User complaints push Dell to return PC support to US

Dell has stopped routing most of the technical support calls from US-based users of its corporate PCs to a facility in India, after some customers complained about the quality of the help they received.

Dell has stopped routing most of the technical support calls from US-based users of its corporate PCs to a facility in India, after some customers complained about the quality of the help they received.

Support operations related to Dell's Optiplex line of desktop PCs and its Latitude notebooks are being moved back to facilities in Texas, Idaho and Tennessee, says company spokesman Jon Weisblatt.

"Corporate customers were telling us they didn't like the level of support they were getting, and in the normal course of business, we made some adjustments," Weisblatt says.

IDC analyst Ned May says he had also heard criticisms from corporate IT managers about the support they were getting from Dell's call centre in Bangalore, India. May called the shift of support back to the US "an aggressive move" that should earn Dell some goodwill from users.

Dell's support flip-flop is also a victory for US-based IT workers, says Marcus Courtney, president of the Seattle-based Washington Alliance of Technology Workers.

The problems encountered by Dell should show other technology vendors that sometimes "cheaper is not better," Courtney says.

But it may be a short-lived victory. Barry French, another Dell spokesman, says a portion of the calls from US PC users will still go to India, where support has been handled since mid-2001. He has also indicated that Dell may shift all of the support back offshore at some point. "We are increasing the number of people we have providing support in India," he says.

"Dell has a number of call centres around the world, and we will continue to optimise those to provide the best customer experience."

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