Dell Tech Support: 2013 Rating

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Dell’s abhorrent performance in our 2012 Tech Support Showdown earned it the dubious distinction of receiving the lowest overall score of any company in three years. The company’s failure was a result of deceitful practices employed by phone support representatives claiming we won a so-called contest that allowed us to pay less for a three-year extended warranty. Fortunately, Dell has seemed to clean up its act.

For 2013, Dell re-evaluated its warranty offerings. The company now provides three warranties: a basic hardware warranty, premium phone support for hardware and software questions, and Dell Tech Concierge support. All Dell Inspiron systems get 90 days of premium phone support, while XPS customers get a full year. If you want to use premium phone support outside of your laptop’s warranty, it will cost $224 for one year. The tech concierge service costs an additional $239 for a one-year subscription.

support quotes dell

Tech Concierge installs software on your laptop that collects real-time performance data. Despite how much the service sounds like a “Big Brother” watching over your machine, Dell promises that the service doesn’t interact with your personal information.

To test Dell’s tech support, we sought answers for how to create a new user account in Windows 8, how to connect a Bluetooth speaker and how to create a boot drive on an external hard drive using our Dell Latitude 7000 notebook.

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Web & Social Media

screenshot dell support page

Dell told us last year that the majority of its technical support questions can be answered via its tech support website. To access Dell’s phone and chat support, your laptop has to be within its warranty period, and you need to have your express service tag on hand. Without an active warranty, you can still find answers to questions on Dell’s site. Unfortunately, the site is a tangled mess of links that had us spinning in circles looking for answers. We searched for about 15 minutes for an explainer for connecting Bluetooth speakers to our laptop, but didn’t find anything useful. Other questions, such as how to create a system backup, were easier to locate.

screenshot dell support live chat

Like most companies, Dell offers a live Web chat service, which was quick and easy to use. It took 10 minutes for customer service technician Vishal to explain how to connect our Bluetooth speakers to our laptop. Unfortunately, Dell has done away with its email support.

screenshot dell support facebook

Dell’s social media team performed well when we asked it questions via Twitter and Facebook. We asked @DellCares how to connect a pair of Bluetooth speakers to our laptop and were sent a direct message with a link to an article on Dell’s site explaining how to do so. Surprisingly, Dell doesn’t allow you to post questions on its Facebook page, instead requiring that you post them to the Dell Community Forums.

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Phone

We made our first phone call to Dell’s tech support at 12 p.m. EST and asked customer service technician Makash in India how to create a second user account on our Windows 8 laptop. He instantly asked if we would mind downloading Dell’s DellConnect service so he could take control of our laptop and create a second user account. Though we didn’t think it was necessary to use DellConnect to resolve this issue, the solution worked. The entire call lasted 16 minutes and 1 second.

During our second call, we asked customer service technician Sam how to connect a pair of Bluetooth speakers to our laptop. Like Makash, Sam asked if we would download DellConnect on our notebook so he could control our laptop and connect the speakers himself, which he did. He tested them by streaming a YouTube video. When we told him the audio was coming through our speakers, he asked us to restart our laptop to make sure that the speakers stayed connected after a shutdown. He then tested the speakers again, checked to see if our laptop needed to run any Windows 8 updates and ended the call. The call lasted 19 minutes and 59 seconds.

We made our last call to customer service technician Jaten and asked him how to create a boot disk on a separate hard drive. Like the others, Jaten took control of our computer via DellConnect and initiated the boot disk setup. The call took 28 minutes, though about 20 or so of those minutes were spent waiting for the disk to write.

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Though we were a bit perturbed by the technicians’ reliance on DellConnect to resolve our issues, we were glad to learn that we could, at any time, override the support representatives’ access to our laptop and disconnect the agent.

Verdict

Dell has made some much-needed improvements to its phone support, doing away with the deceptive practice of telling consumers they won a contest to purchase a cheap warranty. In fact, our experiences with Dell’s phone representatives this year were quite positive, even if the reps were a bit over-reliant on remotely accessing our PC. The company’s live chat reps were equally helpful. Unfortunately, Dell’s support site isn’t easy to navigate. We’d also like to see more interaction with the company on Facebook, though our Twitter experience proved helpful. Overall, Dell has managed to rebound nicely from last year.

Tech Support Showdown 2013

AUTHOR BIO
Daniel P. Howley
Daniel P. Howley
A newspaper man at heart, Dan Howley wrote for Greater Media Newspapers before joining Laptopmag.com. He also served as a news editor with ALM Media’s Law Technology News, and he holds a B.A. in English from The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.
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  1. Evelyn Dowdell Says:

    Dell technical support is poor or completely dishonest. Dell technical supports have scammed me. – and left me with a poorly functioning computer.
    Evelyn Dowdell – Dell customer.

  2. Traci Carey Says:

    Need to send Dell laptop got as a gift still under warranty please send me a box for evaluation. telephone 860-829-2008 860-690-7121 61 Cole Lane Kensington, CT 06037 purchased 9/11/13 asap PLEASE

  3. Darrell Hammel Says:

    I purchased two Dell Inspiron computers. TOTAL JUNK. Purchased the in home service, requested five times for Dell to send someone and nothing. STAY AWAY from this SCAM company.

  4. James Hoffman Says:

    Ordered an xps 12 was promised the following:

    xps 12
    dell Dock
    Portable HDD
    Microsoft office Home & Business
    $80.00 Gift Card (special offer)
    all shipped to me 2nd day air.

    What I Received 15 days later…

    xps 12 – with many glitches
    dell dock – 16 days later
    Portable drive – (I guess it works…didn’t even want it)
    Microsoft Home & Student???? (wrong software).
    Never have received the $80.00 gift card

    Spent over 3 hours with customer support, and they have no intentions of making things right…I was told it was my fault because I did not read the confirmation…(even though I did, but it does not show the software on it) … pretty hard to verify, if it is not on the confirmation….Anyway, I will never order another dell product as long as I live!!!

  5. Rob Says:

    When I purchased my Dell Inspiron 7720SE, I purchased all of Dell’s warranties but the Dell Tech Concierge service. This computer was plagued with problems and eventually replaced. Whenever I called for tech support, I was told that the problem was not covered by any of my warranties. The technicians seemed to be more interested in selling me the one warranty I didn’t have, the Concierge service, than they were in fixing my problem. The situation finally got so bad that they refused to do anything further until I purchased the Concierge service for $239.00. I was told that none of my warranties covered the problem. After purchasing this service, I was told that the problem would be solved by reinstalling the Windows OS and they sent me the OS disk. All of this was clearly covered by my Dell 3 year extended warranty and the Dell Premium support warranty as the operating system was installed by Dell. Between December 2012 through May, 2013, I spent literally days -more like a month or more, on the phone and with no solution. I purchased my computer through my employer’s contract with Dell. My employer is a campus within my state’s university system. The only way I got a solution to this never ending mess was to contact my employer’s Dell account manager. This individual bounced it up to Dell Corporate and I was contacted by someone in their corporate office in Texas. Eventually I received a replacement computer. My advice, don’t waste your money purchasing Dell’s Concierge service. Most of the time, their solution was to reinstall the Windows operating system, and they never solved any of my problems. In some cases they created new ones. I would suggest finding a trustworthy local computer technician that knows the hardware side of a computer and that is Microsoft certified and have them troubleshoot your computer. If your computer is still under warranty, let them deal with Dell about the repair. I believe in the long run you will save hours of frustration being bounced on the phone.

  6. de ster Says:

    Worst customer service ever.

  7. Chuck Says:

    Very bad customer service I’ve got!
    The tech (indian man) over the phone told me that I need to pay 300$ for the reparation fees on a factory mechanical problem…..CRAZY!!!

    This is the second time I’ve spoke with their customer service. RUDE and CARELESS OF THEIR CUSTOMERS.
    I DON’T BUY DELL ANYMORE, ANYMORE!!!!

  8. MAC Says:

    BOOO!!! BAD BAD BAD customer service. I spent two days on the phone with them, first time I was nice, waited an hour for the rep to fix everything. Said he would send System software. Three days later It was the wrong software, I called back and got hung up on twice, and transferred over to “Another” department more than 8 times. Boo Boo Boo Never will I buy another Dell!!!

  9. e walker Says:

    As an owner of NINE Dells, I can tell you that I will never buy another, and I will share with everyone how abominable their customer support has become. Don’t buy one new, don’t buy one used. If someone tries to give you one for free, insist on a better offer.

  10. Bill Roberts Says:

    Worst treatment I’ve ever received form a company, they actually hung up on me twice because I asked if I could speak to someone else (who could answer my question). Horrible phone tree trying to get to a real person. Finally got an answer on the chat, where they tried to force me to sign up for their e-mail service. I won’t even consider a dell product from now on.

  11. Aaron Swope Says:

    Dell Technical support isn’t good, but it’s not terrible. Customer Care on the other hand is absolutely terrible. This is my first and certainly my very last experience with Dell. I will never buy a computer from them again. I’ve been on a phone for 2 hours today just trying to get them to send me the Windows 7 downgrade installation media which I have rights to through Windows 8.1 Pro. We order nearly $10k worth of laptop for our company and a mistake was made that they came with Win 8 instead of 7. I cannot understand why it is so absolutely impossible to have the Windows 7 media shipped.

    It is now 45 minutes later than when I started writing this comment. I have since been passed around 5 times in technical support and eventually kicked back into the general que which is after hours now. Technical support is completely incompetent as well.

    Technical Support F-
    Customer Care F-

    Never buy a Dell again. Mud all over my face at work

  12. Steve Lee Says:

    I purchased the Concierge Service with my XPS8500, and I have found it to be very good. They were able to identify a recurring problem (my computer would shut down) as being due to a Citrix program; they reinstalled the program, and the problem went away. They repeatedly call me to ask me if I need any assistance — I usually don’t. They have spent hours with me on the phone (while connected to my computer) and have been very polite, never seem to be hurried or try to end the call prematurely. I don’t know about the other levels of care, but the Concierge service really works.

  13. Rahul Sudeep Says:

    Dell Technical Support is really bad and they give false deadlines. Their policy says – Let the CUSTOMER SUFFER we should be safe and follow the policy.

    Its been a month since I have paid the money for the repairs its still pending and the parts are in transit.

    They have cheated. Never going to buy a dell product or recommend anyone.

  14. Antoinette fava Says:

    Can u help I bought dell computers and it stared given me trouble befor the year wehn I when.t after a year hi asked for money bit I told hi this happen before sow I bin with out complete a month and it cost me 849.oo € sorry to tell u this but I thought I bought a good one pls this is my tel 21226768 or my mob 79310924 I from malta I hope I hear from you thank u antoinette fava

  15. Yaacov Says:

    What is the point of a SD card slot if you can’t use it to increase your internal memory or anything else???????????

  16. Stephen B. Cohen, Ph.D Says:

    I bought a Dell (Latitude-business) and was sent to HELL!
    1. Repair disk utility did not work. A pro, level 2 tech spent 3 hours, trespassed into my attached external backup drive and permanently wiped out over 200,000 backup files.
    2. Laptop replaced, same problem.
    3. Hard drive replaced, same problem.
    [I later learned that problem is with a Dell file that interferes with MS 7 utility. Dell hasn't bothered to fix problem.]
    4. Laptop went back to Dell HQ. Dell fixed problem, BUT
    a. Disabled sleep mode.
    b. Disabled wireless communications.
    c. Did not reinstall Del utilities that originally came with laptop.
    5. Contacted department that handles customer downloading of Dell utilities. It asked me for some info, which I provided. Then it did NOTHING. After I repeated request, it tried to pass-the-buck and I never could download the utilities that I paid for.
    6. Dell offered for me to return the laptop and to pay $300 for replacement backup drive. I accepted. Then it reneged on the latter.

  17. GRMike Says:

    Why aren’t you also doing reviews of actual support and service offerings like ProSupport?

  18. Ramesh Negi Says:

    Dear Dell,

    This is to inform you that I am facing a lot of glitch from your firm and it seems to be a case of forgery.
    The matter is I have purchased a Dell Xps laptop online from your site on 16thJune which was delivered to me on 17thJune 2014 .
    I started working on it from 18thJune and to my dismay it crashed on 19th June, when I contacted your service centre they informed me the process of laptop replace will take 14-15 days.
    So, I asked them to replace the crashed HDD instead on 23rd June and I was assured to get it by 24th June but you people didn’t show up and my request number.
    Eventually I called up today and again an excuse of 3-4 days left me in fury.

    After spending such a huge amount in your product the satisfaction is of ground level and my expectation are buried alive.

    **Do not purchase the dell its services is very poor……………..

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