Posted on 5 Comments

My New Dell PC User Experience – Not Enough USB Ports

My Dell Dimension 8200 died last month – dead fan after 4.5 years – RIP – you can buy it’s old memory a valuable and rare RDRAM type here (sold it on ebay). I ordered a new Dell Dimension 9150, I wanted to summarize my thoughts both good and bad:

The Good:
– PC arrived in less than one week from the time I ordered it.
– PC came with a factory installed quiet and wonderful Western Digital hard drive. 🙂
– Sturdy case compared to some other brands I’ve seen recently.
– Tall tower with more internal expansion ports.
– New fan system is entirely different and whisper quiet now!
– New PC is much, much lighter.

The not so good, but not exactly ugly:
–     Dell got rid of the parallel port connection for printers so I had to buy a new cable from – ironically they had a cable for $7 delivered. The “best” Best Buy price for any printer cable was $30+, who needs a Gold plated printer cable? Not me sounds like Best Buy isn’t focusing on the customers needs but on profit instead.  Fortunately I saw this in the design and ordered it and it got here first – this not only caused me to buy an unnecessary new cable, but it caused me to utilize another USB port.
–     Dell removed the old keyboard and mouse connectors such that they needed, you guessed it, two more USB ports.
–     I used up a PCI port to put in my USB 2.0 card from my old PC because I needed to, it’s sad that a new PC doesn’t come standard with enough USB ports. Please add more USB ports in the future models stock. How do you miss such a simple -3 plus nothing equals problem?
–     Silver is the new black apparently. But then why is the new monitor black when the new desktop is silver? I guess they didn’t get the memo in that division.
–     The express service code tag is way to small and white ink on a clear label on silver is not exactly the type of transparency I’m looking for from Dell.
–     The unit was shipped without the audio line in jacks set to on – this led to an hour of wasted time – both Dell’s and mine on an unnecessary phone call.
–     It was delivered via UPS, I can not think of company that has a lesser understanding of who the true customer is – the person on the receiving end paying the driver’s salary by paying for the shipping in the first place! This organization would do well to hire a Chief Customer Experience Officer that monitored the blogs for ideas (if they need help with candidate selection for the retained executive search, please let me know). If I had time, I might make this a Jeff Jarvis type blog about UPS, but I’m too busy with many more much more exciting things right now.

Any other questions? Please comment.

Posted on 2 Comments

Being Able to Trust…Even Without Disclosure

I recently read Robert Scoble’s and Shel Israel’s book “Naked Conversations”. It’s a great book. In fact I’m currently writing a positive review for it for a publication due to it being well researched and fascinating in terms of its’ leadership and change management implications. It earned my respect due to the extensive research that went into the book. For the record, Robert didn’t send me a copy of the book and I got it at a public library.

But Robert made this post yesterday about disclosure in relation to payperpost that Richard Brownell, Chris Brennan and David Krug make some extremely interesting points that people should consider in the comments of Robert’s post. I think Robert is not recognizing that creating buzz is in itself advertising whether you keep the product or not – so either you should take what is given to you and be discreet about it or return the items as they arrive if you care about potential ethics issues.

In Robert’s July 2nd, 2006 post you say that you’ve “never really given Sonos a review before”. Yet in his April 8th, 2006 post , Robert stated the following:

“This is much much more cooler than I thought,” says Buzz Bruggeman.

What’s he talking about? The Sonos music system.

First, a disclaimer. They sent me this so I could try it out. It’s one of the things that arrived before I said “no more free stuff.”

I have to admit this is pretty cool. It lets you put a controller in each room in your home.

And you control it over Wifi.

This rocks. We’re playing my iTunes stuff right now.”

Then later in the post Robert says:

“Tomorrow Chris Pirillo and Ponzi is coming over for brunch. It’ll be interesting to see what they think. (Chris always has the coolest stuff before I do, so if it impresses him it’ll impress everyone).”

Let’s compare some statements in this post with the July 2nd post:
1) Robert talks about Sonos (with an outbound link to the product no less) in the April 8th post. You then use the terms “I have to admit this is pretty cool” and “This Rocks” to describe it. Then on July 2nd Robert says, “Well, I never really gave them a review until today.” If alongside an outbound link to the product it’s stated that something is “pretty cool” and that “this rocks” isn’t a review, I don’t know what is.
2) In that post it says that “First, a disclaimer. They sent me this so I could try it out. It’s one of the things that arrived before I said “no more free stuff.”” In the July 2nd post it talks about a new Nokia phone that just arrived. If the “no more free stuff” was truly operational you’d send it back to the shipper immediately or refuse delivery. Which is the true policy?
3) Does one not get value out of something for using it for a few months? In the car industry it’s a called a lease and there are payments involved. Did you pay Sonos or Nokia for value received during usage of these products for a period of time? If not, would you not admit that you got some value out of them?
4) In your April 8th post you said the Sonos might impress Chris Pirillo and go on to say that if it impresses him it will impress everyone. Does one gain any personal value out of impressing people with new gadgets that were sent to you?

Regardless of whether you gave the items away after a few months or not, Robert did talk about them on his blog and if they had not been sent to you likely would not have talked about them. You then gave Sonos even more buzz again by giving it away at Gnomedex as “hundreds of people witnessed it”. Why did Robert choose this high profile place to give away this item instead of quietly giving it to charity anonymously?  So regardless of whether you reviewed the product on April 8th, you gave it buzz on your blog twice and in front of an entire conference. That my friend has value to certain people with your increasing public profile in terms of buzz for Sonos. Disclosure or not Robert created significant positive PR here for Sonos by discussing it in his blog – when it arrived and again after giving it away as “hundreds of people witnessed it” at Gnomedex.

While the data from yesterday’s mention is not in yet, I would suggest that this Alexa (yes I know Alexa has flaws) graph showing the spike in traffic in April around the 8th suggests the buzz impact of this mention or review quite well:







As I discussed previously in e-mail with Robert a few weeks back, “Naked Conversations” is about trust (and how certain actions enable trust to occur). If someone were to purposely write something misleading about a Nokia phone and someone bought it and it sucked, that individual would call that person out on it. In other words, the trust is self-policing even without disclosure. I therefore don’t need to be told like a child each time that you got these items for free, as I believe that you would not do something so foolish as to blog positively about a product that you thought sucked. Just lile the “Claire” blog at Vichy, people figured out what was and wasn’t real on their own – without any disclosure.

To summarize, while I certainly can’t speak for the whole blogoshpere, I trust that you are wise enough to not write something positive that you don’t truly believe to be true about a product regardless of whether you disclose that you got something for free or not. Aren’t you worthy of this trust Robert?

Posted on 3 Comments

Comcast Tech Tells Story

Most of you by now have no heard about the video of the Comcast tech who fell asleep while waiting for the customer service representative. Comcast fired the tech in the video this week.

Did this really cure the root cause of the customer experience problem though?

This morning a Comcast tech came to my residence to fix a problem with my cable. He was actually very nice and knew what he was doing. I asked him about his thoughts about the incident.  He said that “Oh, yeah we had a whole long meeting on that one. We were told not to sit, lean or anything.” The tech, not the first one to do so, stated that nothing is ever the fault of the customer service or dispatch area.

This is a really interesting point. If the call center cost center wasn’t understaffed, this whole incident never would have taken place. Perhaps it’s the Comcast SVP of the tech call center who should be on the unemployment line, not the tech. Comcast’s response to fire the tech shows that they just don’t get it. A better response would have been an announcement that Comcast would hire more customer service reps across the board to address the true root cause of the problem (call hold wait time) and would make the call cold wait times publicly transparent. 

This whole incident demonstrates the importance of a customer focused culture that places a premium on learning, innovating and improving the client experience.

Prediction: Comcast will have another incident similar to this again because they didn’t address the true issue. 

Posted on Leave a comment

Google Reputation Management Issue

Before I begin, I want to be perfectly clear that I appreciate Google for it’s recent efforts to integrate blog comments into search results. It is both interesting and not something that can be perfected quickly.

However, I’d like to illustrate fully an example of where this is a concern for me and others whom may not even know about it until it creates a problem. This issue revolves around blog comments not made by an individual that show up in the description fields when Googling one’s name. Please review the following example web page that explains the ‘Google Reputation Management Issue’ before reading further. It’s important that you visualize what I’m saying both proceeding.

These days, it is now common practice for people to search for information about individuals on a search engine before a business discussion or a job interview. Due to the nature of these searches and the types of important decisions being made off of them, it is critical that they be accurate. If it isn’t, miscommunication or even disaster can strike. Due to this search engines have an ethical responsibility to present search results that are an accurate presentation of reality.

Let’s examine my case, on May 16th, I posted a comment in response to Josh Kopelman’s Blog entry regarding “53,651”. The following is what I posted in response to his post: “Great post that reminds us of the importance of true customers and looking past your inner circle.” (please see screen shot on other web page)

However, the Google description tag reads: “Posted by: David Dalka | May 16m 2006 at 11:29AM. Hey Josh, you said it! As one of your first investors in Infonautics wasn’t that the pre-www? …” (please see screen shot on other web page)

At present, I’m neither a investor of this level nor a millionaire. What if someone did not click through to read the real web page? Would they have likely formed the impression that I was an investor in Infonautics? The possibility certainly exists. Where this would be a larger concern is if the post after mine was not professional or even worse contained hate or spam links to porn sites. This would not be good.

So I’d like to please ask all web companies, not just Google, to take extra care in the future before putting releases in the live environment that could affect an individual’s reputation due to inaccurate presentation. Stated another way, “beta software” usage which only hinders an individual is OK, while the public release of “beta results” is discouraged as it can cause significant reputation damage. Thank you for your attention and support of this important issue and making the Internet a more accurate place.