Recently, and rather unobtrusively, Dell
For one thing, it is somewhat uncommon to have a corporate blog -- Jonathan Schwartz, CEO of Sun Microsystems
Second, the first posts from Dell employees deal with issues that both investors and customers want to see resolved: customer service, "bloatware," and improving the look and feel of the Dell.com website, among others. It is refreshing to see employees acknowledge the issues and explain what Dell is doing to resolve them in detail. This type of communication is a whole lot better than a starchy press release in my mind.
For example, as a shareholder, customer service has to be a big issue, especially with the $100 million dollar-plus investment the company is making to improve it. Laura Bosworth addressed this in a recent post entitled "No Magic Wands for Customer Service". The poor customer service was being caused by each Dell segment (small business, small and local governments, etc.) having their own policies that were tailored independently for customers. She mentions how the company readjusted the staffing practices to drop holding times for a large portion of U.S. home consumers, from over 30 minutes to under four minutes for most. Now, red flags go up all over the company if any customer is on hold for more than 30 minutes.
Lastly, I think this blog plays right into Dell's competitive strengths: their direct model and their focus on customers. Indeed, the company has been reaching out across the blogosphere in recent months, contacting prominent technology bloggers who have posted negative comments about Dell experiences, and asking what they can do to make them happy Dell customers. It's a nice touch and shows the company is really making an effort to improve customer relations -- something they need to do in order to compete effectively against Hewlett-Packard
Furthermore, by posting directly to their customers about tough issues and soliciting customer feedback in an open forum, it is clear that the company is really listening. Quite a difference from, say, the recent Home Depot
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