Direct from Dell, by Michael Dell

Amazon link

I was kind of skeptical of this book when Joel handed it to me, but it was surprisingly good. It doesn’t have any original ideas, and didn’t change how I think, but the book was well-written (apparently by Catherine Fredman) and did a good job of describing how Dell had taken some basic business precepts and actually implemented them at their company. Things like “Build a company of owners”, “Develop a customer-focused philosophy”, “Narrowing our focus”, etc. It’s all really basic stuff, but they spin a good story of how these principles apply to the growth of Dell the corporation.

Reading the book did provoke me into thinking about whether I believed in the principles Dell was laying out, and how I would apply the principles at my own company. I do find it a bit ironic that listening to the customer is emphasized so much in the book, yet a couple weeks ago it took us five hours on the phone to get Dell to acknowledge that a part they had sent us was broken and that they needed to replace it. Perhaps the principles are not as well disseminated as they once were.

Summary: Quick read, well done, nothing earth-shattering, but a nice reminder of some basics.

2 thoughts on “Direct from Dell, by Michael Dell

  1. It’s interesting – I almost never hear stories of how good Dell’s customer service is. I hear from people who have sent the same item back to Dell several times, or the five hours on the phone trying to convince them that, yes, something is broken…

    I wonder if there are any independent surveys of Dell’s actual customer service?

  2. The thing is nobody ever talks about good customer experiences. I actually had a great experience with Dell with one of my computers – it blew out its motherboard twice, once in the one year window of full service (and they sent somebody to my apartment to fix it), and another time a year later (and they sent me the new motherboard, and I swapped them myself). But we only let people know when we have a bad experience, which is why it’s vital as a business to keep your customers content. One unhappy customer offsets ten happy ones.

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