PC manufacturer in comparison: Who provides the best support?

Nearly 90% of German households now have at least one computer, and the trend is rising. If there are problems with the devices, the manufacturer is often the first port of call. We have therefore created an overview of the support at Lenovo, HP, Dell, Asus, Acer and Apple and tested the respective service hotlines ourselves. Here you can read which manufacturers perform particularly well and which support is disappointing.

The best thing they offer are live chats (see http://websitetooltest.com/live-chat-software/ for the global player on the market), this helps to solve problems the fastest.

First stop: manufacturer homepage

  • Most manufacturers have a kind of support guide or user forums on their homepage, with the help of which typical problems can be solved independently.
  • I don’t want to. However, if the online research does not lead to any results, it is essential to reach for the telephone receiver. Since the offers of the manufacturers on their homepages are often not visible at first glance, the table below provides an overview of the various services.

Business or private customer? – Lenovo Support

With a market share of almost 20%, Lenovo is the leader in the PC industry. However, this doesn’t seem to be due to a sophisticated customer service, says Thorsten Riedl in his article in the Süddeutsche Zeitung. He has a support odyssey behind him after unfortunately swapping delivery and billing addresses. An error in the system, as it is called. Whether he got his computer in the meantime – we hope so for him! In general, there seems to be a big difference in Lenovo support between business (or in Lenovosprech Think) and private customers: The former seem generally more satisfied with the service. The reason why Lenovo had to lose its once good ratings is probably the high number of failed repair attempts – this is where Lenovo comes off worst in the big c’t comparison to other manufacturers and their supports. In addition, the vendor scores poorly in hotline and repair ratings. Only as far as the duration of the repair is concerned can Lenovo fight its way into midfield with an average of 7.3 days. In terms of sales, Lenovo is far ahead, apparently saving on customer support, according to the c’t test.

Up and down in HP support

Also the manufacturer HP ranks on the sales market quite far in front, prefers apparently however – similarly as Lenovo – business customers. In the c’t survey, HP’s support scarcely scores better than Lenovo’s: only 53% of those surveyed were satisfied with the repair, while only 43% were satisfied with the hotline with advice. With an average of 6.1 days needed for repair, HP is above average, but needs more than one try. HP’s service development has fluctuated greatly over the years. While the manufacturer was able to improve by almost 1.5 grade points in 2012, the result almost fell back to the previous value two years later.

Dell Support – Heaven or Hell?

At Dell, the spirits are divided: While the German Society for Consumer Studies puts the manufacturer in last place in its test, c’t puts its support at the top of the test. In this survey, Dell is by far the most satisfied in the service hotline and repair categories. Also in terms of repair time, Dell ranks at the top with only 2.4 days processing time, but this is mainly due to the fact that most Dell customers use an on-site service instead of sending in their defective device. In addition, Dell offers a three-year warranty on many products, up to five for an additional charge – which is good news for customers. According to Stiftung Warentest, some services have to be paid for in advance, but are cheaper on average.
Services from Asus and Acer share the midfield

In the rankings for repair and hotline, Acer Support is in the absolute midfield in both cases, while Asus‘ service is slightly below average. However, only around 30% of customers are completely dissatisfied with the service. In terms of repair time, the situation is even worse for both manufacturers: Acer needs an average of 8.8 days, Asus even ten full days to repair a defect. However, they don’t need as many attempts as other manufacturers: In 86% of the cases the repair at Asus Support works the first time, at Acer’s repair service it even works 94%. The results of the DtGV study are somewhat different: both providers are distinguished by particularly good telephone support, whereby the quality of the Internet presence is also weighted here.Apple

Support leads the way in service comparison

In addition to a descriptive website, Apple also has very good rankings in the c’t survey: In the repair and hotline rankings, the manufacturer is in second place. Many Apple customers turn directly to an Apple Store if they have problems, where they can get help promptly at the so-called Genius Bar. In 9% of cases, customers there even received a new notebook directly. Stiftung Warentest has shown that Apple is very fast when it comes to repairs: some of them can be guaranteed on the same day. Moreover, in 96% of cases Apple only needs one try – and is thus ahead of all other manufacturers. If there is no Apple store nearby, Apple will refer you to other authorized repairers if necessary. However, Apple only guarantees free telephone support for 90 days after purchase and only one year warranty.

It is therefore recommended that you take out the AppleCare Protection Plan. This includes up to three years of phone and software support and additional hardware service options. The costs vary depending on the product: For the iPhone, for example, the AppleCare Protection Plan costs €69 one-time, for the MacBook Pro €349.

Dell support fails

In order to better evaluate the previous results, we conducted a small-scale support test ourselves – and were surprised. And that in PC line from the absolutely friendly and courteous employees of the service hotlines. The Lenovo, HP, Asus and Acer support staff listened patiently to the test problem and then explained in great detail how they would handle it. Specifically, we told the hotlines that we had received a call from a supposed Microsoft employee trying to remove a virus from our PC. In fact, this is a fraud scam that is once again claiming many victims at the moment: The fraudsters gain access to the computers of the unsuspecting victims and spy out personal data there. In the event of damage caused by a hacker attack of the same kind, all four hotline employees would reset the PC to its default state and correctly recommended disconnecting the Internet connection so that no further sensitive data would be transmitted to the fraudsters. Obviously, the support staff not only serve as a sales team for paid support services, but also inform and help as much as they can. Resetting the computer is an effective but also radical method because all data and settings that have not been backed up are lost.

Inexperienced users who may not have set up their computer themselves will probably not be able to find their way around after such a step. The alternative of a professional virus removal without potential data loss was not offered.

The cliché of the unfriendly or bored call center employee has not been confirmed in a single case. At no time did we have the feeling that we were being forced into offering an additional chargeable service – on the contrary: Acer has a chargeable premium support service to help in such cases. But we were not referred to it, but advised in detail under the free telephone number. Whether the Premium Support would have offered a more differentiated solution, we could not determine unfortunately. The Apple employee could not help us with our fictitious Outlook problem and referred us back to Microsoft. In general, however, all employees provided information in a polite manner and in a way that was comprehensible to the customer in terms of procedure and costs. However, in all cases it remained with the information: Although every manufacturer offers different possibilities for customers to get their devices up and running again (see overview table), we were not further informed about these offers.

The Dell support had to be left out of this test. The search for the right support was too complicated and not very user-friendly: the computer-navigated service hotline required an express code that we had read and entered for three different Dell products – not a single code was accepted.

Conclusion: first the warranty, then the service provider

In general, only the manufacturer is entitled to a guarantee and warranties. Once these have expired, however, independent garages often repair the defect more cheaply and professionally than the manufacturers themselves and record a similar satisfaction rate. Our recommendation: It is best to use the free offer of the respective manufacturer as long as possible.