Warning: Doing PR Work for Dell can cause Frustration in Interns

Two days ago, I wrote about the new company blog that Dell just launched. So did Jeff Jarvis, who originally started the now (in)famous Dell Hell. And he received a comment from a certain someone called Chris:
Hey Jarvis

I honestly think you have no life. Honestly? Do you have a life, or do just spend it trying to make Dell miserable. I’ve been working with Dell the past three weeks researching trashy blogs that worms like you leave all over that frigen blogosphere and I cant honestly say that Dell is trying to take a step towards fixing their customer service. They hire guys like me to go on the web and look through the blogs of guys like you in hopes that we can find out your problem and fix it. But honestly I dont think you have a problem Dell can fix. Your problem is you have no life.
Unfortunately Chris didn't leave his real identity, but he did leave an IP number (where have I heard that before ?) ! So Jeff was able to see that this comment was posted by someone who works for the GCI group, a division of Grey Worldwide. What is GCI group doing, you ask ? Let's have a look at their website:
Dell: Re-branding a Market Leader to Appeal to Teens, Rebuilding Corporate Reputation Through Grassroots Effort
Oh boy !

Looks like GCI is helping Dell to figured out the whole blog thing and that seems to get a little bit frustrating at times. Jeff fired off a email to Jeff Hunt, CEO and president of GCI group, "asking what the company and this Chris dude are doing with Dell." The reply came quickly from Paul Walker, head of GCI's brand new Digital Media Practice:
I looked into the matter, and I can confirm the comment was left by a summer intern who got caught up in the emotion around your postings. This afternoon he obviously decided to let you know what was on his mind. In afterthought, he likely would choose his words more carefully. It is important that you understand the intern’s comment in no way reflects the points of view of Dell or GCI. (...)
Poor Intern.

But as always, there is also a bright side: Dell's blog finally sparks a few really engaging conversations and GCI learnt a valuable lesson for their future ventures into that strange blogosphere - as Jeff puts it:
The person who answers the phone — or now responds to a blog post — is acting on behalf of Dell and to the customer is Dell, since that person is our connection to Dell. See the AOL cancellation video. Every one of your “customer service” employees and every one of your “public relations” employees in every encounter represents your company. That has always been the case. Only now, we can record their actions and report them to the world. There are many Chrises in many companies. The fact that they feel they can treat customers this way is a good indication, though, of the culture and management of the companies that employ them. (...)



Full story on Jeff's blog...

(via Richard Edelman)