Wal-Mart’s “Solution Station” Experiment Strangely Silent

  • Comments: 19
  • Written on: January 18th, 2009

Mid-2008 Walmert and Dell teamed up in an experiment across 15 of their Dallas-area super centers to create a competitive answer to Best Buy’s Geek Squad.  The experiment was called “Solution Station.”

The experiment is old news, but I think it is interesting that there has been no mention of the effort since its launch.

Google searches for “Solution Station” only bring up spammy sites and a few press releases dating back to the project’s launch.  Normally you at least find a few complaints online, but there is not a single one.

The last thing I can find in the blogosphere about the project was in September of 2008 when a commentator mentioned that Wal-Mart and Dell were not hiring skilled technicians.

If anyone has ever used the Solution Station, I would be curious to hear your impressions.

  1. Glenn
    Glenn said on January 27th, 2009 at 2:41 pm

    same questions..i know it started in Dallas, TX, but was wondering if this is going beyond TX lines?

  2. Thor Schrock said on January 27th, 2009 at 4:26 pm

    Thanks for stopping by, Glenn. I have no idea. I can’t find any articles or blog posts on it since they deployed the initial experiment. Anyone from Texas, let us know if they are still around.

  3. Dot
    Dot said on January 29th, 2009 at 1:33 pm

    I bought a new Inspirion 530s just before Christmas, took it and my old HP to Solution Station to have all my data transferred. While they were very nice and seemed competent, I have had nothing but problems with the computer (running Vista instead of XP) and can get NO HELP AT ALL from Dell. I can’t get a person in customer service; when I call tech support i get India, and even after running tests, “taking over” my computer, they cannot find the problem. I took it back to SS at Walmart and they say there is nothing wrong, but there definitely is. When downloading anything, it loses connection to the server and stops; constantly get message the ‘IE cannot connect to website,” Don’t know now where to turn.One tech said it was my internet connection, but I reconnected my old HP and have no problems at all with it.Cable tech checked the line and said it was OK. I’m so frustrated.

  4. Thor Schrock said on January 29th, 2009 at 2:00 pm

    @Dot

    If your state participated in the recent settlement with Dell over the exact problem you are describing, you might be entitled to some money. See this post for details:
    http://www.thorschrock.com/2009/01/23/dell-settles-with-nebraska-in-poor-service-suit-get-your-share/

    As for the problem you are experiencing, the next thing I would try is replacing the network interface card. You can pick one up at Wal-Mart for under $15 and installing it is super easy – just snap it in with the power off and Vista should do the rest.

    Connect your high speed connection to the new network card and see if the problem persists. Let us know how it goes!

  5. JoJo
    JoJo said on February 13th, 2009 at 12:31 am

    The Solution Stations are still around at the 15 stores and doing well apparently. From what I hear they are going to finishing their test soon and going live with the project to other areas. They do have very good technicians at the stations many of them with degrees in computer science, engineering etc etc. They aren’t just some teenage kids working on computers for the first time. Like the Geek Squad.

  6. Dot
    Dot said on April 2nd, 2009 at 7:49 pm

    Here’s an update to my post in January. Turns out there was no problem with my computer, just as the techs at Solution Station had told me. I switched from Time Warner Cable to Verizon, and my computer has worked flawlessly. Apparently the problem was that the cable router from TW was too slow (or old or something) and could not handle the speed of the new Dell. I have found the technicians at Solution Station very competent and extremely polite and helpful. They have gone out of their way to help me solve my problems.

  7. TryBPO said on July 21st, 2009 at 10:51 pm

    Never heard of it. I know that Geek Squad has faced quite a bit o start-up competition, but nobody’s been able to compete as of yet.

  8. Christie
    Christie said on August 10th, 2009 at 11:17 am

    I have had the same problem with the dell “customer service”. My husband and I spent almost 4 hours on the phone talking to “tech support” (in india… who refuse to transfer calls to anyone who speaks english as a first language). After all that my disc drive is STILL broken AND my computer is still under warranty. (I only bought it back in May).
    But I digress…
    After the MASSIVE headache that this all was my husband and I happened to be in Arlington, TX by the new Cowboys stadium. We also saw a brand new walmart and decided to check it out. We wandered and found our way to the electronics section where a gentleman named Von came and asked if we needed help. He was wearing a Dell Solutions shirt so we asked him what he could do to help us with our computer issue. I guarantee that in the 10 minutes I was talking to this gentleman I got more information than the entire 4 hours I was wasting talking to Inda. I hope they put one in EVERY walmart!

  9. Robert Menard said on August 29th, 2009 at 7:32 am

    My experience was disastrous. They had thoroughly incompetent management and technicians. I am seeking a full refund and getting no where with Dell so far.

  10. Luis Hernandez
    Luis Hernandez said on September 9th, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    Thor do you know what has happened with wal-mart and their Services Solution project?

  11. Thor said on September 9th, 2009 at 5:39 pm

    I still have not heard much about it. Some people have left comments about their experiences, but I would love the opportunity to break a system and drop it on their doorstep and see how they do 😉

  12. billie
    billie said on September 22nd, 2009 at 1:19 pm

    i had great luck with the dell solution station in may 2009. it is now september 22 and need them again. cannot find solution station anywhere. closed in the valley ranch walmart. emailed the address left by the register solutionstationcustomer@dell.com and have not received an answer. dell’s customer service in india sucks.

  13. sharry
    sharry said on November 10th, 2009 at 11:45 pm

    Wow, solutions stations misdiagnosed my emachines, after thier repair it went on the fritz. took it back…, now after the suggestion from them to combine one of thier dell computers with mine, (with a charge of couse) to make one good computer; i have a computer that i can’t restore or listen to., because they didn’t give me a restore disk. and i still have my restore disk from my original computer, but this (GOOD) computer won’t read them?… I tied to take it back, but how convenant, Walmart Manager in the Mesquite TX. store told me Soultion Stations are no longer there due to too many complaints and wrong repair and and in his own words “They didn’t know what the hell they were doing. They were ripping people off.” Well I guess I one of them. I can’t locate any soultion stations and dell is giving me the run around. Oh, and to top it off the computer hardware theycombined my computer with is out of warranty. If any one knows of a number or a location I can contact, I would appriciate it. Thanks Sharry.

  14. Paul Perry
    Paul Perry said on November 16th, 2009 at 10:21 am

    As a former Solution Station by Dell Tech and store manager I can tell you that the project has been shut.
    Yes some stores suffered from the problems that Sherry described but the biggest problem was that a third party was managing the program and instead of giving store managers such as myself the tools and the room to effectively manage the project they simply tied our hands and forced us to follow a very narrow process of services.
    I was lucky and saw the writing on the wall and got out about a month before it collapsed to start up on my own.
    If anybody is interested in my services please feel free to contact me paul(DOT)perry2(AT)verizon(DOT)net. I am more than happy to talk to former customers especially from the Highland village location.
    I will also be able to check and see if you have a valid warranty claim as I still have a few contacts within dell who can check on that, It maybe a little faster than trying to get a response from the email address.

  15. Thor said on November 16th, 2009 at 11:38 am

    @Paul

    Thanks for the reply. It’s nice to hear what ended up happening with that project. It’s pretty crazy that with Dell’s channels and Wal-Mart’s reach they couldn’t put together a good service product.

    Be sure to bookmark http://www.topitshop.com. It is launching in December and is designed to help emerging IT shop owners like yourself. Have a great day!

  16. Paul Perry
    Paul Perry said on November 16th, 2009 at 1:21 pm

    @Thor
    I agree. As I say I believe that if Dell had of managed the project instead of using the third parties they did use it would of been a lot more successful. But watch the headlines it is my understanding that Dell has a new project and partner coming up soon and Walmart has bought out what was left of firedog. Neither one is down and out just yet, however i do recommend that your readers instead of using a big box store, seek out a independent contractor that way you can actually get to know the person who is working on your system, as well as possibly speaking to some of their clients.
    As a small business owner myself I can tell you that the only thing we have is our word and relationship with you our customers. I have clients who have become close friends due simply to my honesty and professionalism the same traits you will find with any other independent contractor who is competent.

  17. sharry
    sharry said on November 27th, 2009 at 5:05 am

    Thanks Paul for your suggestion, I will consider that in the future.
    Well, to give an update on my computer, I contacted the district manager at the mesquite Walmart and he was extremly helpful, he contacted another big person in Walmart that had connections with DELL and in 3 days time Dell called me and completly fixed my computer “Remotely.” I didn’t know they could do things like that with a computer. Well need less to say, I have a computer that works great now. They fixed the sound and put Malware protection on there and everything was FREE!!! I can also call back if anything goes wrong with it.
    My suggestion to anyone having problems such as I have, is to keep calling and talking to someone who will listen to you. Keep trying until things get done. Don’t give up!!!
    Sharry

  18. Robert Dalomba
    Robert Dalomba said on January 22nd, 2010 at 11:32 am

    I have no idea what Paul was saying he was fired 3 months before there was any talk of any close for misconduct. Sharry I can say one thing I was the Mesquite Store manager for several months we donot combine computers. When a hardware replacement wouldve taken place its done buy ordering parts that are not done dell specific and we dont hand out restore disks ” THEY DONT EVEN COME WITH EMACHINE COMPUTERS” but the parts that we do order from out vendors only had a 90 day warranty that was the only sense made in your story. Near the end Dell told all the reps that they would honor warranties in by mail out to them personally I have no knowledge how they kept up with that process becuase it was no longer a true concern of mine but as far as the customer service that I know the mesquite store brought it was known as very good with our ” CUSTOMERS” I can say this because i was in the mesquite store for almost a year and took over the manager position in the last several months and we never ripped anyone off intentional or accidentally.

  19. paradoxic enigma
    paradoxic enigma said on January 7th, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    Dell has outsourced its program “Solution Station” to countries outside the United States, like Philippines, India and other Asian countries.
    People from these countries are more technologically advanced as they spend more time with computers and troubleshooting them. The major fallback, however seems to be their communication skills and grasp over the English language.
    Dell also seems to focus more on call flow and protocol than the customers predicament and providing resolutions. It however provides attractive pricing based on the computer issue and its complexity. Call agents are forced to push Dell products, but it gains them measly incentives anyway.
    The main standpoint is cheap labor as the same job in the US would cost a lot more for the company. Customers who cant understand the asian accent have an option called YTT (Your Tech Team) a Premium service queue where customers have American agents providing resolutions for their technical issues.
    Dell respects its hardware warranties as long as they are within validity. Business is business, and it cannot support customers with an expired warranty or one that has no Solution Station contract.
    Keep your Service Tag and Express service code handy at all times, including the name and phone number you used when you bought your Dell computer, as it can save a lot of time during troubleshooting.
    Keep the disks that came with your computer safe and make backups of them.
    Also backup any important data that you have on your computer on an external hard drive. In the event of a hard drive failure, you’d atleast have one load off your mind. Also use quality software that keep your PC running smooth for years, like System Mechanic pro, Super antispyware and Malwarebytes. Use an upto date Antivirus program and keep the continuous updates option on.
    Better safe than sorry!
    Dell is a wonderful company, provides good customer service and tries to resolve your issues at all costs.
    And no, I’m not writing this with a gun to my head 🙂
    Cheers!

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