to hell with dell

Okay, there will be NO blog this week. I’m far too angry. I’m far too angry to tell you that on the back of an excellent result in our last financial year, phenomenal growth and a general good vibe returning to the economy and even though we’ve grown our business with Dell, we’re being sent off to deal with a transactional account manager in India…

But, I’m not too angry to have a rant instead of a blog.

Over a period of 15 years I’ve been somewhat of a Dell fan, from my first Dell Dimension that was state-of-the-art to the point I had to wait for drivers to be released for it to even get it, to all of the contracting jobs where I’ve bought in Dell hardware, to my IT manager work buying in Dell and to those of you who are my customers now as a Dell partner. I am what people would call a devout Dell guy, I’ve evangelised to customers and on this blog about the brand, the kit and the backup you get. Dell’s server support teams, helped me in my early career in IT learn about servers and networks – and when it hit the fan, their logistics people had parts out to me within 4 hours.

They had made me look like a miracle worker and for that, they had my loyalty.

You also have to deal with a lot of sh*t, and more and more we’re coming across people who don’t want us to supply Dell due to the problems they have with the company. Rarely I get excited about corporate moves over in America, but when Michael Dell bought the company back with his investors, I thought there was going to be a reinvigoration and improvement in the brand – a cull of the middle-management that I’ve witnessed blight the company, who don’t give a toss about the technology, the people or customers. They’re the used car salesman types I talk about in this blog quite a bit. They have no clue what they’re selling and no idea who they’re selling it to as long as the right value increases in a spreadsheet and nobody is on their back, they get their commission and all is good with the world.

Dell used to talk about ‘relationship sales’ they should now talk about ‘car sales.’ Michael Dell has achieved very little in stopping the rot – indeed I can only see this getting faster.

We are lucky, we’ve had one of the best account managers in the channel looking after us, taking the time to understand what Unleashed is achieving – he has been responsible for our quick turnarounds in quotes, design and running around behind us when customers have reported problems. He’s worked as an extra person at Unleashed. The positive feedback we get as a company, is based upon my standards of working with only the best – high accuracy, knowing what we want and setting a gold standard.

You’d think he’d have had a say in keeping or losing an account he managed and grown from nothing. Alas no.

However, this isn’t the first time that this is happened – I’ve been responsible in my time for expenditure with Dell well in excess of £1m. I wish I could have been paid off that! Alas, many companies know that fans bring revenues – as a certifiable Dell man, I’ve certainly been responsible for that – unfortunately Dell doesn’t recognise fans nor reciprocate loyalty.

Don’t get me wrong, I still love the kit, love the support you can get (it was of course better in the olden days like everything else though).

I just hate having to deal with companies that don’t listen to their staff, they have got too big and the management simply don’t have a clue. It’s my biggest nightmare that this journey Unleashed is on, that at some point I’ll recruit a bunch of people who don’t care or someone else will and I’ll be too far removed from the coal face to fire them!

I’ve had account managers moved on me in the past, I’ve kicked off to Michael Dell’s email address – some numpty in Customer Services tries to placate you and eventually you get what you want. However, after the 5th or 6th time, it becomes a bit old. I even went over to Ireland a couple of years ago to meet my account manager and a bunch of “Senior Managers” – senior citizens in mentality, managers in name only. However, as I got what I wanted in terms of my go-to-guy back – I just dropped the issue and got on with my life.

This time, you’ll have probably seen my rants on Twitter – we’re engaging with HP. Believe it or not, I’ve also been very impressed with Cisco’s kit of late too. And Cisco, despite the irritations of the distributors we have to use – have an excellent set of people who manage our relationship with them.

We’ll always give the customer what they want and you as customers are hating your experiences with Dell as much as we are – so we’re going to go with the flow, if you want us to deal with India (probably because you don’t want to!) we will do. However, as a former fan, nothing less than a call from Michael Dell himself could really remedy this situation now.