If I've learned anything from surfing customers' blogs over the last year and a half, I've learned one thing: customers do have a voice at Dell.
When you meet people for the first time, usually the conversation drifts towards what each of you "do for a living". When it does for me, I am never surprised to see a "knowing look" when I tell people I work at Dell. Being the kind of guy I am, I hit that look head-on more often than not. I explain that rather than working at a "big, faceless corporation" as a "drone", my job is proof that the customer has a voice. When people find out I surf and respond to blogs for a living, that "knowing look" usually melts right off of their faces. "Dell actually pays people to do that?"
In my day to day experience, I am constantly getting feedback from customers, and forwarding that feedback along to the appropriate groups. Customers are always telling me "wouldn't it be great if Dell would do <yoursuggestionhere>". I usually refer people to IdeaStorm, unless their suggestion is break/fix related. IdeaStorm is a great place to share your ideas, but sometimes our product engineers could use some specific feedback while putting together a new product design. Now is one of those times.
We have used the same AC adapters for all Dell notebook lines since 2003. In that time, notebooks have undergone some fairly significant changes, and also during this time, virtually no changes were made to the AC adapters being shipped with our notebooks. Four years is a lifetime in the computer industry, so it's safe to say these adapters are quickly becoming yesterday's technology. They have worked well, but there's always room for improvements.
There is at least one AC adapter in circulation for every notebook we sell, so not only is it the most common piece of Dell equipment, it is also probably one of the products we receive the most feedback about. Given these facts, our engineers have decided to focus on the AC adapter to try and determine the best ways to improve its design. This gives us a golden opportunity to give feedback at a critical time in a product's life:
Our engineers want to know how you use the AC adapters with your notebooks so they can take these scenarios into consideration during design. Being that this is one of the most ubiquitous pieces of Dell equipment, this is a chance for us as customers to tell the designers themselves how wecollectively use their product, so that they can improve the design and make an AC adapter designed to meet our needs. The survey is yet another way the customer has a voice at Dell.
I've already filled it out, and I hope you'll join me.