Dell No Longer the ‘Model’ Company

Once again, e-mails and unsealed court documents are coming back to bite a company—this time Dell. Once widely admired for its “direct-to-consumer” model, Dell’s reputation has been going steadily downhill for several years, thanks to bad accounting, bad business strategies, bad customer service and as we now have learned, products with problems that the company tried to sweep under the rug.  Bad PR appears to be an integral component of the cover up. Computers that have the potential to catch on fire are never a good thing, yet a PR strategy was set that denied there was a safety problem. Already some pundits are asking if Dell’s reputation is going the way of Toyota or BP—what do you think?

–Scott Van Camp

  • Krista

    This appears to be yet another “scarlet letter” on a major company with product safety issues, much like the Toyota and Johnson & Johnson recalls. Rather than focus their communications strategy on acknowledging their customers’ concerns and safety, the denial route didn’t seem to do their reputation any good. I expect this will end up in a textbook someday as a case study along with BP, Toyota, etc.

  • Victoria

    I’ve got to be honest – this isn’t a surprise at all. Dell used to be known for building good, strong machines and taking care of their customers. Over the years, the quality of their products and the quality of their customer service got worse and worse, as they got progressively popular.

    Transparency, Authenticity, and apologizing to their customers would be the first way to start clearing this mess up. If they admit that they’re in the wrong, and lay out how they plan to fix themselves up, they may not lose every customer.

  • William Mason

    This may be another example of the “curse of the business school,” where the single-minded pursuit of short-term profits trumps any concern about the value of the product or the long-term satisfaction of the customer. American products USED to be known for their quality and durability, but the smartest guys in the room now seem to want to squeeze every last farthing out of every sale today, and the heck with tomorrow. It is a dangerous path to follow, but we show few signs of turning back.