way of marketing so that is my smart answer to them. The critics, maybe they are still grumbling1 2 under their breath thinking we waste time on social media, but it works.1 In terms of ROI in social media, I have a love hate relationship with the word ROI in social media. On one hand I think it sucks the life out of social media. Social media is fun. It is great to interact with members of our community and for me to then sit and try to put an ROI configure against that, I think is challenging. At the same time, I am the owner of a company and I want to make sure that any marketing efforts that I engage in are not a waste of time. My quick answer to that would be “If we look at the number of times our tweets are re-tweeted or the number of times we are mentioned. Whether they are fans or clients. For instance, we do business with one particular customer that has 35,000 followers and regularly mentions what a good job we do when we ship product to her. That is not bad for business because we will have people come in and say “Hey, I saw so and so speaking about you, we would love to work with you and by the1 2 way, price is not as much of an issue because it comes through a good work of mouth referral”.1 This thirty percent of time has established us as a thought leader in our industry. Our sales are up1 2 40% from last year. I attribute some of that to our growth in social media. Mark Evans So Casey, why don’t you talk a little bit to the people about what you do in terms of social media. Maybe just talk about the campaigns you get involved with in leveraging social media1 1 and best practices.1
  • Casie Stewart Hi everyone. I am Casie. I wasn’t here this morning so I don’t know if everyone did an intro but I am just going to tell you a little about what I do. I am a lifestyle blogger. I do a lot of hosting events, brand partnerships and stuff that is all around social media. My daily blog is about lifestyle about all kinds of things that I do. Things that are fun. It is casiestewart.com if you would like to check it out. Some of the things that I have done in the last couple of years... social media is a big thing for me. I kind of got into it early, like 2008, which isn’t that long ago but it is for that realm of things. I used to run the social media for Much Music and MTV, Canada it’s CTV. I did lots of cool stuff there. Some of the things I do now are partnerships with companies. Ive done a big campaign with Puma Social. They have a whole line of business in a global campaign that they did. It is called the “after hours athlete”. We are celebrating 5 am cab rides and 5 am trips to the gym. Sometimes, victory is making last call. Those type of things. That was a campaign that was fully integrated with social and it is global. That goes with the Puma Social hashtag. We have a really cool party. People sign up. It is talked about across social media. There is a Foursquare check in. There is badges you can get for using Foursquare. That is one kind of thing they did was really celebrating that kind of niche in the lifestyle. It is maybe not1 1 your typical Puma sports brand.1 Something else I did earlier this year was Pepsi Throwback. It is the original Pepsi that uses real sugar instead of fake sugar so they asked me if I would be interested on working on the campaign. They knew I was kind of into retro. So we had a hatch take that we established for that. In doing that we wanted the client to get somewhere around 2-4 million impressions by working with me. Depending on your social campaign, you might have different goals. Sometimes it is brand awareness. Sometimes it is growing your Twitter followers. Sometimes it is getting people to like us on Facebook. Wherever that is. For that one specifically, it was just to get people talking about the Pepsi throwback. Something I thought was cool to me was. When I drank that Pepsi, it reminded me of when I was a kid. Taste gives you that feeling and people talked about it. We had the foursquare check in. Everyone was using the hatchtake. It was a two hour event at revival with is an event space downtown and within one hour, we were trending in Toronto and in two hours, we were trending across Canada. So they were really pleased. They1 1 said, this is awesome, working with you is great.1 I am growing my Twitter following very organically. I am not using teen followback. If you don’t know what that is, don’t even look into that. I tweet sometimes a hundred times a day. If you don’t follow many people, I can get really annoying because I tweet a lot. However, I love it. I do a lot of interaction with people. I pretty much reply to everyone who interacts with me. As a brand, me being a personal brand or you as a company brand, really engaging with those people and building relationships is really important. When I did this event, it wasn’t just about the Pepsi and the free drinks. People wanted to come because they could hang out with me because the reputation that I have built for my brand is fun or energetic. They have that relationship with me whether in real life or on line. What is really great about Twitter is that you are always selling something. Social media is such an awesome tool to build a relationship with your customers. It is not based on “Are you going to buy my computer right now”. You build a relationship, so you are at the top of their mind when they go to buy a computer they might think “Oooh. I have to get a new computer. You know that guy from Dell was so funny”. I am not a Rogers customer any more but I will talk with some people at Rogers like RogersRob who I know will complain about some device. I will still ask and get an answer. If someone comes to me with something, I can say, tweet my friend RogersRob, he will help you. It is not about me1 1 being a customer. It is about them creating a relationship with me. Mark Evans Let me ask you about the creative angle to social media. Most companies now have a Facebook page, a Twitter feed and a blog. That is table stakes. So that first mover vanishes and disappears, so now the differentiation game has changed. How do you see brands trying to separate1 2 themselves from the crowd?1
  • Casie Stewart Be creative. There are lots of things. You used to be able to do a Facebook contest, but you can’t do that anymore because Facebook changed their rules and regs. You have to use an external app. However, there are tools that can make your Facebook more exciting. That is one of the challenges I found working for much and MTV. I would be updating the Facebook page for Much, MTV and much more on the same day around the same time about maybe the same thing, but you had to say it in three different voices. Try that. It is hard. You just maybe like to kinda find maybe a look I guess Much is a really good resource if you look as successful campaigns. Take a look at something someone else has done. Like when they roll out the new timeline, the brand pages are going to almost look like a blog. Twitter and Facebook can have a like tagging contest. People like to do something that is fun. People love free stuff so if you want to get to people, send free stuff in the mail. They love that. Even if you are sending something to people, that is a good way to get people to engage in Facebook. Ask questions, show them that you are1 2 interested in them. Use pictures. Don’t write too much text. Mark Evans There are mommy bloggers over here that I have been picking their brains because I have been fascinated in how well they have done in such a short period of time. Jody, you mentioned that you get approached by a lot of brands. How do brands engage you on social media? How do you1 1 like to be engaged and how have you been disappointed?1 Jody Arsenault I get lots of emails from brands who want to partner with me doing reviews and giveaways and such. I am a blogger who does that two days a week. I don’t do it more because I have other content that I want to put up. I can’t say yes to everyone. So, I decide what my readers want. When approaching me, did the company take the time to find out my name or is it “Dear mommy blogger”. If you are getting hundreds of emails a day, you have to come up with a strategy because you don’t have time to read them all. If they have already tried to make that1 1 relationship, it will make me want to work with them more.11 1 Mark Evans Do you get a lot of friends who try to engage you on social media?1 Jody Arsenault Yes and I love that. It is real. It is not just every single tweet about their company or brand. They1 1 are trying to find out about me, my readers and other people in this.1 2 Mark Evans So Kathryn, you probably get approached a lot too.1 Kathryn Lavallee It is nice to get personality in the approach you get. The more, the better. I have gotten emails from companies where the person who sends the email will say “This is what we do. This is our product. I thought you would be especially interested in it because of your son Benjamin. I know that he is right at the age where he would be doing this. It shows that they have taken the time to read up on my family and my kids ages. Those things show that they have done research and are connecting with me and not just a mommy blogger. It is easy to connect with a mommy blogger.1 2 There are lots of us. Connecting with the actual person behind the blog is a little bit different.1 Mark Evans So, what are you looking for in brands in terms of the content they create and the things they do1 2 in terms of social media?1 Kathryn Lavallee It depends on the campaign. Like Jody, I do the review and give away things. That is kind of like a bonus for both parties especially where the giveaways are concerned because it brings us new readers. It brings people to the website because they want to win the prize and it is great for the brand because they are the ones who are giving away the prize. That is one of the things that can be beneficial to both parties. It still really amazes me to a degree how many public relations places and how many brands will come and expect mom bloggers to work for free. I find it flabbergasting. They often don’t recognize us as businesses. I don’t have an editor who is paying me to write stuff on the site. I am the editor. Just like if I was writing for the magazine, I would be paid by the editor. I have to get some type of payment for making this post. That is just kind of one of the facts of like. It is different if we are doing a giveaway situation because that is beneficial for both. The amount of emails from brands that expect us to take their press release1 2 and just post it for nothing on our very large audience sites is astounding. Mark Evans So Nancy, what do you think the brands are expecting from you? What are they looking for?1 1 What realistically could they get in return?1
  • Nancy Polance I would say the biggest thing about mommy bloggers is the trust. I have had people say “My child was sick and I went to the blog and got the information I needed”. The trust that the bloggers build with their readers and followers is what benefits the company. Women and mommies in general tend to analyze things more when the make decisions. Usually, they are the decision makers at home especially for brands and buying. When it comes to big purchases, it is1 1 usually the women in the home that make the decision. It is the trust we provide.1 Kathryn Lavallee A fellow blogger named Jen told me that what we bring is another connection to the product. This is very much where our reviews is concerned. If we reviewed something and one of my readers go out and buy it, they know that they can come to me by email or chat and they know that I have some kind of answer for them. Even if it is something about durability 6 months down the road. I had a reader said, I read your review and it is has been 8 months. I would really1 1 like to know how the product is holding up for you. We are accessible.1 Jody Arsenault I find that working with bigger companies, I try to make a package that suits their needs. It might not just be a review and giveaway. It might be a package where we do a Twitter party together, they will advertise and I will post on Facebook. I will make it an all around campaign to suit the businesses need. A Twitter party can give 3 million impressions in an hour. But then a week later, they can come to the blog and see the review and the ad is up so it is continuous over a1 1 period of time and not just one specific thing. Mark Evans Companies that are doing well from an engage point of view? Does anyone come to mind? Jody said that she tweeted that she had lost her iphone and Rogers responded and got her a pre launch1 2 iPhone delivered to her house.1 Jody Arsenault I have had people say that it is just because you have so many followers and that is true but you have to meet customers where they are at. So, it doesn’t matter how many followers I have, I am a customer just like anyone else. If they know that I am on Twitter and I am expressing something that I am going through in my life and if they can get in touch with me via Twitter1 2 and connect with me in a real way and not a 1-800 number because that is not what I use.1 Kathryn Lavallee I think it is a really powerful tool for companies to be using Twitter especially for building relationships. When I work with products and brands, I want a lasting relationship. It is usually brands that you trust and believe in. That is why I think Twitter is so important. We talk to brands. We talk about our kids. It is real relationships that you are creating and that is the benefit of giving the information instantly and giving information that you want to give out other than1 2 some lengthy thing.1 Jody Arsenault With Rogers running around earlier, some people say that they may not be the best. However, because we have a relationship, I was able to say “no, they are great at this”. It bridges the gap1 2 and brings us together.1 Nancy Polance I am going to mention another blogger. Jen from Mom has a voice. She was telling me that one of her friend’s daughter worked at Victoria Secret. She was fairly young. She was going home at night and the parking lot was dark and dangerous. She got approached by a car with a strange man in it. I guess she came home and told her mom and the mom was very upset about it. So she tweeted Victoria Secret and said “you have young girls working late hours and they are walking to their cars by themselves at night and it is dangerous”. They tweeted her back and they brought her up high in the company and now all over, Victoria Secret now walks their employees to their1 2 cars just from one tweet. One tweet can change the way an entire company can do business. Mark Evans So Jason, One of the things I wanted to ask you in terms of Dell customer service and social media. Just the difference between business and consumers. So you are talking to Jody for1 1 example on business to business. How does Dell approach that?1
  • Jason Duty I think the approach in general is the same. It is very much about listening. It is about connecting directly to customers and building relationships. It is about engagement and sharing beyond what the immediate business seat is. It shows that you are human and those types of personal thing. I think about being a seed where my team is listening for those consumers and businesses that express the need for support from Dell. We actually look at folks that have a lot of followers. We don’t give them a lot of preferential treatment. We also look at folks that dont have many followers at all. Maybe they just started a Twitter account just to tweet us and tell us their issue. A complaint is a gift so we treat all those equally in terms of understanding customer needs and addressing those. Clearly the more influential people that you tweet to opens up that network of people that see that interaction. I think that the dynamic with B2B is a lot the same. I would argue though that the circle of platforms that communities that businesses participate in are a little different than where consumers might participate in. Thinking about IT buyers and partners for example, there are some very distinct communities that those people participate in. So, I think that somewhat narrows the universe of places that a business needs to go to connect with people. I think that is a very general statement and clearly businesses talk in Twitter and1 1 Facebook.11 1 Mark Evans Are their needs different? Are they looking for relationship and community building?1 Jason Duty The dynamics are similar. The topics of conversation are different. The needs of a business are different than the needs of a consumer. The needs for engagement are similar though in that1 1 respect.1 2 Mark Evans Does anyone else have any other examples that they would like to share?1 Mark Graham I had a funny story with West Jet. It is similar to the story about Rogers. I had an issue where they canceled a flight and I had to rebook on another flight and it ended up costing me $1,000 out of pocket. I asked to talk to customer service and then a manger and it went nowhere. Then I tweeted about it with this tweet “My flight was canceled on West Jet. I was out of pocket $1,000 because Owners Care?”. It was amazing because I had quite a lack luster customer service experience over the phone. Within 6 hours, I had a tweet in return stating that they were sorry I had the problem and to please email west jet at a certain address for more information. I emailed and received a call from the Twitter customer service manager who ultimately gave me a credit for $1,000 for a flight over the next 12 months. I was blown away by that. I thought he was just going to apologize. That was amazing. But what was even funnier is that I got a call from the Twitter manager asking if I would like to go to a conference about resolving customer service issues via Twitter. I got up and met this guy and said I was complaining about you but now I am speaking at a conference. I was thinking about it after the fact. I thought that it was great that West Jet took care of me because I use Twitter, but it is a shame that their customer service is not consistent. What I encourage my colleague is that we should respond to all forms of communication that way. In an 18-20 employee organization we have more control. I understand that with a company like West Jet the challenges are greater. It is a challenge for modern day partners to make sure that the Twitter geeks don’t get the priority over the less tech savvy1 2 customer. Mark Evans Do you think that the expectations from people on social media to get a positive response are sky high. People expect brands to bend over backwards every time you complain that my hard drive1 1 failed or my headphone jack isn’t working. It is almost a vicious cycle if you think about it.1 Mark Graham Yes. We had a small kink on our ecommerce code this morning and there was a Tweet that came in at 10:30. I just happened to pick it up and respond 7 minutes later to say sorry about this and I put them in touch with the developer in charge and he ultimately got a result and was very happy. That was within 10 minutes of a Tweet and he wanted to place an order. That was all done publicly. We took more of the lengthy exchanges offline. It is interesting how you can use these channels to find problems in your process. I think if it had been two hours, this guy would1 1 have been tweeting that we are the worst promotional products company ever.
  • Stuart R. Crawford That is the problem with the online par for business right now is how often we respond to the boy crying wolf? When do you know what is a real legitimate issue? It goes against my fundamental principles of give praise publicly but give negative feedback privately. I think for me I use social media as a PR and communication tool. It is woven into my very own fabric of communications. I don’t see it where I play. I don’t see it the way other people do. Who cares about an IT company selling services to small businesses? Nobody cares. Not one of my clients ever got any business directly that is measureable. Now, thought leadership is a different role all together. Business is still done with people. People first, Company second, Product third. I have a fundamental challenge bending over backwards to everybody looking for attention because their flight was 10 minutes late. I have publically complained on my own private Facebook page1 2 that I will never use Delta airlines again because I have lost 5 connections in the last 6 flights. Jody Arsenault I have an example of that. Because I know I have a larger following. I am very careful about what I say. I know I work with brands and I want to have a good relationship with them. One company I worked with did not follow through on the giveaway and I had to tell my winner that I was sorry because the company did not follow through and I am ultimately non responsible so I just put a tweet out saying that “I am really disappointed that a company didn’t follow through with their giveaway”. I did not say the actual company name. Within two minutes, I got a response from Otterbox saying that they will be happy to let that winner pick anything off their site so they can make it right. So, they stepped in and I wrote a big blog post how great companies step in when other companies are not so great. I never had to actually mention a1 1 company name. Kathryn Lavallee I see a lot of these tweets and I certainly hope that they don’t get a reaction from the companies. You see a lot of where people go on and say “This company sucks or is awful”. If you have a constructive response to make, that should get a response. It shouldn’t get a better response than1 2 other forms choose to use.1 Stuart R. Crawford We had deliverable issues earlier this year and a few loud mouths in the channel started blogging about things. They wrote Websicle Lied to US. To me that was a character assassination of a character assassination. Our CEO said that if you elect to pay attention to that loud mouth, you will take away from the other 16,000 clients we do great work for because of a few loud mouths looking for attention. Eventually, those guys went away. The problem is google search. There is some definite play there. Now once somebody goes and searches our company name, that crap1 2 comes in below it. How do we get rid of that when just a few loud mouths wanted attention.1 Dave Perry That is something that happened to me when I had a gaming blog. If you have built a following within social media and Twitter, you have followers. Amongst those peoples are champions.1 2 They get your brand and even if you don’t respond as a company, they will respond for you. Mark Evans One more question before we wrap up. What are you looking for from Dell? Are you getting1 1 what you want? Do you want to see something different happen?1 Kathryn Lavallee I would say that it can’t just be about customer service. If you want to have something that last. You can’t just use social media for customer service. It is a great tool, but the engagement is so big that you have to have that one on one engagement as well. Otherwise, when a new form of1 1 media comes about, Twitter and Facebook will be useless.1 Casie Stewart Maybe we do the campaign that says “Let’s invite the bloggers” and I get an email two weeks later with in invitation. Why not be friends with the bloggers all the time and read their blogs all the time? So, I get another PR email and I forward it to my assistant and she reads it and decides if I should read it or not. It is like build a relationship so then they get an email from me and Dell has a question that says “What do you think about this?” Just like you would ask someone who is your friend about something. Build a real relationship. How about, I see you went on that trip1 1 to Florida, girl you look great!1 Nancy Polance Brands come to my blog and leave a comment on my post on what I have written and tweet back1 1 and forth. It is actually a real relationship.1 Casie Stewart It takes time, but you will have a long term relationship with them. I am not looking for a one night stand with my friends. You see each other a couple of times. You check in and see how you are doing. It is important and it makes you feel good. You feel good about your brand and1 1 they care about your brand.1
  • Kathryn Lavallee It is not any different than how you would build up a relationship with any other media1 1 professional. If you were going to the papers, you have those couple of relationships.
  • Mark Evans We are 15 minutes away. So we are going to go around the room with two things. What are you1 1 going to take away from this even and what would you like Dell to do?1 Dick Weytze Well. Let’s see. My eyes have opened up quite a bit. I was working a small empire. To hear everything that is going on is fascinating. What I have seen from Dell is amazing compared to what I have been doing. What I will be doing in the future is analyze everything I have seen here1 1 and go through Twitter and messages.11 1 Shirley Freinkel I am just a bit overwhelmed by it all because I didn’t know. Everything that has been going on Dave Perry I am gladly impressed with how Dell values the feedback of their actual users. Long term or new customers. I am glad that you shared with us new products and the green efforts. Hopefully, if we get invited back next year we will see some of the things we have said here today. I would like to see the message of environmental sustainability get out. I would like to see that a lot1 2 more. You are going through the right steps and getting the right feedback. Lior Hershkovitz Pretty much what Dave said. I think that it is commendable that a big company like Dell is engaging people the way they have. It is amazing to see the impact of social media over the last 5 years. The role that it plays. The size of team that you need to manage it. I think from what I’ ve heard today will certainly set in motion the right ideas as far as dealing directly with their customer. I will look forward to checking it out over the coming years and see how it is coming1 1 along. Mark Graham Two things. Number one, be friends with bloggers. Number two, it is interesting to see a company as massive as Dell going through what I think is a pretty interesting time in its history. I really get the sense that this is a company that is really committed to almost reinventing itself in trying to remaining ahead of the curve and be really relevant to it’s customers consumer or enterprise. I can’t imagine that this is an easy task. Being invited to events like this is an honor to get to play a role in making a difference. There are a lot of other big companies out there that1 2 don’t do that kind of a job like that and they ultimately slide into irrelevance. Stuart R. Crawford The end of the day, business is still done with people and the relationships that people form. Nothing has changed since my grandfather taught me that 40 or 50 years ago. The tools that we use to communicate and share knowledge have changed, but the core fundamental message is still there. I don’t care if it is a telephone, email, fax, Twitter. I just sent a Twitter message out saying that Dell CAP is almost over, I can turn off Twitter for the next month until the next IT conference I go to. Whatever tools people use is how they want to be communicated to. Be faithful to the channel. The IT consulting community carries a lot of weight in small and1 1 medium business market. Keep them as your friends. It will help. Casie Stewart I think that what I have really learned is that I learned a lot about Dell. I haven’t participated in something like this before. It is really neat to see that you really care and you are really taking the time to take a whole day to bring us together like this. The visuals and so forth help me. If I can share some of the things that I have learned from the blogger side or just PR kind of things. If that can help make Dell’s customer service better in the way they do things better social. I1 2 think that is totally awesome. Jody Arsenault I echo what you say. I am very thankful that I was invited to the event. I have attended a few events like this and I am happy to say that this one was put together really well. I like the opportunities that we have all had to share and discuss together. I am excited for some of the things you are doing. I am surprised at some of the things I have heard. I am glad to bring this back to my readers and share what you guys are doing. So. Thank you. As far as what I want Dell to do, I look forward to interacting more on social media with you so we will see how that goes and I think the whole green initiative is good. Don’t be afraid of what people are going to think. I still think it is great to get that message out there. There are so many people that need to1 1 hear that because I had no idea about the wonderful things that are being done.
  • Kathryn Lavallee I loved the two way communication through the entire event. It is what I was really hoping for. So much of it was really wonderful. To be able to learn and contribute is one of the greatest things in the world. What do I want Dell to do? Let’s continue the conversation! Let’s keep talking. It is so easy to talk nowadays. It is great to do a face to face because you get that connection, but after that when you are online with someone you can hear that voice even as you are reading because you have had that face to face connection. So, let’s keep it going and spread the word about some of these amazing things that Dell is doing. Let’s continue the conversation1 2 and share this with as many people as possible Eric Vallillee I think one of the things that I took away is that obviously all the people who are here really care about the company and the brand. You really believe in it. I think that is really good. It is really important. Jason was talking this morning about the programs that they have in place to deal with customer service to get those values to trickle down. I really hope that stuff continues and I hope that you sort of make that your front line. People who are answering the phones are as1 1 passionate as you are about the products they are selling and support. Joe Mallon What do I want? Do you have a 16 core… No really, first of all I was very surprised to be asked to join in considering that I am just a consumer and not associated with computing. I have never been to a function like this. It has been an eye opener to know that some companies really do care. If you found that I am quite today, it is because I just bought a new Dell machine and I am1 2 very pleased with it. Bob Benedetti I was happy to be invited to this. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I have been to events like this before that turned out to be marketing events. I am pleasantly surprised that this is not what this is. I really feel that you guys were listening to us and writing down what we think needs to be done. I thank you for the opportunity to pass along whatever wisdom we have been able to move across the table. I have a new appreciation of Dell. I have always been a fan of the company but it has been a very worthwhile event for me. I enjoyed it. I hope we will get the chance to get this1 1 again. I want a small laptop that will blow me away. Mike Agerbo I am a tech journal enthusiast. I wanted to come here today inspired. I wanted to see what the direction was for Dell. I wanted to meet some of the people to see their character and see how they are driving things. I wanted to see the new products and I have been wowed. There are so few tech companies in the tech marketplace that I feel are leading the charge. I think Dell can continue to be that company. I have had the chance to talk to some of the Dell folks individually. You guys are actually pretty cool. What is common among all of you is that you really believe in what you are doing and you have a clear vision on what needs to be done going forward. That to me is very inspiring as a tech journalist and a small business owner as well. We use a lot of Dell products in my company. As a small business owner, it makes me feel comfortable that I am1 2 with the right company. Nancy Polance I just want to say thank you for having us here. I appreciate that. What I am taking away is that I was pretty active with the whole green thing. That is something that is really big especially as a consumer. I think it would benefit Dell. It is such a big demographic. I am just grateful to be here to learn more about Dell. It has been a while since I purchased a Dell product. It has blown me away how much it has changed. To find out that you guys have been green for quite a while is a big thing for me. Most of you guys have voiced the passion that you have. All the Dell employees here... it is nice to see that and talk to a brand directly about their products and talk about how they want to improve. I say continue with the social media and building relationships.1 1 I would say toot your horn about the green thing. Thank you very much. Phil Bryant I really do appreciate you guys coming in. Thanks for all the feedback. Just so you know, my personal opinion on the whole social phenomenon is that if I really want to know what is going on, I ask in three places. If I get the same answers in the different places, then I see that is how1 2 things are. If I get three different answers, I know we have a problem.1
  • I can do surveys and while they are great data. The problem is that it takes time to take that information back. What I love about the social feedback is that it is completely unfiltered and it is immediate. I can take a small problem or issue and intercept it before it gets to be a big problem or a big issue. I really do appreciate you coming here and I appreciate all the feedback. When we do surveys, what I hate are the fence sitters. The people who didn’t care enough to rate you enough one way or another. That is the worst place to be. What I like about this is that if you like something, you say it and if you don’t like it you say it, and it is very clear. I don’t have to guess at all and I know I have gotten the problem now. I know I have gotten the praise as soon as I could. That is the way it should be. You provide a valuable service for us. I love the idea of being able to maintain a relationship more. I think that was frankly well said. I think the notion of being too opportunistic and self serving is very good feedback. I get this feedback at home. I1 2 really do appreciate you caring enough to come here and take the time. Janet Fabri First of all I really appreciate the commitment that everyone took the time to come and be here today. Many of you came from locations outide of Toronto, many from cities quite far away so everyone made a big effort to get here on relatively short notice. I really appreciate that. I want to thank my colleagues in the room who brought this to fruition. There has been a team in place since March of this year making sure that this was the kind of day that delivered the kind of messages you needed to hear and more importantly that we needed to hear. We are going to do a survey as a followup and in that survey we would like for you to tell us what went well and what did not go well. Tell us how you would like to continue communicating with us and with what frequency and what kinds of things would you like to do with so that this is not an isolated event and so that we are forging the beginnings of some new relationships and we take that very1 1 seriously. The reception will be on the main floor in the vault.