Wednesday, August 18, 2010

why I might not order any more computers from Dell

So I need to order an extra power cable for the Dell Studio notebook I got a few months back.  I have an online account so I login, spend 10 minutes trying to figure out which of the nine adapters that the site claimed were compatible I needed. Since this was Boss #1's credit card because I was getting this adapter for work, and I did not want to spend another 20 minutes trying to figure it out, I put the most expensive one in my cart.  Ok, 15 minutes after I first visited the site I click on my shopping cart to checkout.  I enter the card and not only does the cart tell me the card is not valid, but they also say my work address is not valid.  Of course I checked 3 more times, but everything was correct.  It was maddening.  I try again and finally I am PISSED.  This is for God's sake, and in  few weeks I have to order 5K worth of computers and this is not an auspicious start for a business relationship.

If there is one thing I hate, it's calling an online business because their online shit is not working.  So I click the chat button instead that has just floated across the screen with the smiling head of a really attractive woman:

2:09:32 PM System You are now being connected to an agent. Thank you for using Dell Chat
2:09:32 PM System Connected with Sheila Marie

2:09:37 PM Sheila Marie Welcome to DELL ELECTRONICS and ACCESSORIES SALES CHAT! I hope you are doing well and thank you for waiting. My name is Sheila and I will be your Sales Consultant today. Dell now offers secure Payment via Chat for our chat customers for faster and secure way of ordering consumer products.

Feel free to provide your phone number just in case we get disconnected.

Hi there, how can I help you today? (“,)  (was that some kind of smiley?)

2:09:58 PM andrea the stupid shopping cart is not taking my credit card. and it thinks my city is wrong, but it's right.

2:10:19 PM andrea I order with this card all day long and never have had a problem before

2:10:42 PM Sheila Marie That's very unfortunate. No need to worry I can process the order for you.

2:11:32 PM Sheila Marie May I have your name, phone number and shipping address please? So I can locate or create a profile for you?

2:12:18 PM andrea I already have a profile, I order from Dell once in a while. My email address is

2:12:44 PM andrea my phone is 610.299.1234. you should be able to pull up all the info

2:12:57 PM Sheila Marie Great. Thanks.

2:14:37 PM Sheila Marie Thanks for waiting Andrea.

2:15:10 PM Sheila Marie Unfortunately no profile was located with your phone number and email address. May I have your shipping address so I can go ahead and create one for you?

2:16:45 PM andrea I just pulled up my profile and I want this purchase to be under the old profile. I'm logged in right now, with an open shopping cart. You are mistaken. Email address is do you need my password? I don't want to create at *new* profile

2:17:16 PM Sheila Marie It's not for the website.

2:17:41 PM Sheila Marie It is for our database.

2:18:42 PM andrea will it link to my other purchases?

2:18:49 PM andrea because this is a business account

2:19:27 PM Sheila Marie that's why it's not accepting it.

2:19:42 PM Sheila Marie You reached the Consumer Sales.

2:19:52 PM Sheila Marie You would have to call Small Business Department regarding purchases using your Dell Preferred Business Account. You can reach them by calling 1-888-518-335

2:20:10 PM andrea I think it was originally a consumer account.

2:20:49 PM andrea I'm just going to order it from TigerDirect. It should not be this hard or time consuming to make a purchase. thanks

2:21:16 PM andrea AND THE number you gave me is missing a digit

2:21:47 PM Sheila Marie 1-888-518-3355

2:22:00 PM andrea thanks

2:23:32 PM Sheila Marie Not a problem. Would there be anything else that I may assist you for today?

2:23:38 PM andrea no

2:24:10 PM Sheila Marie Thank you for choosing Dell Electronics and Accessories Sales Chat. We're looking forward to your business and will be happy to assist you again. Chat is a growing program so it will be so awesome if you recommend our services to your family and friends. Again, Thank you for choosing Dell.

2:24:20 PM Sheila Marie It's a pleasure chatting with you and have a wonderful day.

2:24:27 PM andrea you too.

2:24:40 PM Sheila Marie Thanks. =) now I am totally pissed. It would be awesome if I told my friends and family about their chat service?? Be careful what you wish for Sheila Marie.

So I call the phone number on the website and I get a sweet sounding woman, poor thing, whose day just got much worse because she had the misfortune of picking up my call, when I was really really mad.  Not only was this little affair taking WAY TOO much time out of my busy day, but I had been suffering through a string of bad luck lately, today was day 1 of my period, and had not been on my bike in what seems like living memory at this point.

I did not call the number that Sheila Marie gave me, because this was not a business account, it was my personal account, but I did not feel like explaining all that to Sheila for fear she would unleash some more emoticons.  The recording that played while they were routing my call recommended that I check out their award winning website next time, instead of calling, no joke!   So at this point I am just about crazy, and as I said, this poor woman had to deal with that.

" Hello, this is Elaine, thank you for calling Dell Consumer Peripherals Sales, how may I help you?"

"I'm tyring to purchase a stupid cable for my laptop, and the damn shopping cart is not taking my valid credit card.  This is totally unacceptable for a company like Dell."

"oh, I'm so sorry ma'am...I would be happy to help you make the purchase."

She had an accent that I did not recognize, and a very sweet demeanor, and I started feeling a bit sorry for her, having to deal with me.  But then I remembered that it had now taken 45 minutes to buy a power adapter and I could have driven to MicroCenter and bought one there in the same amount of time. So I went off for about 60 seconds about how lame it was that the shopping cart could not process my card, that the chat person was useless,  I mean I went OFF.  I was almost in tears.

She waited for my litany of things that suck about Dell had finished and then replied, "Oh.... but ma'am this is not Customer Service, you've reached Consumer Peripherals Sales.  We can't do anything about the website.  You would have to call Customer Service. "

 My blood pressure rose a few digits.

"Yes I know where I've called; this is where the operator routed my call!" I said, infuriated. 

She continues, patiently, as if she were talking to a child having a temper tantrum, "We cannot help with the website, you would need to contact..."

"Listen, I can complete the purchase with you, correct?" I interrupted.

"yes ma'am"

"Why don't we think outside the box a little?" I almost shouted.  I'm thinking that in whatever country she was in that saying would sound fresh, not like the haggard cliche it is here in the US of A.

"If I give you the card, and it works, then we know that the problem is with the (I caught myself before an adjective that rhymes with plucking rolled off my tongue) ...stupid shopping cart."

"Ok, so you want me to..." she paused as her English was not perfect..."how do you say...complete...the sale for you?"  I thought this was especially cute, that she did not know that word immediately.


So we chose the same adapter, and she ran the card, and guess what?

Cha-ching.  It worked just fine.

"Is there anything else I can help you with?" Elaine asked timidly.

I asked her why she thought the cart was not working, and she said it happened with the last caller too, and they must be doing a "system upgrade."  A system upgrade?  They can't do that at 4 am?  No wonder why they have their sales reps in another country, for their safety, when all the pissed off customers call when they can't get shit ordered during the business day.

"Um...what did you say your name was?" I ventured, my voice calm now, a peace offering.

"Elaine, and my extension is 71865 if there is any other way I can assist you."

"Elaine," I said, "Do you mind if I ask where your accent is from?" I was afraid she would get offended, so I offered, "It's really lovely, but I can't place it."

She actually laughed, probably realizing that she had tamed the savage beast who had called her fighting mad 25 minutes ago.  "I'm actually in Manila in the Philippines right now."

"oh...the Philippines." I could not place that accent? I could not believe it, since one of my best friends growing up was Filipino and her parents were off the boat.

"I have a boy I have 'adopted'  through Children International in the Phillipines, I have been sending him money every month for four years, he is really cute..." I told her sheepishly.

"oh," she paused, and continued in her lilting voice, "that is really wonderful of you."

"...actually not so cute anymore, he is getting big " I laughed, thinking how Prince had changed from the little boy I had first encountered when I signed up to a adolescent ready to bloom into an adult.  Scary how fast they grow up.

Anyway, we said our goodbyes. 

Total time to order a stupid cable = 55 minutes
Total money expended for this purpose = $68.99
Almost letting something stupid ruin my day but learning, this time, to change the outcome with the help of a Filipino who spoke English better than 87% of Philadelphia residents = priceless.

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