Tranforming With Social Media

This week I will be talking about what I have learnt about how  connecting with Groundswell can really transform a company, and potentially transform your company. I will touch on an example in the book Groundswell on the company Dell, and further dissect what issues arose, and how they effectively managed their mistakes using Groundswell.

To get things started, let’s look into what happened to Dell in 2005.  Dell built a direct sales model that relied on low cost, flexible products that allowed for ordering growth and profitability. Since they didn’t have a traditional brick and motor operation, they relied heavily on phone calls and online customer support methods to deal with problems that customers faced. Dell also had a program where customers could sign up to have a tech member come to the customers home to fix problems they were having with their computers. This is where the main issue started to arise.  Clients like a fellow named Jeff who wrote negative blogs about Dell did not feel satisfied with the products he purchased from Dell. He felt that the company didn’t provide a useful in home service and that the in home tech support service couldn’t resolve any of his computer issues without having to actually send in the physical computer. In essence he felt as though he wasted money in purchasing in home service when in all seriousness he knew that to resolve the issue with his computer he had to send it into Dell. Jeff became frustrated and felt like no one was listening to him at Dell. More and more clients were also experiencing the same issues. There wasn’t a proper system in place by Dell to effectively deal with customer support. This led to Dell not meeting quarterly profits as customers were not satisfied with the service and communication it was receiving through Dell.  The CEO Michael Dell knew there was a lack of social strategy.

So how did Dell fix their social strategy to increase customer satisfaction?

Like most large companies, Dell did not have an effective customer service program that tied in customer complaints. There just wasn’t a way that Dell could monitor and give the appropriate solutions to their customer needs. They knew that to effectively turn around this problem with customer support that they needed to listen to their customers.

Michael Dell decided to take charge and hire individuals to proactively find bloggers who were having hardware problems and connect them with technicians who could help them. He also decided to set up a blog that would allow for customers to connect directly with Dell. Regardless if it was positive or negative, the transparency of communicating with clients on all issues aided them to resolve their customer support problems. Michael Dell wrote his first blog post on what happened with one of their Notebook catching on fire in a conference. As you can see this might not have been the best blog post to start with. It was fairly negative, however, from a company perspective it allowed the customers to see that Dell was taking action in determine what caused this fire and how they plan of resolving it. It shows customers that they were taking actions for their products and services and showed transparency in the company. Feedback from the customers were mixed however now they were also seeing some positive comments which further demonstrated how having interactions with their customer can be powerful. From their CEO Michael Dell encouraged his staff from multiple departments to add blog posts to their company to aid in creating an engaging forum to interact with clients. This in the end would only help Dell in knowing what exactly customers are liking about their products and well as what exactly they should look into fixing about their services. Being able to communicate with fellow customer in the end helped Dell come out with a stronger product by using outside help with the customer who in the end use the final product.

Here is an example of BMO using groundswell to effectively review an employee job description online using a forum.



This review was posted on a site that was linked to BMO jobs. It allows the community to comment and post feedback on certain types of jobs BMO is offering. Future employees can look and see what others liked and didn’t like about certain jobs. They can ask questions if they want more information surrounding future jobs.


Kaplan, A., & Haenlein, M. (2010). Users of the World, Unite! The Challenges and Opportunities of Social Media. Business Horizons, 53(1), 59-68.

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