October 9, 2003, 12:00 AM

How Dell.com cut down on calls to call center by listening to customers

To provide a smoother customer shopping experience that cut down on calls to its customer service call center, Dell modified its site after asking customers what information would be most helpful to them in an online self-service mode.

To provide a smoother shopping experience that has cut down on calls to its customer service call center, Dell Inc. modified Dell.com after asking its customers what information would be most helpful to them in an online self-service mode. Customers said they wanted an easier way to check the status of their orders, so Dell placed an “order status” link on each page and has seen a sharp drop in calls to its call center, says Neil Clemmons, senior vice president of Critical Mass, a web site design firm working with Dell to redesign Dell.com.

As part of a multi-year plan to improve its customers’ online shopping experience, Dell has been interviewing customers in focus groups and in one-on-one meetings to determine the strengths and weaknesses of Dell.com as a shopping site, Clemmons says. “We asked what kind of problems and questions customers wanted answered. When Dell got a lot of questions about how to get better information on order status, we made that front and center.”

Dell placed an order status link in a horizontal navigation bar near the top of each page, in addition to making information on order status available in its Customer Care section. “Dell has significantly cut down on the number of calls to its customer service call center,” Clemmons says.

Dell also uses an in-house site analytics team that pulls and analyzes more than 30 gigabytes of data each day on customer activity, learning, for example, what type of page designs and creative content drive what type of shopping behavior, Clemmons says. One of the things it has learned and plans to implement is removing much of the left-side navigation bar to increase space for product displays.

“That provides 15% more merchandising space,” Clemmons says. “We found that customers like browsing by icons, but we didn’t find many people using the left nav bar.”

 

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