June 2, 2006 4:24 PM PDT

Dell hooks up PC customers with online support

Dell is hoping to stanch criticism of its tech support program with a service that lets technicians remotely troubleshoot balky PCs over a high-speed Internet connection.

All U.S. Dell customers under warranty will receive the one-on-one online tech support for free, the company announced on Friday.

DellConnect allows a Dell tech support representative to remotely access a PC, with the user's permission, and troubleshoot the system while the user watches. The representative can download software updates, run diagnostic tools or identify configuration problems. Dell previously offered the service as part of its Dell-On-Call initative, but the remote troubleshooting feature was only available to Dell's XPS customers.

But Dell has realized that many of its customers are very dissatisfied with its current support offerings, and announced plans a few weeks ago to invest $100 million in improving its tech support operations. Dell Chief Executive Officer Kevin Rollins announced the DellConnect program during a press conference in Nashville, Tenn., where the company plans to increase head count at a support center from 1,000 employees to 4,500 employees.

The idea is to reduce expensive house calls and solve relatively simple problems, such as missing drivers or virus cleaning, without customers having to turn to other support vendors. PlumChoice, a PC support company that offers a similar service, estimates that 85 percent of most common problems can be solved remotely.

Dell customers will not be charged for the DellConnect service as long as they are under warranty. Users will need a high-speed broadband connection to connect to the service.

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15 comments

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Why is this supposed to be so wonderful?!
Wow! Dell starts to focus on the consumer now! I was so sick and tired of their commercials blaring about Dell's award winning support. Dell's support has been severely lacking for several years now. My friends and family always recommended buying Dells because of their "high quality". Many of them (2 friends and 1 aunt and 1 cousin) wish they chose another company. They've encountered problems with either the hardware and/or and getting competent support.

The article makes it seems like Dell is so generous and proactive by coming out with this service. Gateway already has this service and it is free to anyone who has their computers. I've used it when I got my Gateway 2.5 years ago. The service works for Gateway so I assume it will work for Dell also.

Lets not take away from the companies that have provided service and support. Get a computer from GATEWAY or another OEM that truly cares about the customer. Don't buy from companies like Dell who want to just sell a computer. The consumer and service should have been first and the computer secondary.
Posted by Genghis288 (4 comments )
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Dell Computer
I could not agree with you more.. Never,Never buy a Dell. The added service policy [3 yrs] is horrible. With every problem i had it was never resolved. Also they have the worst support & help program of any thing i have ever experienced. They have a bad language barrier, because for every customer NO__ service person i was connected to I could nowhere with these people. Also i bought the printer,copier,scan & fax witch never did work at all.[No Support here either] So i guess this is a word & heads up to anyone even thinking of a Dell product. They need to start from service & support, before spending millions on advertisment.This is First & Last time i buy because of hype & very bad advertisement. I just hope everyone does awhole lot of research, & still remember the post we people were not aware of.
Posted by harleyhonnyy (1 comment )
Link Flag
Too Little, Too Late
I had one Dell computer - never again.

Here are two shocking ideas:

How about technical support that is both competent and can speak American-English?

How about computers that don't need technical support, because they work the way they are supposed to?
Posted by john55440 (1020 comments )
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Damn! Dell's desperate
What will Dell do next? Pay people to buy its boring beige boxes?
Posted by J.G. (837 comments )
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Huh?
I don't know when was the last time you looked at a Dell, but they haven't used the beige box for years now.
Posted by Gronar Snaggletooth (35 comments )
Link Flag
Finally! Support.
If Dell provided this kind of support in the past they would have a lot more customers today. Then again, there aren't that many people with broadband. In many areas broadband is not available at any price. At least Dell has recognized that they needed to focus on better customer support. That goes a long way. Improved customer support has done wonders for HP.
Posted by Des Alba (68 comments )
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I've Had Good Dell Support
I've had good results with Dell support. Four Dell computers over the last 10 years. Two problems: A defective monitor and a bad network card. Good phone support. In the latter case the gentleman was obviously not American, but spoke quite acceptable English.

My only comment about Dell support: My first computer had in-house support. You pretty much can't ever get this. The tech is quite willing to spend hours on the phone with you to troubleshoot to a component, versus having someone sent out to the business. So don't buy in-house support. Between the above, plus the now available online support, I don't expect anyone will be seeing a tech come driving up to their business.

Also, I recently bought a Dell laptop, but won't buy Dell desktops any longer. I build my own now, and had to basically trash my prior Dells because their non-standard cases and motherboards could not be upgraded. Not only is this a more expensive route (though more profitable for Dell), it's an enviromental waste.

mark d.
Posted by markdoiron (1138 comments )
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I've Had Good Dell Support
I've had good results with Dell support. Four Dell computers over the last 10 years. Two problems: A defective monitor and a bad network card. Good phone support. In the latter case the gentleman was obviously not American, but spoke quite acceptable English.

My only comment about Dell support: My first computer had in-house support. You pretty much can't ever get this. The tech is quite willing to spend hours on the phone with you to troubleshoot to a component, versus having someone sent out to the business. So don't buy in-house support. Between the above, plus the now available online support, I don't expect anyone will be seeing a tech come driving up to their business.

Also, I recently bought a Dell laptop, but won't buy Dell desktops any longer. I build my own now, and had to basically trash my prior Dells because their non-standard cases and motherboards could not be upgraded. Not only is this a more expensive route (though more profitable for Dell), it's an enviromental waste.

mark d.
Posted by markdoiron (1138 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Dell Hooks Up PC Customers
Dude,
Where have you been lately.
Dell has not sold "boring beige boxes" for years.
Check out the new stuff.
Posted by (1 comment )
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Dell tech support
May 29, 2006, My wife spent 2.5 hours on the phone with three tech support people known as Presley, Franklin, and Sheen. case #134751164. We simply wanted our Outlook program to work. None of these people could solve the problem. We had an IT person from her work come to our house and solve the problem in 3 minutes using only the information she had give them over the phone. These people who admitted they were located in India were totally incompetent.
Posted by frcaed (1 comment )
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Computer FailureI
I got a Dell Dimension 2400, when i turn it on it runs for a few minutes then goes off: the monitor giving No Signal and the CPU giving an orange blinking LED light i got to wait for 5 to 10 minutes before i beging the whole process again but again does the same thing. How could i solve this?
Posted by kdbdave (1 comment )
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Dell Connect hazardous to your computer
A Dell technician took control of my computer to fix a minor Windows glitch. He corrected the glitch and but caused a worse problem with the system tray. I eventually had to do a system restore to eliminate his handiwork. The problem with Dell Connect is the incompetent technicians on the other side. I have never had a good experience with Dell technical service. They simply do not know what they are doing. I am sorry I bought a computer from Dell and I would never recommend anyone else do so.
Posted by dithyramb (1 comment )
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dithyramb comments to Dell Connect hazardous to your computer
Let me see if I understand this correctly, you contact Dell Hardware Technical Support for a minor software, Windows issue, which software is not even included in any computer warranty and you have the nerve to complain. Firstly, you should educate yourself on how to fix minor windows issues, by either Googling it, or going to the "Help and Support" section of Windows, instead of being to lazy to read and educate yourself on the problem. Then by being lazy, a technician who is porbably trained in hardware failures, tries to be nice and help you at no cost to you, meaning free, since Dell's warranty does not include software issues. Warranty for any computer means defective parts and components and replacement of those parts. You have no one to blame but yourself. I have many Dell systems and their tech support is great. I had a bad monitor, they replace it. My hard drive crashed, they replaced it. I installed the software on the hard drive though, since software is not a warranty item. My power supply blew, they replaced it. Each and every time by a certified technician, next business day at my home. That is what warranty is all about, not calling a hardware technician and complaining about a stupid little software issue, you could take the time to figure out, instead you wanted someone else to figure it out for you, and when they erred you want to complain and blame someone else, you are the only one to blame. Take a computer course, and educate yourself with Windows. Warranty does not include stupid little minor Windows issues. Once you educate yourself and read the warranty manual you will understand that your problem is not Dell's problem. Buy many uneducated consumers, believe that because they have a Dell, Dell should also fix their Microsoft Software too. I will continue to buy Dell and stand behind them 110%.
Posted by acctmanagers (1 comment )
Link Flag
Extreme illetracy
Who thinks that Dell Connect session would screw up the computer ????
Posted by x....Tech...x (1 comment )
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Dell support has always been great for me. I have bought 3 Dell computers since 2003. I had a hardware issue a year ago on an almost 2 year old system. They replaced the monitor AND hard drive. They came to my home and fixed it on the NEXT day. I had a software issue last night on new Dell Laptop and they fixed this immediately via DellConnect. No problems.
Posted by burtpelt (1 comment )
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