Tech Support Showdown 2012

Toshiba

Toshiba Tech Support Results
Average Call Length 12 minutes
Phone Grade 2012 B-
Web Grade 2012 C-
Overall Grade 2012 C+
Overall Grade 2011 C+
Overall Grade 2010 B-

csd.toshiba.com
@ToshibaUS_Help
800-457-7777

Last year, Toshiba came in third-to-last with a C+. Although its online resources were extensive, we had to work to find answers. Plus, phone support reps answered one of our three questions incorrectly.

Aside from adding a new Twitter account, @ToshibaUS_Help, the company hasn’t done much to improve things. Borrowing an unfortunate page out of Apple’s book, Toshiba now offers 90 days of support, instead of one year. After that, help will cost you.

For this year’s test, we asked how to enable three-finger swiping on the touchpad, how to extend battery life and how to use Toshiba’s preloaded Face Recognition utility on the Portégé R835 notebook.

Web & Social Networking

Toshiba’s Product Support page is very well-organized. We found our specific model in three clicks. We were offered driver downloads, support bulletins, detailed specs, user’s guides, product tours and resource guides. We found helpful answers to our face recognition question, which referred us to the help file on our notebook.

We found no help in Forums, which was overwhelmingly filled with posts. Upon searching Extend under the generic Toshiba Batteries And Power section, we found several results.

When we used the Virtual Help Desk to ask “How do I extend my laptop’s battery life?,” we were given a list of eight options, but none of them told us how to extend our battery life. Toshiba doesn’t offer live chat support or email assistance.

We tweeted our three-finger swipe question to Toshiba and received a response within the hour asking us for more details. We went back and forth, but didn’t end up with a complete answer. After taking us to the Settings page that would allow us to enable three-finger flick if our notebook model had the capability, the customer service reps said that our model’s users’ guide “shows multitouch pinch to zoom but no reference to swiping.” Toshiba took us half of the way to our answer, but didn’t completely follow through.

We posted our face recognition question on Toshiba USA’s Facebook Timeline, but never received a response. The fact that the company’s Facebook page was littered with users’ unanswered questions and complaints about the company’s poor customer service didn’t inspire confidence.

Phone

On our first Toshiba support call a little before 11 a.m. EST, we navigated a robot phone tree, which asked for our serial number. The automated machine alerted us that because our notebook was purchased more than 90 days ago, we may be charged for customer service. Then John from the Philippines (where all Toshiba’s representatives we spoke to were located) answered. After asking him how to use Face Recognition, he briefly (but correctly) explained the utility’s purpose. When we asked him to walk us through the setup process, John said representatives don’t typically do that, but was happy to direct me to the online user’s manual. Our entire call lasted 13 minutes.

On a different day, we asked Electro how to extend our Portégé’s battery life. While he was very nice, he wasn’t helpful. During our 9-minute call, he explained that our notebook had a 300-cycle, which meant that for the first 300 charges it would charge to 100 percent. After that, it would only charge to 80 percent. However, he didn’t have any suggestions regarding steps to take to prolong endurance, even when we pressed him. He simply said there would soon be a software update that would help battery life.

On our last call in the early evening, we asked James how to enable three-finger swipe. After briefly putting us on hold, he guided us through the process correctly. We were up and running by the end of our 14-minute call.

Verdict

All in all, although our customer service reps were all friendly and delivered quick results, they didn’t always provide the depth of service we hoped for. For example, we wish John had guided us through the Face Recognition setup process. But talking to a representative was a bit better than attempting to fish for answers ourselves on Toshiba’s website.

After our experience with Toshiba’s Web and phone support, we came to the conclusion that the company hasn’t done much of anything to improve its grade from last year. Although the support site is very neatly organized, it only has the answers to basic user questions, such as how to use a common feature. Harder-to-define questions were unavailable and too hard to search for on Toshiba’s forums. The company’s Facebook presence is pretty much a joke. If Toshiba wants to improve its tech support, it has a lot to work on.



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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