Leading online computer seller Dell Computer Corp. announced today that it has launched a global redesign of its Web site, adding new features aimed at making interactions easier and more tailored to individual customers’ needs.
Dell’s refined e-commerce site will now allow customers to buy products, search for information, and seek support based on their personal preferences and technology experience. It also offers a less cluttered and more focused appearance.
“There are fewer clicks per transaction, providing much better customer service,” Joe Lueckenhoff, Dell’s vice president of customer service and support, told the E-Commerce Times.
Additionally, Lueckenhoff said the Round Rock, Texas-based company is introducing an online paperless invoicing capability for its largest business and institutional customers — an extension of the company’s “Premier Pages” service.
New Site Based On XML
Dell’s redesigned Web site is based on XML (eXtensible Markup Language), a database-driven language that enables extremely fast content updates worldwide. Lueckenhoff told the E-Commerce Times that XML makes it easier for Dell to add new product features simultaneously to its sites in 50 different countries, using local languages and currencies.
Dell’s Web site, which generates $35 million (US$) each day in revenue, is now one of the largest online commerce sites based on XML technology.
Additionally, according to industry observers, Dell’s endorsement of XML is a significant boost for the markup language that some predict is destined to replace HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) as the worldwide standard.
Revamped Customer Support Features
Lueckenhoff added that, as part of Dell’s ongoing customer support strategy, the company has also re-engineered its support Web site, support.dell.com, making it easier for millions of customers to get online assistance.
Dell currently receives about 19 million visits to support.dell.com each year, and almost 40 percent of Dell customers use “E-Support-Direct from Dell.” The computer seller expects that at least half of its customers will use e-support by the end of 2000.
The support site will now enable customers to select how they receive online help, based on their comfort and experience with technology. The site also features new features such as “Warranty Status,” which automatically notifies customers when that service is approaching expiration, and “Birth Certificate,” which gives customers direct access to useful system information, such as its unique service tag number.
Dell’s user-friendly approach in providing service has not gone unnoticed. Earlier this year, the Association of Support Professionals named support.dell.com as a Top 10 Web site, making Dell the only computer manufacturer to earn that honor.
Paper Invoicing Out, Cyber Invoicing In
Lueckenhoff also noted that Dell’s new online invoicing capability, “Premier Invoicing,” was added to its Premier Pages service after being requested by many of its bigger customers.
“They asked us — why do we have to get a paper invoice when everything else is taken care of online?” Lueckenhoff recalled.
From their Premier Pages Web sites, Dell customers will now be able to search and sort outstanding invoices by date, invoice number, purchase-order number, or customer number.
Premier Pages are customized, password-protected Web sites that Dell creates for customers. The sites provide one-stop access to simplified purchasing, purchase history reporting, order status and help desk support. More than 35,000 Premier Pages in 12 languages are currently hosted for its customers through www.dell.com, according to Lueckenhoff.
New paperless invoicing has already been enthusiastically embraced by some of Dell’s biggest customers.
“Prior to Premier Invoicing, the volume of business we did with Dell required a full-time accounts receivable clerk to manage Dell transactions,” said Ash Shehata, chief information officer of Antelope Valley Hospital in Lancaster, California. “Now all of our account data is a click away. It’s easily organized, cuts down on paperwork, and the clerk is available to work on other projects.”
According to Lueckenhoff, this innovations is just one of many that the company will introduce in its continuing effort to improve customer service.
“It’s the reaffirmation of the Dell model,” Lueckenhoff said. “We’ve eliminated the middleman, leaving the customer with only one neck to choke.”