Tech Support Showdown 2012

HP

HP Tech Support Results
Average Call Length 26 minutes
Phone Grade 2012 B+
Web Grade 2012 B-
Overall Grade 2012 B
Overall Grade 2011 B
Overall Grade 2010 B+

hp.com/us/en/support-drivers.html
@HPSupport
800-474-6836 (consumer);
800-334-5144 (business)

HP has worked to improve the company’s support since last year, adding a mobile version of its support website, ramping up phone and social support and building a YouTube presence, with more than 1,725 videos in 19 languages.

Our HP-specific question was about optimizing the Envy 6’s Beats Audio for movie playback, in addition to our questions about improving battery life and enabling three-finger swipes on the touchpad.

Web & Social Networking

There are three main categories for online support: Drives and Software; Product Support and Troubleshooting; and Support Communities. When we entered Envy 6 into the Product Support and Troubleshooting section, 10 Envy Sleekbook 6 models appeared as possible options.

When we found the model-specific page, it displayed a plethora of information, including links to manuals, how-to guides, software and driver downloads and getting started guides. We easily found information related to the trackpad and battery in the Solve A Problem section, but we never found any information about the best audio settings for movies.

We asked HP’s live chat support about optimizing audio playback for movies. In less than a minute, Aditya confirmed our device information and put us on hold for 6 minutes. When he returned, he asked us to open the Beats Audio software and sent us a link to Beats Audio Control Panel information. The images in the manual were different than our control panel, but Aditya correctly recommended we use either the voice- or music-optimized preset settings to adjust as needed for each movie. We chatted for a whopping 45 minutes.

We submitted our three-finger touchpad question to HP via email and received a helpful response a few hours later with a link to a document explaining three-finger swiping.

HP has many Twitter accounts. You want @HPSupport, which is run by a team of four “social media experts” instead of the single “social media ambassador” from last year. We received a response 4.5 hours later that linked us to the relevant page number in the manual.

There is a single Facebook page for HP, a big improvement over the pages of last year. Users can submit questions to the Support Forum directly through the Facebook page. We asked about enabling three-finger swiping, and received a helpful response — 33 hours later.

Phone

HP has two Tech Support numbers, one for Home & Home Office and one for Business use. Our late-night phone call was answered by Sherif after a 2 minute and 30 second wait. We gave our serial number and asked about enabling three-finger swiping. After a few minutes on hold, Desmond from the HP Concierge Support answered our call. He explained how to open the Synaptics Clickpad app, where there was a full explanation of all the multifinger gestures. In total, the call took 14 minutes.

Tom answered our 11 a.m. EST call from somewhere in the central United States after 5.5 minutes on hold. He collected our product and serial numbers before asking us about our issue. We asked for advice on extending our battery’s endurance, and were given a thorough explanation of battery-life killers, reviewing screen brightness, keyboard backlighting, Wi-Fi and USB peripherals. Tom then walked us through the HP Support Assistant application, where we were encouraged to perform a BIOS update.

Tom then explained extended warranty options and pricing, but didn’t pressure us when we said we weren’t interested at the moment. The phone call lasted a lengthy 40 minutes. We subsequently received two follow-up emails. The second email arrived 3 hours later, which included clarification about the Envy’s battery warranty coverage.

Our last call to HP support was at 2 p.m., and Robert answered our call within 4 minutes. We asked about optimizing audio for movie playback. After taking our product and serial number, we were placed on a 5-minute hold. When he returned, Robert delivered detailed instructions, allowing us to select preset settings for audio playback, including music, voice and 3D movies. The call lasted 25 minutes.

Verdict

HP has definitely expanded its customer service, boosting the company’s presence on channels such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

The education surrounding the customer experience shows HP’s dedication not just to helping customers solve problems, but preventing them from occurring in the first place. Many customers, however, rely on the call centers for issue resolution, and we always got our questions answered.

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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