Business Ethics & Dell Customer Service


My friend (and fellow blogger) Andrew Potter has had lousy customer service from Dell (or I’m guessing it was actually Dell Canada, if that matters). See the posting on his blog: why i hate dell and so should you.

Is bad customer service an ethics issue? Of course it is. There are at least 3 ways that customer service can be unethical:

1) Front-line CS folks can be unethical; they can do unethical things like lie or “misplace” your order. (My guess is that front-line staff are MUCH more likely to be undertrained, or stuck with implementing bad policies, than they are to be unethical themselves.)
2) Head office can under-staff their CS phone lines, or under-train the folks who staff those lines, which basically guarantees that customers won’t be treated appropriately.
3) Head office can have unethical policies (e.g., policies that make it difficult or impossible for customers to get repairs done under warranty; policies that limit the amount of time a rep can spend dealing with a single customer; failure to have a policy stipulating that customers who have — for whatever reason — been treated badly ought to receive special treatment until the problem is rectified, etc.)

4 comments so far

  1. Anonymous on

    I have been going through hell with Dell’s CS! While I wasn’t very upset about the original issue (a faulty product worth only $30) I was treated terribly and fell that based on principle I need to write to as many people as I can at the company. I find it extremely frustrating that big companies such as Dell Canada can treat customers like this and not be held accountable! As someone with much knowledge on this topic, what do you suggest people in my position do? Thanks!

  2. Chris MacDonald on

    Honestly, I have no idea. There are all kinds of ways in which companies can treat people badly without actually violating any laws, for example.My only advice (which I’ve given many people) is:a) figure out which products YOU really need good customer support on (e.g., some people really need good CS for computers, while others are relatively self-sufficient that way).b) find out before you purchase which companies have the best reputation for customer service.Personally, I wouldn’t buy from Dell, because their CS rep is so bad. But I could easily be under-informed about that, or unfairly biased by a handful of horror stories.

  3. Tessa D on

    I have never been so frustrated in my life as now with the service I have been getting from Dell. I am into my fifth week of trying to get back a refund of $45.91 and I have spoken to so many of their customer service people that I have stop counting. I can hardly understand them as it is obvious that English is not their first language Please someone tell me how to get back my money from Dell and never have to deal with them again. From the first day five years ago their service sucked and nothing has change, how can they run a business like that

  4. […] I’ve blogged about Dell customer service before, and about why this IS a business ethics issue:Business Ethics & Dell Customer Service […]


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