There are sometimes when even the best supplier you hav egets it completely wrong.
And here starts the story of what Dell did wrong with us.
Dell have provided us with a heap of damn good priced, and very reliable kit for some time.
Their tech support can be frustrating sometimes and you often have to push them to actually believe that you know what you are talking about, but at the same time remind them that although you can happily diagnose when the motherboard of a laptop has gone that does not mean that they can just palm you off with sending out a new board and no further instructions ...
Occasionally you get the tech support guy on the other end of the line telling you to ring back and ask for him when the part arrives and he will talk you though fitting it. This is very handy to have, but one of the reasons we have next day on site is because we are busy people ... and an engineer makes our lives easier.
If we say we cannot do it and are too busy then please believe us ...
but this is just a general gripe ... you can say the same about any supplier / manufacturer.
But Dell have gone two better.
The first was an issue with a set of Latitude D505 machines we got around a year ago. We spotted that 2 were not charging and so we made the usual call. They finally admitted that it was probably the board and an engineer finally came out (it took 2 weeks for this) ... the engineer spotted that the poer socket did not look very healthy and told us to be careful as Dell might decide future issues like this are caused by user damage.
Ok ... fair comment ... it could be.
Then 2 weeks later another one has the problem ... and then another ... and another ... until out of a set of 14 there are 10 with the problem (and remember that 2 have already been fixed)
Ok ... we have a gentle chat with the HoD where the machines are used ... they are actually given out by our Reprographics Manager (figuratively one of the support team and perfectly capable of making sure the machines are put away properly) ... and they machines are being looked after.
We are puzzled ... we speak with Dell ... Dell send an engineer who repairs one and send the board back to Dell. Dell say it is user damage.
We have our friendly external rep come out ... she sees how the remaining are looked after (and we have shipped some temporary machines in as well for a few weeks, D505s but from a different batch and these have no problems) and puts forward that it is not user damage.
The weeks roll by ... and then the months ... we make regualr calls ... our reps change ... the new reps are shocked to find out it is still outstanding and then chase it up ...
The warranty team will not back down. The sale team look at writing it off as a good will gesture ... they get blocked. They go higher ... they get blocked ... they go higher again ... and get blocked.
So we now have 6 duff machines that will cost £400 a piece to repair (we sent some to the warranty team for a check over and they fix them without asking and so we are refusing to pay ... and they have accepted it ... if only we could send the other 6).
Be careful of what they agree to repair ... if you mention the laptop is used by a student they don't want to repair anything, but are happy to do it for staff machines.
And then there is phase 2!!!
We operate a laptop for students scheme.
2004/5 we used Samsung machines from Stone Computers and whilst the kit was ok (the plastic bits are prone to falling off and we had driver issues to start with ... not to mention the lack of built in wireless) the price was not as good as we wanted.
Queue Dell and Toshiba battling it out for 2005/6 ... Dell win with a final push as they have next day on site support.
We get the test machine in to build an image. We build it and send it back to Dell to load onto the machines at the factory ... only to find it takes 8 weeks if we want to do this. We need the machines in school in 2 1/2 weeks at the latest to be handed out a few days later.
A few frantic phone calls and it gets sorted ... a close shave but we manage. Then we start with the new school year.
We notice a machine is getting nasty scratches and we can't work out how ... then we spot that there is a screw missing ... and it is in the bag, lodged in the lining.
And then we spot another machine with 2 screws gone ... and another ... and so on. Shortly we find that out of a batch of 86 we have 67 with one or more screws missing.
It takes 2 weeks to get this one processed ... and it was only finally sorted because we went through each member of the team finishing with me doing my "I am the stroppy boss who has now turned round to his NM and said not to even consider buying any more crap from Dell" routine.
I finally managed to get onto a helpful person ... and he is now sending out small packs of 70 screws on a regular basis until we get the 700 we need to make sure we are covered. He is having to do this because other sections of tech support cannot organise a bulk load to be ordered and shipped out to us.
And then we start having a problem with the bags we got with the laptops. The carry handles are falling off because the rivits holding in place have not been put on properly ... and tech support won't deal with it because the bags are from Planet 21 ... and put you onto customer support ... who can't deal with it until it has been raised as a support call ... and so on ... and so on ...
Once again I manage to find a helpful person in customer service (I now know the helpful person in tech support and the helpful person in customer service ... there is only one in each department and I will sell their details for a reasonable amount) and so replacement bags get sent ... after 3 weeks!!!
And now we are having a repeated problem with a number of machines ... optical drives failing to be work / be seen ... machines running very slow and repeatedly crashing ... and the only thing the seems to fix it is replacing the motherboard.
But this has now been escalated and will probably take another 3 weeks to get a fix. And then we will be charged some stupid amount.
My first question is this: How did you find someone helpful in customer services? This is a well kept secret I swear.
Mmm sounds like a similar problem that we have, Well at least with build quality anyway, though no where near as extreme as that
We have a good 100 Dell laptops under the LFT scheme, They all have a 3 year next day on site warranty. The lids on the top are cracking near the hinges this means that the lids are falling off the back the first case we saw we thought it was misuse, But in the same week 2 more, Then another one, We put out a memo asking staff to check there machines, We now have 25 to 30 laptops at least with cracked lids all in the same place - all from the same batch we think (Dell are apparently checking)
Like you GrumbleDook our account manager has changed a fair few times recently and it would seem a lot of other schools account managers have changed too (Have Dell found a bad batch of account managers because I know ours was as bad as hell) What is interesting is that after numerous letters/phone calls and emails to Dell they haven't got back to us. Want to know the even more interesting part about that? The warranties on the batch expire the end of this month. Mmm are they putting it off??? Well if they are trading standards will get involved as we have a whole folder of our actions on this one (Just like the one I am keeping for HP)...
I hope you get yours sorted GrumbleDook, I know we will be keeping the pressure on Dell to get this sorted …Will keep you updated
The account managers get rotated on a regular basis ... you will find a number of internal account managers have now gone to be external managers, some of the external managers have moved to other account teams within Dell (small businesss, enterprise, HE/FE)
They do not allow naff account managers to stay for long. Tech support and customer services are completely different.
When speaking to our internal account manager a few days ago she let it drop that most machines now come with the "education" support bundle free of charge. This is a team of techies that understand that if you take a call from a school you could be speaking to anyone from a cleaner through to the likes of Geoff and a few others from this haven.
But this is only for new machines ... which really annoys me.
Still ... could be worse ... we could have 300 NS Optimum machines.
Tis an interesting batch of probelms you are having there Grumbledook, i feel for u mate.
But ironically enough, i have got:
2 PowerEdge 2600s which are 2+ years
1 PowerEdge 2800 which is 1+ year
1 PowerConnect 5224 which is 2+ years
4 3348s and a 3324, all are 1+ years
20 Optiplex GX60s which are 2+ years
60 GX280s which are 1+ year
8 SX280s which are 6+ months (i think)
18 D610s which are 4+ months
The only warranty calls i have had to make were on one of the PE2600 tape backup (turned out to be software lol) and 2 monitors (which in all honesty were probably being misused) the tape issue was sorted in days (they were ready to send out a new LTO drive for 8:30 the next morning with an engineer to fit it) and the monitor calls were both put in on an afternoon, the replacements were here next morning.
Ive currently got a call open on a machine suspected of a busted NIC (one of the GX60s) but that could possibly be an old switch
Speaking of NS Optimum - has anyone successfully managed to remove themselves off their phone and mailing list?
They are like a virus that just won't go away
Threaten them with the DPA & IOP acts. Also mention that they supplied you with unlicensed software years ago and you still haven't had proof of ownership. They leave me alone now!
Another trick - when they ring say "hang on while I go get him/her". Put them on hold and go carry on your normal working day. If you really want to have a laugh, pick the phone up every couple of minutes & say "they're on their way". Also works well with international call centres
We have loads of Dell kit now- and I have to say that I share some of Tony's experience with their "helpful" support. We got a new batch og GX 620 Dual Core machines (30 of) with flat panels last month. One was DOA (not too bad). We have the NBD warranty for education. So I call Dell. Bod on phone wants me to strip the machine bare- I told him that I had already tried new PSU from working model, new cable, moved to different power point, unplugged non essentials etc etc. Nope. Got to do it by the book.
So I spend two hours(!) on the phone to Dell so that he can finally book an engineer to visit next day with a replacement PSU. Mmmmm. Engineer turns up at eleven next day. I watch him (like a hawk). Scruffy git too- has one screwdirver in his pocket and more creases in his shirt than the san andreas fault line! He tells me that it isn't the PSU- it's the motherboard. I ask him why he thinks this- he isn't sure. Anyway, he tells me that he will have to bring a new motherboard next day. I agree (it's only one system after all- and a spare too).
Next day the engineer arrives and fits the new motherboard. Doesn't work! Now I'm starting to look as scruffy as he does. He apparently finds out (after escalating the issue now) it is the CPU. OK. Take one CPU from known working system and test. It works. Voila!
Next day we get new CPU and get to keep (woohoo) new motherboard too. What a fiasco. What happened to carrying around some FRUs?
Dell's support isn't excellent but their systems are great value. So we're ordering more off them next week (30 more actually)- let's just hope none of those come DOA.
But yeah0 it can be frustrating- and that was just one system. Tony- hats off to you sir!
I've had the same thing with Dell tech suppoprt - the more you agree to do, the more they'll have you doing - swap this ,swap that try this and that - in the end I figured it was best to plead ignorance and told them that I was not prepared to dismantle ANYTHING so they had no choice but to sort it properly.
they did .
sometimes I think we techs are the victims of our own abilities .
just imagine you're a 68 yr old pensioner who's never taken a screwdriver to anything in his life and say it's under warranty THEY will have to fix it ... no?
We have just arranged a good deal with Dell (a lot of negotiation went on).
We have chosen them again for the Laptops for Students scheme ... even after everything from last year.
This year they gave us an upgrade to the quoted model (Latitude D510 suddenly became D520s ... with built-in bluetooth). We have rolled into the price 6 spares laptops ... and also have a bank of spare parts so that we can do the diagnosis on the phone and Dell will just ship out a replacement part for whatever we use. It saves them money by only having to send an engineer out in the weirdest of circumstances ...
We are loading the image onto the machines this time (woohoo for RIS) and have managed to prepare 60 in a few days ... we start issueing them on Monday night.