People always tell me that Dell warranty phone support is utterly useless. I disagree. I think they are pretty good dispensers of free replacement hardware. I’m usually able to get a replacement part that I need in 15-20 minutes without doing much silly troubleshooting. If you follow the few simply guidelines below, you will be able to cut through their usual bullshit, skip right to the problem and get your part.
The main idea behind this is to circumvent their troubleshooting manual by preemptively answering all the questions that they might need to ask you.
- If they ask you about your problem without taking your name and Service Tag number, give them short, succinct one sentence answer, or just ignore the question and recite your tag number instead. They will ask you to repeat your problem in detail once they take down your data, and check the warranty information. Before they do all of that, they hardly pay any attention to what you are going to say. Also they can’t be making notes in the system before they get your info down. So if you get into specific details right away, you will likely need to repeat them later on so that they can note them down.
- Have a good idea what is your problem. If you have no clue what is going on, there is really no way to speed this process up. You will need to sit through the bullshit troubleshooting session, reboot several times, and etc. Troubleshoot the problem yourself before you call.
- Run the Diagnostic CD that came with your system. It usually takes a while (around an hour to run all the extended tests), and they will definitely ask you to do it. The CD is not the be-all and end-all of Dell support, and the techs know it doesn’t detect many issues. But if you get lucky it will give you an error code that you can recite back to the phone support person. If you have a good error code that indicates hardware failure, they will skip all the bullshit, and dispatch parts and/or technician to you right away. If you don’t get an error code, at least you can tell them you have run it
- Troubleshoot the problem ahead of time. If you suspect it’s a memory, start pulling out the chips, swapping them around and etc. See if the memory runs in another computer (if possible of course). See if you can use some spare memory on your system – and etc. Try to isolate the problem. The difference between doing this, and following the troubleshooting steps over the phone is that you probably know what you are doing, while the tier 1 tech is just following a script.
- Explain all your troubleshooting steps in details. Try to cover as many steps as possible. Essentially you want to bombard them with information so that they put down the manual. Most of the phone drones have at least remedial technical skills, and they should be able to follow your logic. So if you present them with a logical progression of facts leading to a reasonable conclusion they will probably agree with your diagnosis.
- Do not tell them what parts need to be replaced – let them decide that. The reason is twofold. For one, they might sometimes give you more than you need. For example you just need a new memory chip, but they are willing to throw in a new mobo for a good measure. Sometimes that might be a good deal. Second, if you let them have the last word, they will feel like they are “solving” your problem. If you tell them what to do, they will be more inclined to ask follow-up questions – either to avoid appearing clueless on the tape in case they get reviewed one day, or just to spite you (no one likes a know-it-all). I usually leave them with something along the lines of “I suspect that the problem is XYZ, don’t you think?”
Of course if you have no clue what the hell are you doing, then this won’t be much help. But if you can troubleshoot on your own, it will definitely cut down on the amount of time you spend on the phone with Dell or any other similar vendor. :)
[tags]dell, dell phone support, phone support, troubleshooting[/tags]