At our annual Technical Support Exhibition, Mag Laptop Tests will provide online and telephone support to all major computer manufacturers. While some companies offer much better customer service than others, a correct and timely response is never guaranteed.
In our experience, dealing with support agents in most companies is childish. While many live or phone chat representatives were helpful, almost half the time we got partial or incorrect answers to our questions. Finding a solution to your technology problem on a manufacturer’s website is always a good first step, but in many business sites we’ve visited we haven’t been able to find the answers we needed in official documentation or frequently asked questions.
So how do you get the best technical support possible without spending forever on your phone? We have some tips to help you get the most out of an often difficult situation.
Make sure your computer is still under warranty.
This is not really a tip, but it is a requirement. Most manufacturers will not provide live chat or telephone support if your computer is not guaranteed. In the case of Apple, you only get 90 days of phone support, unless you pay more. If your computer is not guaranteed, you can take advantage of web resources.
1. Identify the problem class.
Before you start searching for answers, you need to know how different your problem is, so that you know where to look. Here’s how to find out.
An operating system issue – Are you having trouble with features that are clearly part of Windows, macOS, or Chrome OS? If you’ve lost your taskbar, can’t get Cortana to respond, or are wondering how to set up parental controls, it’s definitely an operating system issue. Apple does a good job of answering questions about macOS, but many PC vendors are unfamiliar or eager to answer questions about Windows. Your first stop for these problems should be a web resource, such as Microsoft.com or our own library of Laptop Mag Windows 10 tips and tutorials.
A hardware issue – If some parts of the physical laptop don’t work properly, for example your screen has dead pixels, your computer won’t work, or one of the USB ports isn’t working, that’s an issue in hardware. Your laptop supplier should be the first and foremost one you can get help from.
A software problem: Most manufacturers preload at least some of their own applications on their laptops. If you’re having trouble with the vendor app that helps you control the keyboard backlight or the audio app that has your equalizer, for example, those are the questions you need to bring to the vendor.
A major stability issue: If your laptop never boots or crashes frequently, the problem could be with the hardware, operating system, or software. If there is a system backup, you can restore it or don’t keep in mind to reset your computer, you can try these methods. Otherwise, you should seek immediate help.
2. Use the first web application on your phone.
Unless you have a serious accident or are unaware that your hardware is disabled, you should start looking for help on the Developer Support website (or on the Windows site, if there is a Windows problem). You are likely to get the correct answer to your question by calling for your help.
3. Get online.
If you do not find the answer by consulting the results website, go to the company support conference, if any. Please note that another employee has asked your question again and another employee or supervisor has already submitted a response.
Use the search function to see if anyone else has the same problem. Also, try navigating through a specific section of your specific model or laptop (e.g., Lenovo Yoga or Dell Inspiron). If you do not find the required string, add yours.
Unfortunately, not all laptop vendors hold staff meetings. You may need to search for other sites that have a support thread on your network on a regular basis. Our Ms. Tom’s Guide website also hosts a laptop support conference, where you can submit a question or search for answers.
4. Criticize phone answers that do not solve the problem.
In our experience, when we talk to a technical support professional, we may get the wrong information. In 39 phone calls and web conversations, we received an incorrect answer 28% of the time, as well as 16% of incorrect interactions.
If you believe you have received a negative response from an employee, call back or start a new conversation. You can get someone smarter.
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The answer may be wrong if it does not solve your problem. Most of the time we get the wrong answer, it’s because our followers told us that our laptop can’t do what it can actually do.
For example, a Lenovo representative told us that you can’t delete a password immediately if you see when your computer wakes up in Windows 10 Home. Users of most of the laptops we tested did not know the original software. An MSI user stated that there was no way to configure the laptop speed when the MSI Dragon Gaming Center application was installed. A Dell user said that the XPS 13 does not present a way to improve sound processing, when it comes to the company’s Waves MaxxAudio program.
5. Ask if change is needed.
Be wary of users who want to make any unrelated and unnecessary changes to your settings during the support period. If you’re not sure why a union representative wants to reorganize or make an upgrade, ask if it’s necessary.
For example, when we asked Microsoft about removing passwords and scripts, the agent called us on the 45th Odyssey where he did many unrelated things, such as enabling BitLocker encryption for our drives and changing the which made the power button.
Lenovo’s agent, answering the same question, performed a BIOS update. Although it is always wise to get the latest patches, if your computer somehow loses power during a BIOS update, you can lock your device, so you should know if it fits that risk.
MORE: How to Start Windows Hello Fingerprint Login
6. Update native drivers and software.
If you are having problems with a particular part of Windows computer, make sure you have the latest driver for it. For example, if you have voice problems, your touch object is heavy, or there is a problem with image performance, a recent driver can solve your problem.
Although Windows 10 automatically downloads new device drivers, it does not have the latest versions. If your laptop comes pre-loaded with vendor support software, like Lenovo Support software, you can use it to check for new drivers.
7. Write the serial number.
Whether you are calling for help, engaging in live chat, or even searching for information on a company website, you will probably be asked several times for the serial number of your laptop. In some phones, you will be transferred several times and each agent will ask you for your serial number. This is because they are usually not allowed to help you if your product is out of stock and because they want to know what model you have.
You can usually find your serial number written in lower case at the bottom of your computer. Make sure you write it down somewhere, like on paper or on your phone, so you can easily find it even if your laptop is turned off and you don’t want to turn it on.