Tech Support Showdown 2012

Sony

Acer Tech Support Results
Average Call Length 16 minutes
Phone Grade 2012 A-
Web Grade 2012 A
Overall Grade 2012 A
Overall Grade 2011 B+
Overall Grade 2010 B

esupport.sony.com
@SonySupportUSA
888-476-6972
239-768-7669

Last year, Sony’s friendly phone representatives, excellent support site and quick turnaround times netted the company pretty high marks. It was only Sony’s near-complete lack of social media presence, however, that held it back, earning the company a solid B+. This year, the company aimed for, and achieved, gold.

Sony made a number of customer service improvements, including the creation of a dedicated social media team, an updated site design and an improved VAIO user forum.

For our testing, we used a Sony VAIO S Series 13-inch and asked about enabling webcam gesture controls, as well as more generic questions about our notebook’s touchpad and battery life.

Web & Social Networking

Sony’s support homepage is fairly well-designed. It contains info on everything from computers to car tech. In the middle of the page on the left side is a box where you can input your model number. At the bottom right of the page is a tiny box labeled Get Help, which features links for Support Forum, Chat Now, E-mail Us and Contact Us.

To get to the right product page for your specific system, you need to know your full product name and model; in our case, Sony VAIO S Series 13 (SVS13112FXW). Simply typing Sony VAIO S Series 13 doesn’t bring anything up except an error message.

Product pages are excellently designed, with a neat row of category tabs with lists of frequently asked questions and top solutions, as well as a search box that asks, “What are you looking for?” While we couldn’t immediately find a more comprehensive FAQ, the search box proved very helpful; it took us one or two tries to find solutions to all of our questions.

Clicking on the link labeled Contact Support takes you to a page listing the various methods of contacting Sony Technical Support, including online chats, email, phone and a support forum.

When we started a live chat session, Courtney came online within seconds. She proved immensely helpful in our attempts to get VAIO Gesture Control working, giving us step-by-step instructions on how to enable the feature as well as links to the necessary drivers.

Sony’s Twitter support proved equally helpful — unlike last year. When we tweeted @SonySupportUSA this year, we received a helpful and quick response within 15 minutes that included links to detailed solutions, such as a guide on how to enable three-finger swiping on the touchpad.

Sony finally added Facebook support this year. When we wrote on Sony’s wall asking how to extend our VAIO’s battery life, we received a friendly answer within 50 minutes that pointed us to a how-to guide on Sony’s support website.

Phone

Thankfully, Sony’s phone support is just as good this year. You can either call the toll-free number or the Priority Access number, which was faster for us. After navigating a short welcome menu, we were connected with a real person within 2 minutes. We found Sony’s staff uniformly friendly and helpful; they only asked for our VAIO’s model number, name and phone number.

When we made our first call at 10:30 a.m. EST, we asked Dexter in the Philippines how to enable the webcam gesture control on our VAIO. Dexter was very knowledgeable and patient, walking us through the process step by step. He successfully solved our problem in less than 10 minutes.

On our next call with Luis in the Philippines at 2 p.m., we asked about three-finger swiping. He first had us search for the touchpad using the Start menu. When that failed, he told us to open the Control Panel and click on the mouse icon. However, we weren’t seeing a Touchpad Settings tab as he suggested.

Although multitouch gestures can be enabled under the tab for Device Settings, Luis advised us to reinstall the touchpad driver. When we still weren’t able to find the tab for Touchpad Settings, Luis remotely accessed our system to turn it on himself. The call lasted 15 minutes.

We made our last call at 4:15 p.m. and spoke with Luis again. This time we asked him how to extend the life of our battery, and Luis offered a number of helpful suggestions such as charging the battery only to 80 percent, experimenting with the various power options and battery plans in Windows, lowering the brightness of the screen and using fewer programs simultaneously.

Verdict

One of our chief complaints last year was Sony’s failure to leverage social media to address customer issues, and the company has certainly improved both its Facebook and Twitter presences in 2012 — we were impressed with the speed and quality of the answers we received. Thanks to these improvements, and because Sony’s phone and chat representatives proved consistently friendly and helpful, we’re happy to increase the company’s grade to a solid A.



Tech Support Showdown 2012

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  1. Not Phil Says:

    Dell service stinks. They also don’t stand behind their equipment. I’ve had nothing but problems with Dell and will never purchase another.

  2. don Says:

    then if the sony is the top 1 at tech support..

    what is the brand that is best for gamings..

    i mean which brand is best for gamings..

    including the price the kind of specs the kind of products.

    which is the best brand of laptop that is good for gaming..

    mostly and surely about durability and performance through out the year.

  3. Al Says:

    “Acer Tech Report Results” is shown as the title on the Sony page.

  4. Karen Says:

    I have to agree with Not Phil – I’ve never in my life encountered such appalling “service” as I just did from Dell! Will never buy from them again (not that they care).

  5. graham (australia) Says:

    ive got a couple of asus notebooks and also a netbook, over the yrs ive had a couple of minor warranty issues and asus support has been brilliant, the asus techs seem enthusiastic about there products and are more then happy to take the time to show u little things or answer questions,

  6. Cappy Says:

    I’m with Karen and notphil…….. Dell is terrible. Half the time they give you the wrong information and if you have continuing problems… too bad.

    I say this as a person who has purchased 4 computers from them in the past, and will not in future.

  7. a person Says:

    the thing about dell is their consumer products suck they have for a long time and they probably always will. That said buy the same computer relabled vostro, pay the extra for pro support and your phone wait time is 2 minutes max and they’ll have a US based technician solving any problem have and they’ll drop off the part you need within 4 hours. but if you expect to pay $400 for a laptop that costs $375 to build ship and market. you’ll get crap support.

  8. Steve Says:

    I’ve had had Dell XPS’s since 2004. That came with a dedicated phone line only for the XPS line, it was India sometimes but not all. The support was decent.
    Prior to that I had Dell Dimension’s 8400 and their tech support was as good as dealing with monkeys.

    Recently I bought a Lenovo Desktop. Tech support is located in the U.S. for my model and I just read yesterday that all tech support is coming back to the states. I also bought a 5 yr. Priority Service upgrade so I am good till 2018 if I still even have this them?
    Having U.S. support is one of the reasons I bought this system. I liked another one a bit more, same price.. more of a gaming system with support in India and no Priority Support like I do here in the states. I do get next day service with this one too and they will only warranty it for 3 yrs max, (what’s that tell you?)

    I am still within the time frame of returning this system exchanging it for the other and dealing with India.

    Also, Lenovo does not use refurbished parts when repairing your computer, completely new parts are always used.

  9. Dom Says:

    Let me just say that I will NEVER EVER buy a DELL product again! I just had the worst experience with tech support. I have had continuing problems and they said pretty much what I have already heard on here…too bad. I told them that you all just lost another Dell customer and it didn’t really phase them too much. I was supposed to get a new laptop from all the problems I had with this one and they told me “it won’t get approved from all the departments here and plus we need more information.” Really?? Like you don’t have a ton already with all the problems I’ve had??

  10. sam Says:

    Let me just say that I will NEVER EVER buy a DELL product again! I just had the worst experience with tech support. I have had continuing problems and they said pretty much what I have already heard on here…too bad. I told them that you all just lost another Dell customer and it didn’t really phase them too much. I was supposed to get a new laptop from all the problems I had with this one and they told me “it won’t get approved from all the departments here and plus we need more information.” Really?? Like you don’t have a ton already with all the problems I’ve had??
    and then i took help from axes pc care they are the genuine people their number is 1-877-509-8360

  11. JDE Says:

    I’m stunned to see Sony get first place in tech support. That doesn’t reflect my experience at all, and I’ve been on the phone with them as recently as a few months ago. I think they’re no better than any other manufacturer, and they’re all terrible.

    I also think that Apple’s tech support, while probably better than everyone else’s, is overrated. I’ve had at least two negative experiences with them over the past couple of years, one of them requiring intervention on the part of a supervisor who was embarrassed by the ignorance and unprofessionalism of his subordinate.

  12. She Says:

    When will Laptop Magazine release the showdown results for 2013?

  13. Anna Attkisson, LAPTOP Managing Editor Says:

    We are putting the finishing touches on this story now. It will be coming in the next couple weeks. Stay tuned!

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