Home' LAPTOP Magazine : August 2011 Contents Laptop | august 2011
2011 Tech SupporT
C-, B-, A-.
Are you noticing a trend? We are. Over
the past three years, Dell has steadily improved its
tech support, rolling out new interactive tools and
following up with customers to make sure they received
satisfactory service. A nd the effort has definitely paid off
with a second-place finish.
Web & Social Networking
Dell.com provides an almost overwhelming array of support
options. After clicking the tech support link and choosing
Home Users, we were presented with a ton of links to different
support resources, from driver downloads and manuals to
Windows 7 tutorials. Unfortunately, we didn’t find answers
to our specific questions (enabling multitouch gestures, set-
ting up a kid-friendly Windows account, and disabling Dell
Stage) in any of the online documents.
Dell’s Interactive Support Agent is a wizard that allows
you to ask natural-language questions and then helps you
find the answers on Dell’s site. When we entered “I want to
remove the Dell bar from our screen” in an attempt to turn
off the Dell stage application, we had to check off a couple of
options before we were presented with the option “You need
help with the Dell Stage,” which gave us a list of articles.
We were more successful getting online help by using
Dell’s live-chat feature. When we asked about closing “this
big Dell bar at the bottom of my screen,” A mit immediately
figured out that we were talking about the Dell Stage. After
we installed Dell’s remote-access software, he took over our
desktop and quickly changed our settings to stop Dell Stage
from launching at boot-up. This took about 8 minutes total.
Dell is also highly responsive via social media. Only 18
minutes after we tweeted a
question about how to close
the Dell Stage to @DellCares,
we got a message back with
the correct instructions.
When we filled out Dell’s
support form on Facebook,
the response was swift but not
as helpful. We got a message
back in 40 minutes asking us
if we wanted to close the Dell
Dock (not the Stage) and at-
taching a screenshot to show
us what the Dock looked like.
We wrote back to say that the
Dock was not what we wanted,
and more than 16 hours later
a rep asked us to provide a
Dell’s telephone support is truly excellent; just be prepared
to give out a lot of information before you can get service. In
order to get help with our problems, we needed to provide
a valid service tag, our name, phone number, address, and
the date and place where the notebook was purchased.
During a support call made in the early afternoon, Bita (in
India, like all the representatives we encountered) helped
us create a separate Windows account by taking over our
desktop. She went through the various Windows 7 menus to
create the new account and restrict its login access, explain-
ing what she was doing while she worked. Our call took 29
Shirkhan assisted us in the late afternoon with disabling
Dell Stage. He talked us through the process of removing our
Stage bar and waited while we rebooted and made sure that
the bar was no longer there. The call took only 9 minutes,
but after we were finished, Shirkhan insisted we talk to his
manager, who asked us if the ser vice we’d received was good
enough and whether we could understand his accent.
On our evening call with San, it took nearly 25 minutes
and several reboots to figure out that our Inspiron 15’s touch-
pad simply wasn’t capable of supporting certain multitouch
gestures. However, San did show us how to use the Dell
Touchpad software to enable single-finger edge scrolling,
and he gave us a direct number to call back should we need
help with the same issue in the future.
Dell has really upped its tech support game. The company
deserves high marks for its strong combination of helpful
web support, social networking responsiveness, and good
old-fashioned phone service. Whether we asked about
touchpad gestures, setting up a kids’ account, or how to dis-
able the Dell Stage navigation bar, support reps’ responses
were friendly and almost always accurate. The company’s
A- grade is well deserved.
The Interactive Support Agent on Dell’s site wasn’t as
helpful as the company’s live chat.
< 1 minute
mAxImum: 5 minutes
CAll leNgTh: 22 minutes
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