Tech Support Showdown 2012
How We Tested
Our goal was not to stump tech support, but to simply gauge the experience an average user might have during a routine tech support call. To test the knowledge, responsiveness and approachability of these nine companies’ tech support phone service, we asked three questions at three separate times.
We asked for tips on how to extend our laptop’s battery life and how to enable three-finger swiping on the touchpad. For Acer, whose test machine didn’t feature three-finger swipe (as all other brands did), we asked about four-finger swiping.
Our third question was tailored to each brand and the services or software that company offers. For instance, for the HP system we asked about optimizing sound for watching a movie by using Beats Audio. The speed, accuracy and friendliness of the representatives play into this half of a company’s tech support grade.
Because these days most people prefer to avoid the phone, we also explored each company’s website. Was it easy to navigate and well designed? Could we find answers to our questions? Did the company offer live chat and/or email assistance? And if so, could those services get us to answers? All these factors came into play when assigning a company’s Web grade.
As part of the online assessment, we also examined each notebook-maker’s social presence and responsiveness. While neither Facebook nor Twitter are part of a company’s warranty coverage, the average consumer is starting to expect some level of attention through these channels.