By: Stefan Kolle
Dell lately really seems to get it. After their Direct2Dell blog was launched last year, helping to ease a lot of the DellHell pain, now Dell Ideastorm has been launched. Ideastorm allows visitors to make suggestions to improve the Dell experience.
The current top rated suggestion is 'No extra software' option, a request to be able to get a clean OS installed, without AOL, Earthlink and other additional software.
Dell promises to listen to the suggestions, and, critically, keep a conversation going - reporting on which suggestions are being considered for implementation, and tracking those that have been implemented for their results. Imagine the buzz a poster will get if his idea is being honoured by this enormous company.
In a similar move, Yahoo added a voting element to their suggestions boards. Both companies give due credit to Digg for introducing this very efficient way of allowing visitors to provide their input.
In a further move to get closer to its customers, Dell has launched StudioDell, a video site, containing how-to's, tips & tricks, case studies - but also allows Dell's customers to upload their own videos. I'm curious to see what will happen - whether many people will actually feel compelled to upload positive stories; and whether Dell will be able to handle the negative posts that undoubtedly be made too in a responsible way. If it becomes a purely promotional site it would surele either backfire or simply fizzle out. But for now, the tips & tricks actually look pretty good.
It remains to be seen if these new sites are cynical window dressing or authentic attempts to become more customer centricity. For now, let's give them the benefit of the doubt. I definitely think Dell is on the right track here, and these recent moves should be copied by a lot more companies.