Dell has been taking some interesting actions recently. Several months ago they started blogging and interacting with bloggers. Those steps have been interesting since few other companies of their size have taken such action (nothing amazing, but seem much beyond the common corporate, totally out of touch attempts to adopt new technology – they seemed to be committed to actually try to learn about interactive web thinking).
They recently created IdeaStorm to Turn Up the Volume of Customer Voice [the broken link was removed] (quite an innovative attempt at customer focus). There are issues with the method they are using, but innovation is about trying to find new ways of doing things there often are questions about the new methods. The simple view is they are using the a tool of the social web (Digg, Reddit) to discover what the users of IdeaStorm want from Dell (obviously this is only a subset of Dell potential customers – and a small one I would imagine). Essentially users can post ideas and then others promote those they support.
Dell has now announced some actions they are taking based on the results thusfar.
We are listening, and as a result, we are working with Novell to certify our corporate client products for Linux, including our OptiPlex desktops, Latitude notebooks and Dell Precision workstations.
Dell recognizes our customers’ desire to have unlimited control over the software on their PC. In fact, today XPS customers can opt-out of almost all preinstalled software. We will be expanding this effort in the coming months. In addition to focusing on the software installation process, Dell has also taken steps to make it easier for customers to remove software once they receive their PC.
The second issue is an issue raised on this blog in April of last year: Dell, Reddit and Customer Focus (interestingly those 3 ideas sum up this post too – Dell using social media ideas to improve customer focus).
From our science and engineering blog, 500 Engineering Jobs for Texas, I wrote, “Interesting, Dell is often criticised for not investing in technological innovation. They have often been seen as relying on manufacturing and business process (build to order system) innovation but not technological innovation. Maybe the recent stock price troubles have caused Dell to decide to invest in more technological innovation. Dell has stated they have greatly increase spending on customer service as a result of recent troubles.” Dell’s comment:
A small step but impressive, I thought, they didn’t have to respond to a post that was far from flattering. And I have seen they have kept up interaction with bloggers. I bought a new computer a few months ago and looked at getting a Dell but they did not make buying one with Linux (especially Ubuntu, the “flavor” of Linux I wanted) simple. So I bought from elsewhere (and have been quite happy).
Dell is the worst performing stock from our 10 stocks for 10 years portfolio. It is down 33% but still believe it is a good investment and actually picked up a bit recently for the portfolio.