Commentary

I Love You, Nick Scalan

I can't hold it back any longer. Dell's customer service is great!

There. I said it. Dell, you are killing me with kindness, and I've got to tell the (marketing) world my story.

Last week my AC adapter died, leaving me with the ability to work for about one hour. I panicked. All my short cuts, my bookmarks, my files, my life is on my laptop. Then I discovered that if I placed what is called the "brick" just so, it would work, untouched. It was "untouch and go" all day.

The next morning, I hustled over to Staples to buy a new one. Fortunately, not only did they not have one in stock, they couldn't even order one. "Go to Dell," the salesman said--and I, briefly considering a smart retort, did just that.

I went to dell.com, to be exact, and to Chat Online With Technical Support. I did not expect to connect with anyone in any meaningful manner, since past online chats with other companies have ended with me typing something like, "WTF? Why didn't you tell me you couldn't handle my problem? You kept me on this *badword* thing for 20 *badword* minutes!!!! I hate (your company) and will NEVER, EVER buy anything from you *badword* again." But there he was, my hero, Nick Scalan.

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Within four minutes, he had determined the problem and said, "I'll have one sent out to you." I couldn't believe my eyes. I fed back: "So, you are sending me a new power cord?" And Nick Scalan wrote, "I'm going to send you the complete power adapter from wall to the back of the notebook."

Who among us doesn't yearn to hear those words? After getting the serial number from my brick, Saint Nick told me the new one was covered under my warranty and so would be delivered to me the next day FOR FREE.

But, wait, it gets better.

I noticed that my brick was beeping faintly so, while I was waiting for Nick to set up what they call the "dispatch," I asked him if that was normal. He recommended that I unplug it and "wait it out until the part arrives." "But I'm an editor on deadline!" I cried. When the brick suddenly began working again, I relayed this news to Nick, and like a brother, he told me to just make sure it doesn't get overheated.

I had a normal conversation with a person at a major corporation. Is this not breakthrough news?

There's more.

Within a few moments, I got an email with service tag, dispatch and case numbers and this sentence: "I will be your point of contact until this issue is completely resolved to your satisfaction." I softly wept.

The next day, there it was. I swapped it out and sent the old brick packing. But then I got a message saying I should have a 90W adapter so I emailed my next husband, Nick. He suggested I download an update for my BIOS and gave me step-by-step instructions on how to do so.

The following day I decided to confide another problem, that of a battery nearing the end of its useful life. Was I pushing my luck? I got an away message--but then, the next day, this:

"I was out of the office yesterday. Did updating the BIOS get rid of the error message about the AC adapter? If not, what is the full text of the error message you receive? Do you use the system in a docking station? If so, undock it and ..."

Thank you, Michael Dell.

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