Puh! Long title, but that's what GCI group, a division of Grey Worldwide, says it's doing for Dell. Read Jeff Jarvis hilarious account of exactly how. Dell, or their marketing consultants, are obviously starting to wake up to how markets are not only conversations, but, facilitated by the internet and the blogosphere, they are increasingly global conversations. However, Dell hasn't quite figured out how to converse with their markets yet, as this snippet from the comment Jarvis received shows:
"I’ve been working with Dell the past three weeks researching trashy blogs that worms like you leave all over that frigen blogosphere... But honestly I don't think you have a problem Dell can fix. Your problem is you have no life. "
More on the conversation between Jarvis and Dell, and the implications for PR and customer service, here. Now my only personal experience with Dell is hearing my then boyfriend scream and swear at his Dell laptop with regular intervals while we lived together.
However, the story of how Dell is struggling to reconnect with its customers bears a lot of resemblance to how AOL is struggling to do the same – and I have too many experiences with them. So much so that even when the company now has announced it will deliver its email service for free along the lines of services provided by e.g. Yahoo, I wouldn't take them up on it. In fact, I'm even less tempted to go back to a free version of AOL – at least when I pay for a service I have a snippet of reasonable expectation that I will get what I pay for and can complain if I don't: if it's free, well who am I to complain?