|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|
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.
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.
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.
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.