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Jarvis' Very Public Hell

Kryptonite locks are the poster child for being oblivious to or ignoring what your customers are saying about you online. Could Dell be next?

Ueber-blogger Jeff Jarvis bought a lemon of a laptop from Dell--almost everything in the computer's guts failed. And although he bought their most expensive, in-home warranty package, he found himself on the phone for hours with "customer service"--Jarvis referred to it as Dell Hell. After much back and forth, which he chronicled on his blog (it has a readership of more than 100,000), he finally decided to convert to an Apple Powerbook.

Here's the amazing thing: while Jarvis has been railing against Dell to thousands of readers for the past week, Dell as a company appeared to be oblivious to all this until Jarvis sent an email to some Dell executives. C'mon, Dell, it's the new millenium. People are having very public conversations about you online. That means they want to be heard. That means you should listen. And it's not that hard. Set up an RSS aggregator, create and subscribe to a PubSub query and you're good to go. This whole thing would be comical if I didn't find it so depressing.

UPDATE: Jarvis' blog is powerful, and he knows it. He continues today:
: You know what: If Dell were really smart, they'd hire me (yes, me) to come to them and teach them about blogs, about how their customers now have a voice; about how their customers are a community -- a community often in revolt; about how they could find out what their customers really think; about how they could fix their customers' problems before they become revolts; about how they could become a better company with the help of their customers.

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