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Get better tech support for initial Alienware tech support calls

Jun 23, 2014

4 Votes

Status: Acknowledged

Most people that buy Alienware computers are at least a little tech say. If they're buying an Alienware their probably buying it only because it's a gaming machine. Most gamers know at least the basics about computers. I do too.The first line people that answer the phone for Alienware tech support need to be more knowledgeable about computers. I realize that you can probably hire these front line people for under $10/hour, but you're wasting money, and angering off your customers, by having unknowledgeable people answering the phone and reading from a script. If you put people that actually know what they are doing, and maybe make $20/hour, you would have a much better - and MORE cost effective - customer service experience.Let me tell you how hiring competent tech support people that make twice as much as your basic front-line tech support people do would save you money.I just got my new Alienware laptop. I installed all the programs and plug-ins that I wanted on my computer. With that done I wanted to back up and make a complete image of my system. Obviously my computer came loaded with AlienRespawn, but there wasn't much information about the program. Looking through it I was a little confused as to exactly what I needed to do to make a complete image of my computer so I could restore it back to exactly what it is right now in the event of a critical failure preventing me from being able to load Windows. Unable to figure out exactly what I wanted to do I decided to use the good old-reliable windows image and back up. When I tried to use the Windows programs they crashed. So I called tech support.Just getting to the right person took me almost ten minutes. The Alienware phone number didn’t recognize my express service code, so I had to go to the automated menu. When the automated menu finally took me to where it was supposed to go the system just hung up on me. So I called back and spent I don’t know how long just trying to get a person on the phone. The person I finally got had no idea what I was talking about and it was a five minute argument just to get her to connect me to the place the automated menu had placed me (tech support à Alienware à personal use à laptops).  Once I finally got to the right person my headaches just began.  It took me over 10 minutes to try to explain to this person that all I wanted to do was to make an exact image of my system. Part of this included her taking over my computer to look at my remove programs window and then putting my on hold while she consulted with someone else. In the end she decided that AlienRespawn couldn’t do what I wanted and I needed to use windows back up. At this point in time she decided that it would be best to use Window’s back up programs. I use the term “she decided” loosely because I could hear someone standing next to her telling her what to do and what to say. At the point in time I started to get rather frustrated and asked to talk to her boss, who was clearly standing right next to her. He refused to speak to me and she refused to let me talk to anyone else.  During the next 20 minutes she fumbled around with my computer trying to figure out how to make a backup using Windows. This involved putting me on hold more than once and lots of speaking to someone standing next to her. During this process she insisted on turning off some of my user security settings against my approval. She promised that when she was done she would put it back (she didn’t). Finally after literally 40 minutes on the phone (plus the time I spent just trying to get to her in the first place) she finally had me to a place where I could click the button to start the back up. At this point in time she insisted that the backup would take too long for her to sit on the phone while it ran and insisted (I had no choice) that she hang up and call me back in two hours. I know that back-up wouldn’t take two hours and I didn’t have time to sit for two hours to wait for her to call me back. So I beg and pleaded and she agreed that in thirty minutes she would call me back and check on things and restore my security settings. She never called back and not more than 3 minutes after she hung up the phone the back-up failed and Windows told me that it couldn’t make the back up. So I’m back to square one. I’m very confident that someone that actually knows something about computers could have helped me do a backup of my system in about five minutes. Backing up your system is a very simple task that every computer user should be able to do. So it should be exceptionally easy for someone that works in tech support to be able to do without a 40 minute conversation.  So let’s examine how much this is going to cost Dell. For this activity we will assume that the entry level tech support person makes $10/hour. We’ll also assume that the basic customer support people make $8/hour. Considering that this lady’s supervisor, who was helping her, also couldn’t help her fix my problem, we’ll assume that he only makes $15/hour. Finally we’ll assume that a competent tech support person makes $20/hour. I’m assuming the manager makes less than the competent tech support person because this lady’s manager was not competent enough to fix my problem. I also spoke with a sales manager hoping that he could give me the direct email address of someone I could complain to. We’ll assume he also makes $15/hour. Initial call: 5 minutes with customer support person to get me to the right person: 0.08 min x $7.5 = $0.60 Initial call: 40 minutes with first – level tech support: 0.67 min x $10 = $6.67 Initial call: 20 minutes of manager support to first level tech support person for call: 0.33 min x $15 = $5.00 Initial customer complaint to Dell’s FB page requiring individual reply of basic customer support: 0.08 min x $7.5 = $0.60 Initial inquire to sales manager asking for information on where to submit a call: 0.08 min x $15 = $1.20 Initial inquire to IdeaStorm requiring a personal response and probably forwarding this comment onto someone who cares. There is probably a little more going on, so we’ll assume 10 minutes:  0.17 min x $10/hour = $1.70 I’m also probably going to post this complaint to another customer satisfaction person too, as soon as I can find the right person. They will likely give me some reply also: 0.08min x $7.5 = $0.60. I would certainly hope that all of my messages about this will result in some coaching to the person that handled my call and her supervisor, since they clearly provided me with unacceptably poor support and never even finished the call. I’ll assume that this will involve mostly emails between managers. I’m going to try to break it down here:1 – Emails between managers to get my comments to the right person: 0.17 min x $15 = $2.552 – Coaching between manager who gets this and manager who worked with this tech support person: 0.17 min x $15 x 2 managers: $5.103 – Coaching between manager and tech support person who took the call: 0.17 min x $15 (manager) = $2.55 + 0.17 min x $10 (tech) = $1.70 = $4.25Total for this follow up = $2.55 + $5.10 + $4.25 = $11.90 The problem still isn’t resolved. So I’m going to call back and talk to a supervisor. So we’re not done adding things up. Seeing as how the phone system doesn’t recognize my service tag, it’s going to be an involved proves: Follow-up call: 5 minutes with customer support person to get me to the right person: 0.08 min x $7.5 = $0.60 Follow-up call: 5 minutes with initial talk support to convince her to let me talk to a manager: 0.08 x $10 = $0.80 Follow-up call: 5 minutes to explain situation to supervisor to convince them to get me through to a higher-level technical support person: 0.08 min x $15 = $1.20 Follow-up call: 10 minutes with competent tech support person to solve my problem: 0.17 x $20 = $3.33 Assuming that all of this works and this follow-up call will get my problem fixed, this process will have taken a total of 2.75 hours or 2 hours and 45 minutes. This is for a total hourly cost to Dell of: $33.40. Now let’s compare that $33.40 to what it would have cost had you staffed the first-level tech support with competent IT people. Initial call: 5 minutes with customer support person to get me to the right person: 0.08 min x $7.5 = $0.60 Initial call: 15 minutes with competent tech support person to fix my problem: 0.25 min x $20/hour = $5. Total cost: $5.60. So to summarize: To solve my problem using your current method it took 2 hours and 45 minutes at a cost of $33.40. The result is that you have a very unhappy customer that is going to bash Dell’s tech support whenever possible. The customer (me) is also going to heavily consider the terrible tech support at Dell when buying a new computer (I had bought this one with the extended warranty assuming I would get strong tech support, now that I know that isn’t the case it’s going to definitely make me think twice before buying another Dell.) . It also frustrates a never-ending series of people inside of Dell that have to deal with a situation like this. Whereas if you had the front level tech support team staffed with competent IT people you would have had a happy customer excited to buy his next PC from Dell because of their stellar tech support and you wouldn’t have had to involve anyone other than the initial person who handled the call. Plus you would have saved $33.40 - $5.60 - $27.80. So as you can see, by staffing your front level support with competent IT people you can save money and keep your customers happier. Whereas by not doing that, all you have to do is loose customers. I’ll be honest. This experience really makes me question if my next computer will come from Dell or not. And yes, I plan on buying a new computer no later than when I have this one paid off at the end of the year. If you asked me right now if that computer would be a Dell, I would answer no.I hope this letter influences your decisions about how you run your tech support department. But I also hope it results in someone from IT, who is competent, contacting me to resolve my problem before I have to call in again and go through this to get this resolved. Thank you for listening! Regards,Tom

4 Votes | 7 Comments

Categories: Gaming, Service and Support, Alienware,

Driver update for ST Microelectronics Free Fall Sensor

Jun 2, 2014

1 Vote

Status: Acknowledged

Happens on both Windows 7 and Windows 8.1After installing it, I go to control panel, then open the Free Fall Data Sensor, then I disable the protection from there since I have SSDs and they are not fragile like HDDs so I don't need it working. but upon a reboot, it is enabled automatically again so it's not remembering my setting.Any Dell representative here can submit this issue to them please for a driver update?the version I have installed now is from the Dell website under my service tag:ST Microelectronics Free Fall Sensor Driver v4.12.0046 (W8.1)So why did I install it in the first place? I don't want no exclamation marks in Device Manager so I had to install it.Please update it so that it would remember the users' choice whether to be enabled or disabled

1 Votes | 4 Comments

Categories: Service and Support,

Alienware 'Intelligent' Customer Support

May 17, 2014

3 Votes

Status: Acknowledged

Reader,More often than not I'd assume Alienware customers are relitively intelligent when it comes to computers. They may not all be experts, but I'm sure they know how to Google a problem and resolve basic issues. For those of them who are experts (and I'm speaking as one here), I'm sure they go to great lengths of diagnosing a problem before they're forced to call customer support.And I say "forced to call" here because it's usually not the best experience. You call, get someone from a call center reading off a script, who eventually tells you to send it to them and then reminds you to renew your warrenty next month.It would be amazing to have a customer service line for educated Alienware users. Somewhere one could go to talk about what they've done diagnostically so far, and bounce ideas off an Alienware expert. Then, if it's something user-solvable one can fix their machine, from home, in a few hours, without sending it away.This gives the customer quite a few benefits. They'll enjoy calling support, and that may become their first option. This could lead to an increase in warrenty renewals, and another warrenty option which could allow certified users to fix their own machines without voiding warrenty. And when shopping for new laptops or gaming machines, Dell would be the obvious answer in case anything went awry, because no one likes dealing with call centers.I stem this suggestiong from Corsair's "RAM GUY" idea. I had some faulty RAM from them a while back, and we chatted via email for a few weeks trying to diagnose the issue. He treated me like the intelligent customer I am, not another checkmark on a completed call list.Best,Devin

3 Votes | 3 Comments

Categories: Service and Support, Alienware,

Fix Alienware M14xr2 Throttling Issue

Oct 4, 2013

41 Votes

Status: Acknowledged

The m14xr2 currently throttles around 67 degrees celcius. The brand new Alienware 14 had the same throttling issue and it was promptly fixed. Your m14xr2 users deserve the same treatment as Alienware 14 users. Please update the bios to include this feature and disabling BD PROCHOT as an option as well.We want to unleash the full power of our machines but this throttling issue prevents that from happening. Repastes and cooling pads help but are not fixes for what is ultimately an imposed hardware limitation. We can safely go beyond 67 degrees without risking damage.

41 Votes | 151 Comments

Categories: Gaming, Service and Support, Alienware,

Updated Intel Rapid Storage Technology (IRST) OROM in Dell M4400 BIOS

May 21, 2014

2 Votes

Status: Acknowledged

Hello!I just downloaded the latest BIOS for Dell M4400 (A29) and latest Intel Rapid Storage Technology software available in the download section on Dell's website.While the IRST software is relatively updated (version 9.6.0.1014), it's a shame that the OROM in the BIOS is still the ancient 8.0.0.1039. Because of the old OROM version, some functionalities of the software are not available and/or limited.So this is my idea: it would be quite easy for Dell to provide a BIOS at least with the same OROM version as the IRST software it provides through its driver download page.Even better would be if Dell did a general update and provided the latest software/BIOS OROM for Intel ICH8M-E/ICH9M-E/5 Series SATA RAID Controller found on the M4400, and not just the 9.6.0.1014 version that dates back to 2010.So my idea in short is: can Dell provide through its download page the *latest* version of Intel Rapid Storage Technology (IRST), *both* for the windows software/drivers *and* for the BIOS OROM? I'm sure it would make a lot of users happy.Thanks!

2 Votes | 7 Comments

Categories: Desktops and Laptops, Servers and Storage, Service and Support,

M14X left hinge broke by simply opening it

May 17, 2014

1 Vote

Status: Acknowledged

I see that there were many threads from 2013 regarding this issue of the left hinge breaking on the M14X, but I wanted to post it again as now it just happened to me today.  I've owned mine since summer 2011 so I guess I should feel lucky that it took this long to happen.  I like many others baby my laptop, especially for the money I paid for it.  I never over extend the screen at any angle that would cause this malfunction, and I am shocked to read so many complaints on the web about this particular issue, but I have not seen Dell step up to take responsibility for this problem. I, like many others, agree that this is definitely a flaw in the design and warranty or no warranty, it should be a recall that is covered.  I love the overall quality and functionality of this laptop (which is why I paid so much for it), but sadly if Dell can not help anyone who has had this issue, I too will no longer invest my money in Dell products.  Oh, I also have an Alienware desktop too which is great, but again, if Dell won't accept fault for their flaws, I will shop elsewhere.I wasn't going to post anything but I saw somewhere that the only way Dell will believe that this is an issue was to post something on this IdeaStorm forum, so here it is.

1 Votes | 1 Comment

Categories: Desktops and Laptops, Service and Support,

Chipset Heatsink Clamp - Dell Precision 7400

Apr 29, 2014

2 Votes

Status: Acknowledged

I'm not sure what Dell has done with the newer Dell Precision 7500 or 7600s, but the heatsink clamp for the chipset needs to be changed. (Including the other headsinks configured in this manner) This is a steel wire that is held across the heatsink and then fastened down via a soldered staple affixed to the motherboard.  We're talking to dabs of solder about the size of a pencil tip. The wire is bent around a 45 degree angle, but not near enough to prevent it or strengthen it from exiting the board. What happens is over time or long time exposure to increased CPU heat, the solder holding this U shaped piece will eventually pop off the motherboard.   These heatsink pressure points are under a considerable amount of stress on these very small connections and should not be used. End result is the customer will usually have it pop off without warning (resulting in a pre-boot error) and require a motherboard replacement.  The usual feedback I get from my customers is this would be a text book example of a way for Dell to sell high prices warranties on their high end machines, because if the computer is used on advanced applications, there is no doubt you will increase the heat on the CPUs and eventually break this junction point.  (Engineered to break when the warranty expires)  Precision workstations are the work horse for demanding environments.  There is no doubt that 99.5 of the components in these systems are true to their word, but Foxx Conn missed the boat on this one. --LANMAN    

2 Votes | 2 Comments

Categories: Desktops and Laptops, Enterprise, Service and Support,

Improved Driver Detection

Apr 25, 2014

2 Votes

Status: Acknowledged

One of things that I find lacking is driver detection.My suggestions:Show the the current version, For example: NEW BIOS VERSION Available A05, current version A03and so on... It is helpfull to know how far behind you are in drivers and software.This is Especially important for my New XPS 13, since apparently there is a "URGENT" update for the SSD. But I can't/don't know how to verify which version driver my SSD currently has and there don't want to risk anything bad happenening to it.In addition, the intel drivers available on dells website for the laptop, are out of date compared to the versions offered on intel's websites.If one were to look at the current Intel driver recognition software (on intel's website), that would be an improvement over the current situation which I deem to be inferior to what I had to deal with my previous laptop from another manufacturer. 

2 Votes | 5 Comments

Categories: Dell Web Site, Service and Support,

How are SSDs in notebooks increasing productivity?

Photo / Video Editing

Apr 14, 2014

3 Votes

Status: Acknowledged

Prior to getting my current laptop whenever I needed to do any work with video I always had to fire up my desktop system as even the best laptop HDDs had mediocre performance that would choke under the demands of video editing/encoding.  Not much of a problem when at home, but it severely curtailed doing any work on the road.To a lesser extent photo editing is also easier/faster particularly when exporting several hundred to several thousand JPGs from Lightroom; no longer is the HDD bottlenecking how quickly projects can be turned around and delivered to customers.

3 Votes | 2 Comments Join Storm Session

Categories: Desktops and Laptops, IdeaStorm, Service and Support,

Dell Backup And Recovery Application

Apr 8, 2014

2 Votes

Status: Acknowledged

On most (if not all) Dell machines I've purchased for clients (or for myself) I notice that Dell has included a backup restore utility. When backing up the machine is asks for either DVD or USB drive, but the application never notifies the user how much space is needed to backup the machine to an external source.I would like to submit the idea to have the application developers add this feature to this program.--LANMAN

2 Votes | 2 Comments

Categories: Service and Support, Software,

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