Regarding the Dell Computer (Incident 30004729)

Gentlemen,

The incident in question was only recently resolved, and resolution required unilateral action by Dell managers and employees outside the Executive Escalation Team’s efforts. I think Dell, as an organization, needs to study the incident and understand why such extracurricular efforts became necessary. From a customer perspective, this incident highlights several issues that have plagued Dell since the late 1990s. Issues that supposedly prompted Michael Dell’s return as CEO in the early 2000s to ostensibly correct. So why are the problems still present over a decade later?

Eddie Matos, an Alienware manager and EET member independently worked with me to resolve the incident properly. Ironically, the solution we settled on was substantially the same as what Farat Herman proposed. The difference was that our version was tailored to my actual requirements rather than being offered on a take-it-or-leave-it basis. That pretty much illustrates the systemic problems I refer to. Mr. Herman indicated no real inclination to provide a product more suitable to my needs. He basically only offered a direct replacement for a laptop that had already proved to be inadequate.

Of course I know Dell is now largely focused on enterprise customers, but that focus is far from exclusive. You continue to have whole lines of consumer-grade products belying the proposition that consumers no longer mean anything to Dell. So why subject consumers to a post-sale service experience that is invariably so frustrating that it drives them away? Before dismissing that question as hyperbole, recall the issues that prompted the return of Michael Dell. As I recall, one issue was the loss of the “award-winning service” Dell used to tout in advertising. Yes, “everybody” is outsourcing service these days, but has no one ever considered that only adds to the public perception of PCs as mere commodities? The situation seems like a self-fulfilling prophecy to me.

Readers on the Indian sub-continent are unlikely to fully understand the significance of this next point, but Alienware is an example of an “aspirational product” line. That means its products are ones that people dream of owning. The closest analogy in the American automotive industry is the Chevrolet Corvette line. While those cars aren’t practical for most people, virtually every American with a pulse would love to have one. Although all Corvettes from a given year may look alike to the layman, anyone familiar can immediately spot the little variations that customize the vehicles to the owners’ preference. I submit that much the same has to be true for Alienware. It’s a disservice to force customers to choose between three or four variations of a model on a webpage, because people who are willing to pay the premium for Alienware are also more likely to have specific requirements. For example, it was only late in the selection process that I noticed that the laptop we were narrowing in on only had an i5 processor. Fortunately, Eddie’s people whipped out an i7 copy in mere hours! Having a broad range of options is part of what makes a product aspirational. Corvettes aren’t particularly profitable for GM monetarily, but the prestige surrounding them is critical to customer confidence in GM.

Learn or perish, people. You either do things to generate customer faith and loyalty or they will see you as no better than Packard-Bell and e-machines. I know that Eddie is planning to do sort of an “after-action report” analyzing this incident and the mistakes involved. That’s why I’ve stayed away from the details. Instead, my thrust has been to highlight the frustration and discontent the incident has built in me. You won’t keep customers long if the situation doesn’t improve noticeably.

Scott Royall

From: Scott Royall [mailto:royall@conchbbs.com]
Sent: Wednesday, January 7, 2015 19:21
To: michael_dell@dell.com
Cc: Bernadete_Padua@Dell.com
Subject: FW: Regarding the Dell Computer (Incident 30004729)

Executive Escalation Team,

I have intentionally waited a few days to let the team fully digest the situation with Mr. Herman. I believe my final email to him stated my position pretty plainly, and I don’t know that I could explain it any better. There were two basic issues that kept recurring in my interactions with him, and I reached the point where I knew further efforts would be useless. I don’t question his motivation, but I truly think he was unable to grasp the daily realities I must contend with. That’s not that unusual; it has been my observation that normal able-bodied people really have to work mentally the extent to which laptops are at the core of my life. If you can imagine having to depend on a computer for everything, starting with talking, you begin to understand why they are absolutely essential to me.

Reading through this entire thread of correspondence will take some time, and I sadly understand that few executives will bother. That seems a pity to me because it contains a great deal of relevant information, such as my recommendations for how Dell can avoid incidents like this in the future. It might be surprising that implementing those recommendations should cost Dell little or nothing. My point being that I’m trying hard to both resolve the current crisis, and prevent future recurrences by helping your sales force appreciate how necessary providing good and complete information pre-sale can be. If offering additional information costs virtually nil, what does it matter if most potential customers ignore it? A few of us need it desperately.

Please have someone more pragmatic and practical contact me.

Scott Royall

From: Scott Royall [mailto:royall]
Sent: Thursday, January 1, 2015 16:11
To: Farat_Herman
Cc: Bernadete_Padua; michael_dell
Subject: RE: Regarding the Dell Computer (Incident 30004729)

Mr. Herman,

I am sorry to read your response since I have already explained that I am unable to send this laptop anywhere. I fear that English must not be your primary language because you have failed to understand my meaning on several occasions. How am I to deal with someone I am apparently unable to communicate with? I have repeatedly attempted to explain to you that these laptops are not toys to me. They are literally a matter of life for me, and that is the most fundamental reason why I cannot return this one as that would leave me unable to function.

I regret to inform you that I will not attempt to communicate further with you as it appears to be futile. Please do not respond to this email even. I am formally requesting that the Executive Escalation Team assign this incident to someone I can effectively communicate with.

Mr. Herman, I do not doubt that you have made some effort to resolve this matter. However, I have spent too much money in my 20 years as a Dell customer to be treated with such rigidity. The Executive Escalation Team cannot refute that this whole incident was the result of Dell sales personnel failing to respond to several technical questions that both Ms. Mateo and I repeatedly asked during my purchase of this laptop. Therefore, I must insist on satisfaction.

Scott Royall

P.S.

Mr. Herman, I take the fact that you sent corporate email on New Year’s Day as further indication that we do not even share a common set of cultural values.

Ma salama.

From: Farat_Herman [mailto:Farat_Herman]
Sent: Thursday, January 1, 2015 13:56
To: royall
Subject: RE: Regarding the Dell Computer (Incident 30004729)

Dell Customer Communication

Dear Mr. Royall,

I would like to confirm through this email that refund is posted back to the “original mode of payment” in approximately 30 days from the date we receive the merchandise, provided the system is received in the same condition (physically intact with no accidental/intentional damage) in which it was sent in.

Please advise if you would like us to arrange a pick-up of the system or if somebody can drop it off at the nearest UPS store.

I look forward to your response.

Regards,

Farat Herman

Client Technical Support Specialist

Dell | Advanced Resolution Group

Phone +1 800 624 9897 Ext.: 72-83898

My work schedule is from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm CST Monday to Friday.

P Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail.

Confidentiality Notice | This e-mail message, including any attachments, is for the sole use of the intended recipient(s) and may contain confidential or proprietary information. Any unauthorized review, use, disclosure or distribution is prohibited. If you are not the intended recipient, immediately contact the sender by reply e-mail and destroy all copies of the original message.

*******************************************************************************

From: Scott Royall [mailto:royall]
Sent: Thursday, January 01, 2015 2:50 AM
To: Herman, Farat
Cc: Padua – Mateo, Bernadete
Subject: RE: Regarding the Dell Computer (Incident 30004729)

Mr. Herman,

Please read my emails carefully; I am normally very specific in my wording. The refund you’re offering would have to be applied to my Dell Preferred Account as that’s how I do all business with Dell. Therefore, a refund would effectively just be applied against a replacement system regardless of Dell’s formal intent.

Yes, I knew the M14 is gone. That’s why I said you should expect a lot of questions. Again, are you willing to help get answers?

Scott Royall

From: Farat_Herman [mailto:Farat_Herman]
Sent: Wednesday, December 31, 2014 14:28
To: royall
Subject: RE: Regarding the Dell Computer (Incident 30004729)

Dell Customer Communication

Dear Mr. Royall,

Thank you for your email. Please be advised that Dell does not manufacture new Alienware 14 systems anymore. We manufacture Alienware 13, Alienware 17 and Alienware 18 as of now.

We have offered refund as an exception and have not offered a depreciated refund even when your system is a July 2014 purchase. Moreover, we will be unable to offer new system exchange/different model exchange.

Please advise if you agree for refund, in order we can proceed further.

I look forward to your response and cooperation.

Regards,

Farat Herman

Client Technical Support Specialist

Dell | Advanced Resolution Group

Phone +1 800 624 9897 Ext.: 72-83898

My work schedule is from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm CST Monday to Friday.

P Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail.

Confidentiality Notice | This e-mail message, including any attachments, is for the sole use of the intended recipient(s) and may contain confidential or proprietary information. Any unauthorized review, use, disclosure or distribution is prohibited. If you are not the intended recipient, immediately contact the sender by reply e-mail and destroy all copies of the original message.

*******************************************************************************

From: Scott Royall [mailto:royall]
Sent: Wednesday, December 31, 2014 7:38 AM
To: Herman, Farat
Cc: Padua – Mateo, Bernadete
Subject: RE: Regarding the Dell Computer (Incident 30004729)

Mr. Herman,

The wording if your email is somewhat unclear, and I take it to mean there are no more mid-2013 M14s matching my requirements. I believe I predicted that would be the case. A refund only redresses my situation if we immediately apply it toward a new replacement system. Are you willing to work with me toward that goal? Please review the three suggestions I made regarding the product selection/configuration process, because, while those suggestions obviously haven’t yet been implemented, someone with your authority should be able to assist me in obtaining the information that they would normally provide. Good information is what was lacking last time, and it is critical to a successful purchase cycle.

If you agree to serve as a facilitator of technical information during the purchase of a replacement laptop, I request and recommend that Bernadete Mateo be re-engaged in the process. That is because she is a source of knowledge about my requirements that’s local to you, thereby easing the process. Indeed, upon reading up on our recent correspondence, Ms. Mateo may well be able to predict what details I’ll need just from the revelation that the M13 is the most likely replacement selection. You could say that the value of a good bi-directional flow of information during the purchase process is a fundamental lesson retaught by this whole incident. That means both providing as many answers as a customer needs, and fully utilizing any information Dell employees may have regarding customer requirements.

To be clear, I do not expect a full refund on 29ZQH12. Dell should retain the charges for the extended warranty and accidental damage coverage, as the laptop is useful enough to be an another backup for the critical on-chair “active duty” role. What I want has always been for Dell to credit the actual system price for this laptop against the replacement about to be purchased. Dell should consider that loss as the cost of not attending to the questions that Ms. Mateo and I repeatedly tried to get answered. That’s also why I ask you to remain involved in the purchase process as a high-ranking data conduit. I don’t expect you to know all the answers, but you should be able to obtain them for me.

Ms. Mateo is out until Monday so I recommend we recess until then.

Scott Royall

From: Farat_Herman [mailto:Farat_Herman]
Sent: Tuesday, December 30, 2014 17:09
To: royall
Subject: RE: Regarding the Dell Computer (Incident 30004729)

Dell Customer Communication

Dear Mr. Royall,

Thank you for your email. I regret to advise that we do not have a match anymore and as a one-time exception, I am willing to offer full refund on your system (bearing the service tag: 29ZQH12).

Please advise if you agree for the same, in order we can proceed further.

I look forward to your response.

Regards,

Farat Herman

Client Technical Support Specialist

Dell | Advanced Resolution Group

Phone +1 800 624 9897 Ext.: 72-83898

My work schedule is from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm CST Monday to Friday.

P Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail.

Confidentiality Notice | This e-mail message, including any attachments, is for the sole use of the intended recipient(s) and may contain confidential or proprietary information. Any unauthorized review, use, disclosure or distribution is prohibited. If you are not the intended recipient, immediately contact the sender by reply e-mail and destroy all copies of the original message.

*******************************************************************************

From: Scott Royall [mailto:royall]
Sent: Tuesday, December 30, 2014 6:25 AM
To: Herman, Farat
Cc: Padua – Mateo, Bernadete
Subject: RE: Regarding the Dell Computer (Incident 30004729)

Nope. Well, there are two main issues with this proposed configuration. The obvious one is the version of Windows; we’re trying to swap a machine that has Windows 8.1 Professional. I only buy Professional (it has additional tools). Fortunately, this issue is easily solved if Dell is willing to upgrade Windows.

However, I see the proposed configuration also has a solid-state hybrid drive, as does the machine we want to swap. Statistics would tell us hybrid drives have performance that’s between solid-state and traditional hard-disk drives, but I’ve not found that to be true. In fact, I mentioned to you that the drive in this laptop was the main weakness. I think it’s because the drive is constantly trying to optimize which files are in flash memory. That means files are always being flushed to disk because I do many things during a day. I’m not sure what our options are regarding storage.

There’s also a question. The M14 was revised frequently, and your configuration doesn’t include a manufacture date. That’s relevant because some revisions had plastic shells. The lid of this laptop, 29ZQH12, has a metallic shell, and I consider that a prerequisite for any glass display because it stiffens the lid and protects the glass from being flexed. Your configuration does list the color as “anodized aluminum,” but that very well may be only a color. Unpainted aluminum is a light gray, for example.

Mr. Herman, it’s exactly as I told you. I’m genuinely not trying to be difficult, but it makes no sense to swap this laptop for another one with the same weaknesses plus maybe a few more. I’m dissatisfied with this one, but at least it’s sort of working. On the other hand, yes, you’re very close to a workable configuration. If you could arrange for the Windows upgrade, swap the hybrid drive, and verify that the lid really is predominantly metal, we would both be happy. Unfortunately, I know enough about how Dell’s parts system is to know that substitutions are virtually impossible. At least that’s always been what I was told.

From: Farat_Herman [mailto:Farat_Herman]
Sent: Monday, December 29, 2014 16:24
To: royall
Subject: RE: Regarding the Dell Computer (Incident 30004729)

Dell Customer Communication

Dear Mr. Royall,

This email is with reference to the conversation we had regarding your Dell computer. Please find below the configuration of the Refurbished system in exchange and please responds at the earliest with your consent.

System: Alienware 14 R1

Color: Anodized Aluminum

Operating System: Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit Service Pack 1

500 GB Solid State Hybrid Drive with 8GB Flash

8 GB Dual Channel DDR3L 1600MHz (4GBx2) Memory

6 Cell Battery

14.0 Inch (355.6 mm) WLED FHD (1920 x 1080) Anti-Glare Display

NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M 2GB GDDR5

8X DVD +/- RW Drive

Wireless: Broadcom 4352 802.11 ac 2×2 and Bluetooth 4.0

Processor: Intel Core 4th Generation i5-4200M (3M Cache, up to 3.1GHz)

2 MP FHD Camera

Power Cord

150W AC Adapter

The refurbished system will ship out in approximately 3-5 business days at the following address:

Mr. Scott Royall

15906 MANFIELD DR

HOUSTON

TX

77082

Post the delivery of the replacement refurbished system, the old system (Service Tag: 29ZQH12) needs to be shipped back to Dell within 10 days. If you have any questions or concerns, please do reply to this email or call me at the earliest and I would be glad to assist you further.

I look forward to your consent at the earliest on the Refurbished system in exchange offered.

Regards,

Farat Herman

Client Technical Support Specialist

Dell | Advanced Resolution Group

Phone +1 800 624 9897 Ext.: 72-83898

My work schedule is from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm CST Monday to Friday.

P Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail.

Confidentiality Notice | This e-mail message, including any attachments, is for the sole use of the intended recipient(s) and may contain confidential or proprietary information. Any unauthorized review, use, disclosure or distribution is prohibited. If you are not the intended recipient, immediately contact the sender by reply e-mail and destroy all copies of the original message.

*******************************************************************************

From: Scott Royall [mailto:royall]
Sent: Thursday, December 25, 2014 3:00 AM
To: Herman, Farat
Subject: RE: Regarding the Dell Computer (Incident 30004729)

Talk to you next week. Merry Christmas.

From: Farat_Herman [mailto:Farat_Herman]
Sent: Wednesday, December 24, 2014 14:09
To: royall
Subject: RE: Regarding the Dell Computer (Incident 30004729)

Dell Customer Communication

Dear Mr. Royall,

This is a follow up email. We are still trying to find a refurbished replacement system and as soon as we are able to find one, I will contact you.

We thank you for your patience.

Regards,

Farat Herman

Client Technical Support Specialist

Dell | Advanced Resolution Group

Phone +1 800 624 9897 Ext.: 72-83898

My work schedule is from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm CST Monday to Friday.

P Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail.

Confidentiality Notice | This e-mail message, including any attachments, is for the sole use of the intended recipient(s) and may contain confidential or proprietary information. Any unauthorized review, use, disclosure or distribution is prohibited. If you are not the intended recipient, immediately contact the sender by reply e-mail and destroy all copies of the original message.

*******************************************************************************

From: Scott Royall [mailto:royall]
Sent: Tuesday, December 23, 2014 3:18 AM
To: Herman, Farat
Cc: Padua – Mateo, Bernadete
Subject: RE: Regarding the Dell Computer (Incident 30004729)

Yes, I didn’t think finding a refurb with the right specifications would be easy. You might start thinking of a Plan B.

From: Farat_Herman [mailto:Farat_Herman]
Sent: Monday, December 22, 2014 15:32
To: royall
Subject: RE: Regarding the Dell Computer (Incident 30004729)

Dell Customer Communication

Dear Mr. Royall,

Thank you for your email. We are trying to find a matching replacement but have been unable to find one till date. I will contact you again in a day or two.

Regards,

Farat Herman

Client Technical Support Specialist

Dell | Advanced Resolution Group

Phone +1 800 624 9897 Ext.: 72-83898

My work schedule is from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm CST Monday to Friday.

P Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail.

Confidentiality Notice | This e-mail message, including any attachments, is for the sole use of the intended recipient(s) and may contain confidential or proprietary information. Any unauthorized review, use, disclosure or distribution is prohibited. If you are not the intended recipient, immediately contact the sender by reply e-mail and destroy all copies of the original message.

*******************************************************************************

From: Scott Royall [mailto:royall]
Sent: Saturday, December 20, 2014 8:45 AM
To: Herman, Farat
Cc: Padua – Mateo, Bernadete
Subject: Re: Regarding the Dell Computer (Incident 30004729)

Mr. Herman,

The configuration I sent was written in such a way as to communicate the order of importance among the requirements.

Scott Royall

On Fri, Dec 19, 2014 at 4:49 PM, <Farat_Herman> wrote:

Dell Customer Communication

Dear Mr. Royall,

I will try to match the configuration of the replacement refurbished system with the one that you currently own.

Regards,

Farat Herman

Client Technical Support Specialist

Dell | Advanced Resolution Group

Phone +1 800 624 9897 Ext.: 72-83898

My work schedule is from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm CST Monday to Friday.

P Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail.

Confidentiality Notice | This e-mail message, including any attachments, is for the sole use of the intended recipient(s) and may contain confidential or proprietary information. Any unauthorized review, use, disclosure or distribution is prohibited. If you are not the intended recipient, immediately contact the sender by reply e-mail and destroy all copies of the original message.

*******************************************************************************

From: Scott Royall [mailto:royall]
Sent: Friday, December 19, 2014 5:48 AM
To: Herman, Farat
Cc: Padua – Mateo, Bernadete
Subject: Re: Regarding the Dell Computer (Incident 30004729)

If I may, I’d like to recommend this configuration:

If Model = mid-2013 M14 then

If anti-glare glass available then

anti-glare glass

else

stick with TFT

RAM => 8GB

Storage = 500GB in two SSDs or one HDD, No hybrids, No optical drive

else /* if Model <> mid-2013 M14 then */

we need to confer more because I can’t give a configuration without more information

Please read the above configuration carefully because it will surprise you. The display is the most visible issue with this M14, but the hybrid HDD is the biggest performance sink. The rest of the computer–even the touchpad–freezes during heavy I/O.

On Thu, Dec 18, 2014 at 4:33 PM, <Farat_Herman> wrote:

Dell Customer Communication

Dear Mr. Royall,

Thank you for your email and cooperation. We have started to look for a refurbished system in exchange and will update you with the configurations on a match as soon as we find one.

Regards,

Farat Herman

Client Technical Support Specialist

Dell | Advanced Resolution Group

Phone +1 800 624 9897 Ext.: 72-83898

My work schedule is from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm CST Monday to Friday.

P Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail.

Confidentiality Notice | This e-mail message, including any attachments, is for the sole use of the intended recipient(s) and may contain confidential or proprietary information. Any unauthorized review, use, disclosure or distribution is prohibited. If you are not the intended recipient, immediately contact the sender by reply e-mail and destroy all copies of the original message.

*******************************************************************************

From: Scott Royall [mailto:royall]
Sent: Friday, December 19, 2014 12:38 AM
To: Herman, Farat
Cc: Padua – Mateo, Bernadete; Dell, Michael
Subject: RE: Regarding the Dell Computer (Incident 30004729)

To hell with it, my address is:

15906 Manfield Dr.

Houston, TX 77082

From: Scott Royall [mailto:royall]
Sent: Wednesday, December 17, 2014 18:38
To: Farat_Herman
Cc: Bernadete_Padua; michael_dell
Subject: RE: Regarding the Dell Computer (Incident 30004729)

Mr. Herman,

Very well. Do you have a corporate cell phone? That is how I would prefer to give you my address, by text. You should look at this as a case where I’m simply trying to stick with best practices and avoid sending personal data in the clear. It’s likely that you do have a phone, and SMS messages are more secure than email anyway.

I will try to find time tomorrow to write my suggestions.

Scott Royall

From: Farat_Herman [mailto:Farat_Herman]
Sent: Wednesday, December 17, 2014 17:56
To: royall
Subject: RE: Regarding the Dell Computer (Incident 30004729)

Dell Customer Communication

Dear Mr. Royall,

I would like to confirm that I am a representative of the Dell corporate office and is willing to resolve your issue. I do acknowledge the fact that you are a loyal Dell customer and appreciate the feedback because the feedback which we receive remains a crucial tool to determine how we can best improve our products and services.

Moreover, the reason we are requesting for the confirmation of the shipping address is because we want to make sure we are shipping the refurbished system in exchange to the right address. This also is a way to validate the account.

Hence, if you are willing to go ahead with a refurbished system in exchange, please confirm the shipping address through an email. I will certainly email you the specifications of the refurbished exchange system, before we confirm and ship it to you.

Regards,

Farat Herman

Client Technical Support Specialist

Dell | Advanced Resolution Group

Phone +1 800 624 9897 Ext.: 72-83898

My work schedule is from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm CST Monday to Friday.

P Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail.

Confidentiality Notice | This e-mail message, including any attachments, is for the sole use of the intended recipient(s) and may contain confidential or proprietary information. Any unauthorized review, use, disclosure or distribution is prohibited. If you are not the intended recipient, immediately contact the sender by reply e-mail and destroy all copies of the original message.

*******************************************************************************

From: Scott Royall [mailto:royall]
Sent: Thursday, December 18, 2014 4:23 AM
To: Herman, Farat; Dell, Michael
Cc: Padua – Mateo, Bernadete
Subject: RE: Regarding the Dell Computer (Incident 30004729)

Mr. Herman,

You know, at no point in this incident has anyone with Dell simply asked, “ok Mr. Royall, what is it that you want?”. Instead, the assumption seems to be that I’m merely another consumer looking to be pacified with an exchange, but I absolutely don’t see myself that way. I am a long-term Dell customer who has purchased dozens of your computers over the years. As such, I think I can reasonably expect a hearing by the EET when I perceive a recurring issue within recent years that is making selecting the best configuration for my needs nearly impossible. Yes, I do have a few ideas on how the configuration selection process can be improved, and I believe the EET will find most of them jaw-droppingly easy to implement.

You have never identified yourself as either an EET member or their proxy so I’m unclear why we are communicating at this stage. I do recognize that you are the person to talk with regarding the exchange, but we don’t appear close to that yet. The irony is, though, that you will inadvertently implement most of my suggested process improvements on at least an ad hoc basis as we look for a more appropriate configuration for my needs.

Scott Royall

From: Scott Royall [mailto:royall]
Sent: Tuesday, December 16, 2014 19:23
To: Farat_Herman; michael_dell
Cc: Bernadete_Padua
Subject: RE: Regarding the Dell Computer (Incident 30004729)

Mr. Herman,

I am in receipt of your email response, thank you.

Unfortunately, the nature of your response combined with a lack of any response from anyone on an executive level is raising alarms with me. The appearance is the Executive Escalation Team wants the exchange of this particular laptop for a refurbished unit to constitute the only remediation required to close this incident, and I am unable to concur with that interpretation. We can agree that such an exchange would be an important step, by correcting an undesirable result, but I submit that other measures are necessary to prevent the incident from recurring when I have to shop for my next laptop in 2Q2016. Is that point well understood? Dealing with a direct-market vendor has enough challenges without needing to make assumptions about the systems I buy.

I also find it very disturbing that you keep asking for my address, as if you perhaps doubt my identity. I am not stupid and I do not think you are either; I’m certain you are well aware that email is just plain text (meaning it’s unencrypted). Anyone along the path between us can view the contents if they so choose. While my address is certainly no secret, we both know Dell already has it in several databases. I do not believe in transmitting information I know the receiver already has.

Once you or someone else has satisfactorily addressed my concerns, I will be delighted to conclude this incident by exchanging this laptop for one better configured to meet my needs. Please do not ship anything with a configuration I have not agreed to, because nobody needs the additional frustration resulting from my being obliged to refuse delivery.

Scott Royall

From: Farat_Herman [mailto:Farat_Herman]
Sent: Tuesday, December 16, 2014 17:14
To: royall
Subject: RE: Regarding the Dell Computer (Incident 30004729)

Dell Customer Communication

Dear Mr. Royall,

Thank you for your emails. I would request you to please re-confirm if you are willing to go ahead with a refurbished system in exchange.

If you are willing to go ahead with it, please confirm the shipping address through a response email.

Regards,

Farat Herman

Client Technical Support Specialist

Dell | Advanced Resolution Group

Phone +1 800 624 9897 Ext.: 72-83898

My work schedule is from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm CST Monday to Friday.

P Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail.

Confidentiality Notice | This e-mail message, including any attachments, is for the sole use of the intended recipient(s) and may contain confidential or proprietary information. Any unauthorized review, use, disclosure or distribution is prohibited. If you are not the intended recipient, immediately contact the sender by reply e-mail and destroy all copies of the original message.

*******************************************************************************

From: Scott Royall [mailto:royall]
Sent: Monday, December 15, 2014 5:49 AM
To: Dell, Michael; Padua – Mateo, Bernadete; Herman, Farat
Subject: RE: Gamera

Dedet (and the EET),

I think it is worthwhile to try ensuring the EET appreciates that exchanging this laptop has never been the primary goal of contacting them. I could have accomplished that far earlier without involving them. Such an exchange, if it occurs, will only correct configuration deficiencies resulting from the communication weaknesses that I am trying to get the EET to recognize. That is the most salient point in contacting them.

Mr. Herman is going to face a real challenge in finding a refurbished system with a configuration improved enough to justify the effort I would need to invest in any exchange. This is because of the effort I have to spend in loading and configuring software on each “active-duty” machine before it can go on my wheelchair. That process takes weeks because of the broad array of software I use. I very deliberately use the “active-duty” phrase, with its militaristic connotations, as it is an accurate description of what the laptops assigned to the duty of riding on my wheelchair must contend with. The work is difficult, varied, and it can be dangerous; the world isn’t kind to a laptop riding around on the front of a wheelchair. While I’m not as active as I used to be, I’m still more so than most disabled people.

I am essentially a single-person IT shop these days after 14 years with Shell, and my active-duty laptops need to be just as versatile as I do. That’s why I don’t use your nominal “business” laptops in the role, they simply don’t have the flexibility I require. Alienware does, at least so far. I wouldn’t call myself a gamer, but, since there’s always an active-duty machine right in front of me, it needs to be able to handle whatever I ask of it.

The extent to which I depend on these laptops has to be hard for a stranger to understand. I know Dedet needed years to fully grasp my situation. These laptops do everything for me, including speak using software that I wrote. That means replacing a machine is a significant event, and the anticipated improvement has to justify the transition effort. Although I truly don’t like this TFT screen, Mr. Herman indeed has a high bar to clear in finding a replacement system good enough to warrant another transition so soon after getting this laptop operational.

No, what I want the EET to focus on are the factors that have led to orders that failed to meet expectations. This has occurred in my last two purchasing cycled, forcing me to conclude there are systemic contributors to the issue. Of course I’m cognizant that Dell now considers the enterprise to be its priority, but you do continue to market to small businesses. That’s me, and the fact that your self-proclaimed gaming line is providing the best fit shouldn’t matter. Alienware simply has a demonstrated edge in versatile performance and durability. That I’m having difficulty in obtaining intelligence necessary to order the available options most appropriate to my requirements should be a concern to Dell.

I could sit here ticking off ways in which I think the current SMB marketing wants improvement, but this email is far too long already. Before I go into that much detail, I need to know that someone beyond Mr. Herman has enough perceived stake in my broader issue to take ownership of improving the situation. Remember, exchanging this laptop would only address the current result of the issue, not the actual issue in my view.

Scott Royall

From: Scott Royall [mailto:royall]
Sent: Saturday, December 13, 2014 20:35
To: Bernadete_Padua
Cc: michael_dell; Farat_Herman
Subject: RE: Gamera

Dedet,

Truthfully, this is as I expected. After all, your value has never been so much your ability to affect change as it’s been your knowledge of my ongoing relationship with Dell. That’s a significant resource that we can only hope the EET makes use of.

In the course of the relationship, I’ve probably either coordinated the purchase, or personally purchased roughly 20-30 systems. That’s nothing in the overall scheme of Dell’s finances, but it has enabled me to function as an independent, productive member of society. The present reality is that my current source of funding will last another 4-5 years, and what happens beyond that point does not bear discussion. Yet, that reality also means I will be buying at least one or two more laptops after this cycle so it is certainly in my best interests to do everything I can think of to influence a return of the good two-way communication that used to be a Hallmark of my interactions with Dell.

Scott

From: Bernadete_Padua [mailto:Bernadete_Padua]
Sent: Saturday, December 13, 2014 19:25
To: royall
Subject: RE: Gamera

Hi Scott,

EET requested that I do not engage as they will take over and take full ownership. But rest assured that I am monitoring our progress.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend.

-Dedet

From: Scott Royall [mailto:royall]
Sent: Saturday, December 13, 2014 4:51 AM
To: Padua – Mateo, Bernadete
Subject: RE: Gamera

Any news?

From: Scott Royall [mailto:royall]
Sent: Thursday, December 11, 2014 20:03
To: Bernadete_Padua
Cc: Willie_Dexter_Goleta; Christian_Pacifico; Farat_Herman
Subject: RE: Gamera

This situation has officially reached the realm of Bizarro World. Another tech showed up today with another motherboard and battery. (Yes, the motherboard that’s supposedly backordered.) The tech did say the last guy didn’t do a good job of installation, but the bizarre part is that the right side USB port on this new motherboard still doesn’t even acknowledge the existence of devices that use USB 2.0 or lower. On a hunch, I switched the external USB 3.0 harddrive that is this system’s dedicated image backup from its normal port on the left side of the laptop to the right-hand port, and the system had no difficulty accessing it. That seems to indicate the problem isn’t strictly hardware, which is strange since USB 2.0 devices had been using that port for months. This particular problem appeared overnight, and that makes no sense since I do not allow automatic software updates.

I just received email from Farat noting the service call, and he asked if the issue had been resolved. The question makes it plain to me that I haven’t clearly explained the actual overall issue to him. In a sense, it wouldn’t matter if this laptop was operating with technical perfection. It still wouldn’t be the computer that I believed I had ordered. For instance, it has a 1366×768 TFT screen which frankly horrifies me. I genuinely didn’t think Alienware stooped so low in resolution, given their gaming pedigree. It’s true that I commented that I didn’t want a glass display, and Dedet is quite painfully aware of the reasoning behind that comment. The immediately preceding order was for a May 2012 AW M14R2, which has a glass display in a completely plastic lid. If Farat pulls up the service history for that computer, he will at least see why I did not wish to have another with identical weaknesses. My presumption was that this laptop would also have a totally plastic lid.

It doesn’t.

In fact, the lid shell consists primarily of metal. While the metallic skin is quite thin, it still gives the lid far more rigidity than the one on the M14R2, and a glass display in this lid would’ve been appropriately less vulnerable. However, nobody bothered to mention that critical detail to either me or Dedet, and that brings us to the real issue, an increasing lack of full communication that’s absolutely necessary for making sound decisions. How am I supposed to make the best purchasing choices, as an example, without all the relevant information?

I feel like I could write all night and still not convey the full scope of the real issue to Farat. The issue occurs in both the purchasing and service processes, and it’s as if people have become scared of being too forthcoming. Maybe a long talk with Dedet would help Farat better appreciate the issue, although I doubt he personally has sufficient influence to affect an resolution. I do think Farat would benefit from gaining a broader understanding of my general reality, and the manifold roles my “active-duty” machines are called upon to fill. Indeed Dedet, I think that explaining the functional and environmental differences between what my active-duty machines have to deal with vis-à-vis rear echelon quasi-server roles such as what my Latitude E6550 is doing would be the right place to start. The goal is to help Farat see why even the physical layout of potential active-duty machines can make or break their usefulness to me (remember Ari). If we can get Farat to more fully appreciate the overall issue, then perhaps he can help influence upper management to encourage more responsiveness among the various departments. Dell used to be much easier to get solid information from.

From: Bernadete_Padua [mailto:Bernadete_Padua]
Sent: Wednesday, December 10, 2014 09:50
To: royall
Subject: RE: Gamera

Hi Scott,

I already reach out to the big guns I personally know to replace Gamera with a brand new system and options to custom built to your preference. I bet that because Big M was included in the email, they will definitely be exploring options. I’d say that’s a pretty good move, like you said an amplifier J .

Thank you,

Dedet Mateo

Sales Support Sr Advisor

Brand Certified

Dell | Financial Services

Bernadete_Padua

1800 879-DELL ext 4251202

How was your experience? Please alert my manager, Luke_Franks

From: Scott Royall [mailto:royall]
Sent: Wednesday, December 10, 2014 6:29 AM
To: Goleta, Willie Dexter; Padua – Mateo, Bernadete; Dell, Michael
Cc: Pacifico, Christian
Subject: RE: Gamera

Dedet,

I’m waiting to hear from you regarding what to do about this laptop. At the core, it is a question of repair or replacement, and I admit there’s no perfect answer. What I know is there are always unanswered questions whenever I do go to replace a laptop. You do what you can to find people with the answers, but getting them to actively cooperate has been problematic at best. I sometimes wonder if I should go back to the Executive Escalation Team (or whatever it’s called now) and have our mandate for assistance refreshed. Perhaps a little rumbling thunder from the vicinity of Michael Dell’s office is necessary to get a renewed commitment to be helpful.

You also demonstrated to me last year that you’ve done a remarkable job of internalizing my general situation and circumstances. Enough so that I’m pretty comfortable with referring inquiries from the EET to you for an explanation of why my 20-year relationship with Dell has served our mutual interests. It is unfortunate that, in recent years, Alienware has been the only Dell division to consistently produce laptops capable of meeting my admittedly demanding and somewhat contradictory requirements. Precision, Latitude, and Inspiron do not. Now it appears that even Alienware has had to yield some to the laws of physics and move the high performance adapter for their compact model to an external box they call a “graphics amplifier” (and, being an Amateur Radio Operator, I find that highly amusing).

Whether or not I can continue to buy and use Alienware laptops—or those of any other Dell line—is going to depend largely on whether or not we can get better cooperation from the respective departments/divisions/whatever. That’s why I decided it’s high time to re-engage the EET. If something like an external “amplifier” is going to work for me, some very specific questions will need resolution. I suspect that at least a cable of unusual length will be necessary, given the realities of my life in a wheelchair.

What I must ask of you is that you do your best to explain the situation to the EET member who contacts you. The sad reality is that the last two purchasing cycles have fallen short of meeting requirements primarily because the respective salesperson either couldn’t or wouldn’t provide important data for my decisions, and the Alienware web page has become laughably vague and hyperbolic. I cannot continue making purchasing decisions in a partial vacuum.

Scott

From: Scott Royall [mailto:royall]
Sent: Sunday, December 7, 2014 13:18
To: Willie_Dexter_Goleta; Bernadete_Padua
Cc: Christian_Pacifico
Subject: RE: Gamera

Supplemental to the following: the USB issue returned Saturday morning. That raises the question of whether or not the tech re-installed the old motherboard after I left. No, I agree that makes no sense, but why is the Wi-Fi still working? What I mean is that the Wi-Fi card could not be secured to the new motherboard because of the incomplete screw hole, and the tech and I agreed that the tape he used to fasten the Wi-Fi card in place would only last a matter of hours. I’ve certainly been over enough terrain since Friday to shake that card loose. The fact that I still have Wi-Fi and the reappearance of the original problem affecting the right side USB port only is highly suspect.

Yes, I did check and the electrical problem that burned out the right port has not returned. Therefore, I can find nothing that would explain an identical single port failure on two motherboards. Unfortunately, I can’t take the bottom off this laptop and visually check if this is the old board (the Wi-Fi screw hole would be the giveaway clue).

Dedet originally offered to exchange this turkey laptop for another with more of the features I originally wanted, and I am starting to think she had the right idea! Of course I have no idea if the offer still stands. I also don’t know what options are available on the M14. Still, dumping this… turd is becoming more and more appealing. Dedet, talk to us, my guardian angel.

From: Scott Royall [mailto:royall]
Sent: Friday, December 5, 2014 17:31
To: Willie_Dexter_Goleta; Bernadete_Padua
Cc: Christian_Pacifico
Subject: RE: Gamera
Importance: High

Willie,

Pull up DN 309401974 and tell me what you see. DN 175780179 was a real cluster. The motherboard sent had a manufacturing defect (the screw hole for securing the WiFi wasn’t completed), and the tech discovered Gamera has a bad battery. At least that’s what he said. My own evaluation is that the tech was irritable and had virtually no experience with Alienware, as I caught several assembly errors before I got fed up and left so there’s no telling if this laptop was re-assembled correctly.

Scott

From: Willie_Dexter_Goleta [mailto:Willie_Dexter_Goleta]
Sent: Thursday, December 4, 2014 08:45
To: royall; Bernadete_Padua
Cc: Christian_Pacifico
Subject: RE: Gamera

Dell – Internal Use – Confidential

Hi Scott,

I apologized for the delayed responses as I was on leave for the past weeks. I already had the issues escalated and recreated a new service dispatch for Gamera. New dispatch number is 175780179.

Thanks,

Willie Dexter Goleta

Project Program Management Sr. Analyst

Brand certified

Dell | NA Client Basic Support

Office: 1-800-624-9896 ext 4251610

Did I get it right and are you willing to let us know? Send a short e-mail to my manager, Cy De Jesus, at Cirilo_De_Jesus.

From: Scott Royall [mailto:royall]
Sent: Thursday, December 04, 2014 11:22 AM
To: Goleta, Willie Dexter; Padua – Mateo, Bernadete
Cc: Pacifico, Christian
Subject: RE: Gamera

Willie, what’s the deal? Have they stopped making motherboards for this little turkey?

From: Willie_Dexter_Goleta [mailto:Willie_Dexter_Goleta]
Sent: Thursday, November 20, 2014 13:48
To: Bernadete_Padua; royall
Cc: Christian_Pacifico
Subject: RE: Gamera

Dell – Internal Use – Confidential

Hi Dedeth/Scott,

Service Dispatch has been processed since 11/18/2014. Upon checking today, parts is on backlog status which is the reason why the onsite service tech haven’t called yet. I’ll monitor this on the backend and provide you updates as soon as they are available.

Apologies for the delay.

Thanks,

Willie Dexter Goleta

Project Program Management Sr. Analyst

Brand certified

Dell | NA Client Basic Support

Office: 1-800-624-9896 ext 4251610

Did I get it right and are you willing to let us know? Send a short e-mail to my manager, Cy De Jesus, at Cirilo_De_Jesus.

From: Padua – Mateo, Bernadete
Sent: Friday, November 21, 2014 3:17 AM
To: royall; Goleta, Willie Dexter
Cc: Pacifico, Christian
Subject: RE: Gamera

Hi Willie,

Request update on this please.

Thank you,

Dedet Mateo

Sales Support Sr Advisor

Brand Certified

Dell | Financial Services

Bernadete_Padua

1800 879-DELL ext 4251202

How was your experience? Please alert my manager, Luke_Franks

From: Scott Royall [mailto:royall]
Sent: Friday, November 21, 2014 3:14 AM
To: Padua – Mateo, Bernadete
Subject: Gamera
Importance: High

No repairs have been done. We have not heard from a tech.

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