|Acer Tech Support Results
|Average Call Length||14 minutes and 41 second|
|Phone Grade 2012||C|
|Web Grade 2012||B|
|Overall Grade 2012||B-|
|Overall Grade 2011||C+|
|Overall Grade 2010||D+|
Last year, Acer finished sixth out of eight, due in large part to inaccurate answers and a propensity to push the company’s paid support service, Answers by Acer. This year, Acer rolled out new teams. The Customer Insights Group actively monitors the retailer site’s comments sections to answer user questions directly. The higher-level Customer Experience Team uses analytics tools to scour users’ emails and chats to solve the most common customer complaints.
For our testing we asked how to set up AcerCloud software on an Aspire S5 Ultrabook, in addition to our standard battery life and multi-touch gesture questions. Unlike the rest of our test systems, the S5 doesn’t support three-finger scrolling, so we asked how to enable four-finger swiping. Note: We’ve rolled Gateway — owned by Acer — into this section.
Acer’s support Web page lets you search for your specific system, ask a question via email, chat online or contact Acer’s free phone support. You also can access Answers by Acer, a fee-based support service. Customers can access how-to’s on software programs this way, but a single 15- to 20-minute session will cost you $19.99.
The Top Answers section of the S5 support page offered 14 pages of easy-to-understand answers, including help on improving our system’s battery life. But we couldn’t find anything about enabling four-finger swiping. Acer’s site also features a dedicated section on AcerCloud with straightforward directions. Finding that information, however, took us nine clicks.
We received an email response from Acer in about 4 hours. Unfortunately, Sathish couldn’t answer our AcerCloud question, because our warranty precluded such assistance. Instead she told us self-help articles could be found online, and she suggested we sign up for Answers by Acer. Our Web chat experience didn’t go much better. We were incorrectly told our S5 didn’t support four-finger swiping.
Acer’s Facebook page offers a host of frequently asked questions and answers. Clicking one took us to an appropriate Facebook post explaining how to fix our problems. After we tweeted our battery life question to @AcerAmerica, we received a helpful reply within an hour.
We called Acer’s tech support at 4 p.m. EST and spoke to Philip after a 2-minute wait. He asked us for our full name, phone number and email address, which he needed to create a case file before we could ask about setting up AcerCloud. During subsequent calls, each support technician continued to ask for our information, but did not reference this case file.
At first, Philip, who was slightly hard to understand due to his thick Indian accent, told us that Acer doesn’t provide how-to’s for users. However, after a 4-minute wait while he looked up information, he told us how to set up the software anyway. Our call lasted 11 minutes and 14 seconds.
During our second call, at 11:30 a.m., with Janet, who was significantly easier to understand, we asked how to improve our S5’s battery life. Janet put us on hold for 3 minutes to gather information. She said a few hours of life would be considered good endurance for our three-cell battery. During our review, however, we got 5 hours and 26 minutes of battery life. Janet then offered a few tips, including not multitasking while running on the laptop’s battery and completely discharging the battery before recharging it. It would have been better if she told us to adjust our display brightness and turn off the Wi-Fi radio when not using it. Our call lasted 5 minutes.
We made our final call to Acer at 2 p.m. After 2 minutes on hold, we asked Farajeed how to enable four-finger swiping. Following about 12 more minutes on hold, Farajeed escalated our call. Shane, who had a slight Southern accent, put us on hold for another 3 minutes before walking us through the process for switching on multi-gesture swiping on a Synaptics touchpad. When we informed Shane that our system came with an Elan touchpad, she told us to check Elan’s website for driver updates for the touchpad. She then incorrectly told us that the touchpad probably didn’t support four-finger swiping. In the end, our call lasted 27 minutes.
On the whole, Acer’s technical support was helpful, but not without its flaws. The company has made huge strides in improving its social media responsiveness on Facebook and Twitter.
Both email and Web chat support personnel were quick and accurate as well. Phone support specialists were also generally responsive, but couldn’t answer our touchpad queries and offered little advice on improving the laptop’s battery performance. If Acer can improve its representatives’ knowledge base, the company will find itself closer to the top of our tech support rankings.