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I'm not a "techie" by nature but I do know my way around a PC in terms of software. When it comes to ordering certain specifications, however, I come unstuck!
I desperately needed a new PC for home use so off I went into town to see what was available. Firstly, into Time then to Tiny, PC World, Currys and finally a small local shop.
The only place able to offer me the advice I need was the small local family-run shop, the problem was price - it was more than I could afford. The other chain stores just wanted to sell me the "package" offering a free table and hundreds of pounds worth of software that I either already had or would never ever need! There was no personal service what so ever.
I returned home having spent considerable effort and money (petrol, car parks etc) with almost nothing to show for my ill-spent half a day! After 10 minutes on the Dell web site I was fairly convinced I had found what I was looking for.
I won't boar you with the specifications but I need a powerful machine for work purposes rather than a games machine. Dell "do" the works. They
sell home machines, work machines, networked machines refurbished machines - you name they'll probably have it!
Now price wise, Dell were and probably still are slightly more expensive than places like PC World but the more personalised service I received was the worth extra cost - as I was making the most of my money rather than buying a package with spurious extras. The only concern was a £40 delivery fee which given it took the specified maximum 7 days was disappointing! Mind you I was able to track the delivery process online which is a nice feature!
Dell Support before purchase was second to none. Dell personnel probably work on a commission basis and are therefore eager to give you their details so that if you do ring back you can speak to them directly. The upside of this is that they guy/gal probably remembers you (as did the guy I spoke to) and your details and can therefore offer you a more efficient service. On several occasions the guy I wanted to deal with was busy so I left a message asking him to call me back! This he did promptly and politely.
Dell support after purchase wasn't quite as good though. The machine arrived within the deadline but I did expect it sooner. The first problem was that the machine wouldn't run certain music files, so out came a technician. He couldn't fix it so he came out two days later to try again with a pre-ordered spare part. At last a fully functional machine - not bad you might think. But the machine had to be formatted after the technician had fixed it and there were problems, which meant I had to ring the helpline! I rang out of peak time at about 10pm and due to the small number of staff on at that time I was redirected through to the States. A good service I'm sure but only if they tell either you or the guy on the other end of the phone what's happening.
To cut a long story short, picture me speaking to an American Dell employee with neither of us aware of the long distance nature of the call. Now as you can imagine none of the codes and reference numbers I was giving him could lead him to find a record of my account! So failing purchase order numbers and machine codes we went with the obvious address option! No address found - and quite frankly I am now getting very irate! So we resort to using telephone number in an attempt to locate my account! I gave him my telephone details twice and neither time could he find a record of my account! He then had the audacity to question whether I knew my own telephone number and then when you could tell I was about to explode asked me where I was calling from. I replied Portsmouth UK, to which he responded Dallas (I think) in the good old US of A.
My immediate response was who's paying for this call to the states so with the receiver about to be slammed down I asked in a seriously hacked off tone "what kind of an organisation are you?" I'm sure he as bemused as me at that point!
Anyway, the problem eventually was fixed when a techie friend of mine came to stay for the weekend and he fixed it in about 30mins! Wrong drivers of the CD they gave me!
Aside from the unfortunate incident with a call routed through to the States I have been extremely happy with the service Dell provided me! It was more personalised that elsewhere and one that basis alone I would recommend Dell to everybody but especially non-techies!