Since last year’s Tech Support Showdown, Samsung has implemented a number of changes designed to improve its tech support, which earned the brand an A- in 2012. Samsung has focused on improving its online support, and has hired a dedicated team to update support content based on customer feedback.
There’s also the free, Android-exclusive Samsung Cares mobile app that lets users track product repairs, watch how-to videos, check warranties and find nearby stores. Last but not least, the company has also rolled out its free Remote Support for PCs program, through which Samsung technicians can access and repair PCs in real time.
For this year’s testing, we used a Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus in conjunction with a Galaxy S4 Active and asked about Samsung’s SideSync software. We also made more generic inquiries about creating multiple user accounts and how to pair a set of Bluetooth speakers to the notebook.
Samsung reports that 94 percent of its tech support requests are made online, which explains the company’s impressive contact methods. When we visited the Samsung Support website, we saw links for Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and email. The company also offers several Live Chats broken out into categories, including Television, Computers, General Chat and Mobile Phones. The site also features a section for Product Support Videos.
For a more targeted search, users can enter their PC’s model number to be directed to a page with FAQs & How-Tos, Support Overviews and Community Q&A. The How-Tos were particularly helpful and FAQs are fairly expansive. We easily found instructions for setting up Bluetooth speakers. SideSync had a number of guides dedicated to setup and usage. Unfortunately, we couldn’t locate any material on how to set up multiple user accounts.
Samsung’s Live Chat could use some fine-tuning. We attempted to use the service to help us set up Samsung’s SideSync app on our phone and PC. We started the chat with Melina A., who, after conducting a little research, sent us a link to a SideSync manual. However, she could not solve our connection problem. After a quick apology she transferred us to Pamela, who was more knowledgeable.
Pamela asked if we had downloaded the app on our phone. She also made sure to ask if both devices were on the same network. However, she failed to ask if we had installed the Plugin:SEC v2.0 app on our GS4 Active, an app necessary to run SideSync. After several unsuccessful syncing attempts, Pamela conceded defeat and told us she had exhausted all her knowledge. She then suggested we uninstall/reinstall the software.
Requests sent to the @SamsungSupport Twitter page were acknowledged within 4 minutes. Facebook queries were slightly faster, at 2 to 3 minutes. There were a few instances where we missed Samsung’s response, but the reps were good about getting us our answers — even if hours had passed between our last communication.
Samsung’s Twitter rep sent us a link to the SideSync manual, while the Facebook account sent us instructions on setting up our Bluetooth speakers.
The company has also created the free Samsung Cares app for customers that aren’t near a PC. While not as robust as the Samsung Support site, the Android app offers a large collection of how-to videos for mobile, laptops, television, media players and camcorders.
Samsung maintains call centers in South Carolina and the Philippines, as well as one in the Dominican Republic exclusively for Spanish speakers. Our first call took place at 1:30 p.m. EST with Jim in the South Carolina center. When we asked for assistance in setting up our Bluetooth speakers, he accurately walked us through the process. We appreciated his knowledge, politeness and speed, as the call lasted less than 10 minutes.
We called Smita in the Philippines at 9 p.m. for help setting up multiple accounts. Similar to James, Smita was very polite. Once we explained the problem, she asked for 2 to 3 minutes to conduct some research, but was back on the line in about a minute.
Smita began walking us through the setup when the call got disconnected. Within 30 seconds, she had called us back, ready to finish getting the other accounts created. Smita explained that for the other users to have optimal security, they should set up their own accounts and passwords. However, they could also access the PC using a guest user account that wouldn’t require setting up an account. The total call, disconnect included, took approximately 12 minutes.
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On our final call, we spoke to Cherry in the Philippines at 11:30 a.m. about setting up SideSync, an app that’s designed to enable screen and data sharing between a Samsung Android phone and a PC. She first advised us to restart the notebook and our Galaxy Activ smartphone. From there, the Samsung rep asked if we tried using the USB cable. Once we explained that we wanted to use the app over Wi-Fi, she placed us on hold for about 2 minutes to check if it was possible.
When Cherry got back on the call, she told us she would have to consult with her managers further. She then admitted that this was her first question about SideSync. The Samsung rep confirmed our phone number and set up a time to call us back with an answer to our question. We never heard back after several days.
We had a similar experience testing out the Remote Support for PC feature. We spoke with another phone rep who informed us that there were no available technicians. After confirming our phone number, the rep promised to call back and connect us to the first available technician. However, we never received a call back.
Samsung offers myriad ways for consumers to obtain tech support in a relatively fast and painless manner. The company’s support site continues to impress, with easy-to-access, in-depth information. We also appreciated the company’s speedy Twitter and Facebook-based support. The Samsung Care mobile app for Android devices is yet another nice option to have in a consumer’s arsenal.
Even though they didn’t answer every question correctly, Samsung’s phone support reps proved friendly and patient. What prevents this brand from earning a higher grade is the company’s struggles with troubleshooting its own SideSync software. Overall, Samsung offers very good support, but the company needs to improve the training of its representatives.