Go To Where Your Customers Are: How Dell Increased Revenue By $256K A Week

Whenever I write scaling or growth case studies, I usually find myself writing about high growth, venture backed startups.

We tend to focus on companies that do things differently, and differentiate themselves and innovate by means of blitz scaling, growth hacking and agility.

However, it would be ignorant to not look at corporate giants. They, too, innovate at times, and try new things in new ways that allows them to radically improve the way that they’ve been doing business, through subtle changes in their day-to-day operations or strategy.

Lessons we can learn from large organizations can be important, because they have access to things that many smaller organizations don’t.

And no — I’m not talking about resources.

I’m talking about scale.

Learning From Giants

When a company like Dell (DELL — NYSE), with revenues averaging $92B dollars (2020) per year, tries something new.

We can study and digest and immediately see the positive (or negative) results of a sales campaign or strategy, because when it’s implemented, it immediately affects millions of customers, globally.

Today we’re talking about meeting your customers where they are, and how Dell leveraged this idea to generate an average of $256K in weekly revenue.

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Dell, like most large organizations, had complicated processes and intricate systems.

They had call centers filled with hundreds of agents, chat, phone and email that allowed their customers to contact them, open tickets, and have their computer questions and technical difficulties rectified.

I don’t know about you, but regardless of whether you’ve called Dell before or other companies of similar size, you know that customer success/service, sales or technical support at an organization of this size, is usually a labyrinth of voice prompts, different departments, misdirects, transfers, gray hairs, swearing and massive amounts of frustration.

Most large companies don’t do anything to change this, and most customers accept this as the status quo.

Dell realized that this experience was less than optimal (putting it lightly) for their customers, and they decided to switch things up.

Dell directly went where their customers are.

Social media.

Meet Customers Where They’re At

They realized that customers felt more comfortable chatting on forums that they were comfortable with, rather than submitting tickets, or making calls with Dell’s internal sales and support mediums.

They offered technical support directly through their social media pages by responding to customer concerns.

They monitored for customer tweets, and replied directly on Twitter, and through direct messages.

According to Amy Marquez Bivin, Social Media Outreach Manager, “98 per cent of customer issues responded to through @DellCares are resolved without customers needing to work with an agent and 85 per cent of social-media-assisted customers with negative initial opinions of Dell reported a positive opinion following the support experience.”

What was the result, of a relatively low cost & simple customer focused strategy?

Customers were easily able to have basic concerns and questions answered, quickly — on platforms they were already on.

Dell mapped back an average of $265,000 in additional weekly revenue tied directly to disgruntled customers who had their questions / problems solved through social media, as part of this initiative.

Lessons Learned

There’s a few lessons we can learn from Dell’s social strategy.

Meet your customers where they’re at.

This seems to be a recurring theme (hint hint). Just like what we saw with Airbnb last week, Dell realized that forcing customers to adapt to their own platform, wasn’t the best idea. They realized that to provide for the best possible customer experience, you need to make support as frictionless as possible. This meant heading to social media. The lesson you should take away from this is that, regardless of what you’re selling, meet customers wherever they want to engage with you.

If you’re wondering how to do this, encourage your employees to engage with customers on all channels, and empower them to actually help customers. Give autonomy to agents monitoring social to fix things, credit things, reimburse things so that the customer’s first interaction with your brand, on their chosen social network, is as pleasant as possible.

Funneling customers to certain mediums, and restricting front line agents, is a perfect way to anger customers and lose them permanently… faster than you can say “unsubscribe”.

Just because it’s always been done a certain way…

This one’s more for the exec team in large organizations. There is a lot, that you’ve been doing for a long time.. that you really shouldn’t be doing anymore.

Times change, but it seems like some organizations are frozen in time.

If you’re reading this, and you’re thinking… is that me? Maybe it’s a good time to take a look in your organization, take stock of what you’re doing and then look at Unicorns that are disrupting your industry. There’s a good chance that they’re doing something a little different from you.

And trust me, I sympathize. I know how difficult it is to change the way you do things within a large organization, however all it takes is a strong vision from the top down, a focus on attracting new talent and constant steps towards improving and optimizing the way you do business both internally and externally in 2021+.

If you are in this position, I’d advise you to look into the work of Salim Ismail and pick up a copy of his book, Exponential Organizations. He studies, teaches and speaks on how to modernize large organizations to compete with disruptive, more agile organizations.

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