Service with a smile

Dell wants to enhance the quality of its customer care, particularly under its Dell 2.0 initiative. As the computer firm launches a new range of services in the Middle East, Duncan MacRae finds out if it is as good as its word.

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By  Duncan MacRae Published  May 1, 2007

The Middle East is to get a US$5 million part of the $200 million spend Dell is making globally on reinventing itself as Dell 2.0 - a customer service programme evangalised last year by the now deposed CEO, Kevin Rollins.

Although Dell 2.0 has been going for over six months, Dell's once dominant market shares continue to slip worldwide, according to recent Gartner market research. But in the Middle East the company is determined to halt the rot. The computer giant's launch of new services seems to answer any question marks over its commitment to customer care in the region.

The array of new initiatives is in line with Dell's global focus on customer satisfaction, which it has admitted had not been done perfectly in the past. Its local moves, squarely aimed at business customers and consumers in the region, go some way to delivering on the company's promise to enhance services and have a greater reach into emerging markets.

The firm is now investing a reported $5 million in a regional support centre in Jebel Ali, Dubai and does clearly mean to enhance business here.

"We are confident that our Middle East customers will be delighted with our new services," says Michael Collins, general manager for Dell Middle East.

"Our partners bring Dell's worldwide expertise, standardisation and efficiency to the Middle East. They have also been part of the planning and are excited by the new opportunities and improved service levels that we as a team will be able to deliver."

The investment will see Dell enhance spares availability by managing the spare parts and logistics via a new central regional distribution hub in Jebel Ali in the United Arab Emirates. Linked to the Dell logistical support network in Europe, it will support base warranty requirements for commercial and consumer products and is key to the launch of the Dell branded services.

Nicky Hartery, VP manufacturing and business operations, says the investment in the centre is part of a wider spend that Dell has committed to globally as part of Dell 2.0.

"Dell 2.0 is very much billed around improving the customer experience," Hartery says. "We have been working very diligently on that over the past year and have significantly improved the customer experience and response to customers in EMEA and globally.

"It is also about rolling out the key programmes that have executed really well for Dell over the years to all regions," he adds.

The Jebel Ali facility will be linked to Dell's logistical support network in Europe and will support smaller in-country centres in Riyadh, Jeddah, Oman, Bahrain, Egypt and Turkey.

Dell will use the logistics and spare parts facility to offer a range of premium services to customers, Hartery says, adding that the aim is to provide "services that are equal to our customers in Europe". While Dell will continue to work closely with partners Emirates Computers and Key Information Technology in providing services, the firm will now be able to engage more directly with large business customers in the region.

The facility will also be linked to Dell's wider network of enterprise support centres, located globally. Its enterprise command centres are based in the United States, China, Ireland, Japan and Malaysia, and support customers with high-performance teams who continuously monitor and coordinate support operations utilising automated delivery tools and dispatching from more than 450 parts depot centres.

Dell customers will be able to select from a range of service levels, with Platinum Plus customers being offered escalation management and a proactive approach that helps to eliminate problems before they arise. This method offers a fast and accurate problem resolution from Dell's industry-certified specialist network.

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