You would have to be living under a rock not to have heard about Dell’s recall of its laptop batteries. I did a quick Google News search and hundreds of stories popped up – literally extolling and scolding Dell for this problem that, in actuality, is a Sony problem – not Dell.
The pundits are already out. ABC news recently ran a story, “Has Dell Lost its Way?” in which the writer says:
‘Dell as poster child did a remarkably good job of getting in front of the problem, with open talk about where and how they think the Lithium Ion batteries failed and a Web site that made it dead simple to figure out if you had a conflagration-prone battery.”
“Yet questions persist. Why did Dell tell the media last month that the Japanese businessman’s exploding Dell laptop was an isolated incident? Why did it take two solid years of laptop sales for Dell to identify the problem and do something about it?”
Regardless who takes the blame, I think Dell has a unique opportunity to improve its reputation. The ABC news story begins to talk about how Dell did a good job of facing the problem head-on, but what Dell can do with the immense task of receiving the goods, replacing batteries and shipping them back out, a timely basis, can be a huge PR fete for them.
I think this speaks to customer service in a different way than we usually see it – in that Dell can atone for its mistakes, but also can seize the opportunity to come out shining. I know Dell’s dollar per share price dropped dramatically at the end of last week, but we know these things are cyclical.
Dell can improve its image, don’t you think?