I have a Dell Vostro laptop. It's not a particularly impressive machine, in fact you could say it's pretty boring. But I already know that my next laptop is also going to be a Dell. And the reason why I've already made that choice has nothing to do with the product, and everything to do with the people that stand behind it.


How many times have you heard that "people want to have relationships with companies/brands"'? I say that's complete BS. I have enough trouble with the relationships I have with real people, why would I want to add companies to the mix?!?
But many branding/marketing 'experts' are trying to sell companies on the idea that people want to have a 'relationship' with the companies that sell the products that they buy.
Do I want to have a relationship with Dell? Is that why my next laptop will be a Dell? Of course not. My next laptop will be a Dell because I have met and connected with so many members of Dell's team. I have sat at a table and talked social media with John Pope and Amie Paxton. I've moderated a panel about corporate blogging that Lionel Menchaca sat on. And perhaps most importantly, Richard Binhammer has given me a ride back to my hotel after the taxi never showed up.
But spontaneous name-dropping aside, the REAL reason why my next laptop will be a Dell is because if I pull it out of the box and it doesn't work, I know that all I have to do is go to Twitter and tweet that to Richard/John/Lionel/Amie/Chris/Natalie and one of them will get back to me within minutes to help me.
If I buy a Compaq/HP/Apple/Gateway/Toshiba laptop and it's a brick out of the box, I have no idea who to contact about it. With Dell, I can think of at least 5 people that work there that I have either personally met, or talked on the phone with, or both, that would be tripping over each other to see who can help me first.
That's big. In an era where the customer is demanding more than ever before from companies when it comes to service, social media has allowed Dell to get a huge leg up over their competitors. Social media has allowed Dell's employees to connect with me, and that's why they will get my future business.
The big question is, why aren't Dell's competitors using these same tools in the same way to let their employees connect with me?

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
image of Mack Collier

Mack Collier is a social-media strategist based in Alabama. He helps companies build programs and initiatives that let them better connect with their customers and advocates. His podcast, The Fan-Damn-Tastic Marketing Show, discusses ways that brands can turn customers into fans. His first book, Think Like a Rock Star: How to Create Social Media and Marketing Strategies That Turn Customers Into Fans, was published in April 2013 by McGraw-Hill.

Twitter: @MackCollier

LinkedIn: Mack Collier