Dell Hell, the blog storm incited by Jeff Jarvis was the moment when the penny dropped for me on all this 2.0 stuff. Up until then whenever Richard Edelman had banged on about blogging and social media changing forever the relationship between companies and brands and their stakeholders, I had led the cat calls. But when I visited at his behest I Hate Dell.Net, I realised that I was going to have to eat my words. I still use screen grabs from this site in presentations to demonstrate not just that angry customers can now find each other and vent their spleen for the world to see, but that the old silos we used to rely on no longer exist. On the site you could (and still can) find customers talking to employees (not customer service employees . . . real employees). You can find potential employees talking to the subordinates of the person they are about to be interviewed by for a job. And at one time, if you ‘Googled’ Dell, the site was right there, one below Dell.com for all the world’s media, analysts, legislators and investors to see. It was as if the company had been turned inside out and all it’s dark corners were made visible to everyone.
Business Week’s lead in the latest online edition is the meeting of Michael Dell and Jeff Jarvis and story comes full circle as Jarvis relates how the firm has changed based on their now very direct relationship with their customers via the blogosphere they tried to ignore for so long. They now fully participate and facilitate the conversation through sites like IdeaStorm and direct2dell.com and actually appear to change the way they operate and the product and service offering based on this input. On his blog, Jarvis goes as far as to suggest:
“In my first draft of the piece, I wondered whether Dell had even become a Cluetrain company. I had to abbreviate that to being “bloggish” because it just took up too much space to explain the Cluetrain. But as you read the column, note Dell’s compliance with the manifesto’s first three theses:
1. Markets are conversations.
2. Markets consist of human beings, not demographic sectors.
3. Conversations among human beings sound human. They are conducted in a human voice.
I don’t know whether this is the end of my saga of Dell Hell: the story come full circle. As I say in the column, I thought that end came three months after this began, when I returned my Dell. But it turns out that was the start of the real story”.
I guess in a couple of years we may have more case studies of companies that have changed for the better because of this new intimate relationship with customers and stakeholders, but right now Dell is about as good as we have. Here’s Jeff Jarvis’s interview with Michael Dell which is sort of painful to watch, but is in my view, required viewing.
[Tags] Jeff Jarvis, Michael Dell, Dell Hell[/tags]