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Service and Support Satisfaction for Laptops and Smartphones 2019

The analysis. For the second year in a row we asked our readers to share their experiences with service and support from their device manufacturer. Which brands from different product areas, such as consumer/gaming, business laptops and, new in this survey, smartphones were able to provide especially satisfactory results when service was required? Read on for our results from this year based on more than 1,000 reader submissions.
How satisfied are customers with the service and support experience in the case of a problem with their laptop or smartphone?
How satisfied are customers with the service and support experience in the case of a problem with their laptop or smartphone?

Notice: the following results are based on reader surveys in reference to the European market only!

The question of how good or bad service offerings are for different manufacturers is one that we're frequently presented with. In comparison to a traditional hardware test, an objective analysis on this subject is not really possible and in our forums there are frequent posts from individuals who in their specific case and manufacturer have had a very bad and unsatisfactory experience. A classic 'service test' is also not really possible in terms of the extreme effort and time required. It was for these reasons that we renewed our call to our readers to share their experiences, and in this article we provide an analysis of the responses which numbered more than 1,000 overall. We hope that together with our device reviews, the results below and identified trends prove useful in the choice of your next laptop or smartphone.

Data Source: Over 1,000 Readers Share Their Experiences with Support and Service Cases

At the time of analysing the results, we had over 1,000 completed surveys from NotebookCheck readers available to us. The survey was made available on our website in English and German and contained 13 questions. These questions were predominantly multiple-choice, with the ability to rate various aspects of the reader's experience from 1 to 5 points. Participation in the survey was completely voluntary with no compensation or incentive (such as a competition or similar).

Just over 2/3 of the participants gave their location as within Europe, with the majority of those coming from Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The following article and analysis focuses only on these participants as well as the manufacturers with a substantial number of survey results in order to have a larger data set to better evaluate each. The largest manufacturers included Lenovo, Dell, Apple, Asus and HP.

The highest proportion of consumer laptops were reported to be from Microsoft, Acer and Asus, whereas business laptops were predominantly Dell, HP and Lenovo devices. Gaming laptops were more strongly represented from MSI, Schenker/XMG and Asus. For smartphones, Huawei, Samsung and Apple were the most common brands.

As we found last year, the number of customers who chose to opt for an extended warranty was especially high with Dell customers (around 30%). It's noteworthy however that compared to last year the overall proportion of customers who opted for an extended warranty has dropped significantly.

Participants
Participants
Brand Distribution
Brand Distribution
Device Classes
Device Classes
Extended/Standard Warranty
Extended/Standard Warranty

The survey can still be viewed via the following links:      

- Umfrage: Service- und Supportzufriedenheit bei Notebooks und Smartphones 2019
Survey: Notebook and Smartphone Service and Support Satisfaction 2019

In the following sections we will evaluate the results from each question. We ask for your understanding in terms of analysing the results, as for the purposes of comprehension and clarity only certain correlations could be assessed. The team does however have a copy of the entire set of data.

Telephone Support: First Line of Contact

First contact with the manufacturer in the event of a problem often takes place via a provided hotline number. Users of business devices often enjoy the privilege here of being able to utilise a dedicated support line for business customers. In our survey we assessed telephone support quality in three separate areas: waiting time, quality of communication/comprehension and ability to resolve the problem.

Not included in the survey were other various methods of online support such as online-chat or FAQ lists which are frequently offered to customers of mobile devices. Some manufacturers also offer the ability to open a service request via their support website, whereas others only offer a phone-in option. Frequently there is also the option via tools installed on the laptop or an online form to check your current support and guarantee status, such as with the Dell service tag which is found on all Dell laptops.

Waiting Time

The first question of our online survey asked the responder to rate their experience in terms of waiting time for telephone support. The options available were between 1 (very long) and 5 (short). In the consumer and gaming customer area, the manufacturer with the highest number of '5' responses was Apple. The hotlines of Schenker, Microsoft, MSI and Acer were also most rated as having short waiting times. Bringing up the rear are the support offerings from Lenovo and Asus who also took the last spots in last year's survey. The diagram shows average results across survey responses.

Phone support: waiting time with consumer and gaming laptops
Phone support: waiting time with consumer and gaming laptops

Next we aimed to discover what difference there was between business and consumer laptop support. To do so, we compared results from the top 3 business laptop manufacturers. The fastest phone response time was achieved by Dell, with HP and Lenovo customers having to deal with somewhat longer waiting times on average. An interesting result arose from this comparison though - HP business laptop customers actually had longer waiting times than consumer laptop customers. This was not the case in last year's survey. Certainly, the expectations of HP's business customers are not being fulfilled here.

Phone support: Waiting time - consumer vs. business
Phone support: Waiting time - consumer vs. business

New to the survey this year is the smartphone category. The 5 most reported and relevant manufacturers in the survey were Samsung, Apple, Huawei, Sony and LG. Customers were most happy in terms of waiting time when phone support was required with Samsung and Apple phones. LG smartphone owners were especially dissatisfied.

Phone support: Waiting time - smartphones
Phone support: Waiting time - smartphones

Ease of Comprehension

The next question in the survey asked responders to rate the understandability of the phone support operator on a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 was the worst and there were issues in communication, and 5 the best with very clear communication. The top places were extremely high marks (4 and 5) were taken by Acer, Apple, Schenker and Microsoft once again. Lenovo and Asus were noticeably worse - similar to the results from last year.

Phone support: Ease of comprehension - consumer laptops
Phone support: Ease of comprehension - consumer laptops

Customers of HP consumer laptops were especially satisfied in terms of ease of comprehension with telephone support. With Dell and Lenovo, their consumer and business hotlines were very different experiences and HP's business customer hotline lagged behind that of the consumer hotline.

Phone support: Ease of comprehension, consumer vs. business
Phone support: Ease of comprehension, consumer vs. business

The largest proportion of satisfied smartphone customers with regard to ease of comprehension was claimed by Apple's hotline. Bringing up the rear was LG.

Phone support: Ease of comprehension - smartphones
Phone support: Ease of comprehension - smartphones

Problem Resolution

How satisfied were the responders with the problem resolution ability of their chosen hotline? Experiences were rated from 1 point (not resolved) to 5 points (very satisfied).  

Similar to the results from the previous question, the hotlines for Acer, Apple, HP and Schenker were able to put themselves out front, whereas those from Microsoft and Asus resulted in noticeably lower satisfaction. Compared to last year, HP was able to improve their showing whereas Asus and Lenovo were once again in the last places.

Phone support: problem resolution - consumer laptops
Phone support: problem resolution - consumer laptops

With the business hotlines we see the same pattern as before. Customers who utilised Dell's phone support reported high levels of satisfaction, and HP's business customers were once again critical in contrast to the experiences reported by HP's consumer customers who were predominantly (very) satisfied.

Phone support: Problem resolution - consumer vs. business
Phone support: Problem resolution - consumer vs. business

With smartphones, Apple once again put in a good showing with good ratings. LG again failed to impress.

Phone support: Problem resolution - smartphones
Phone support: Problem resolution - smartphones

Point of Time when Repair Required

On the subject of at what point in the device's life service or repair was required, the survey results were very similar to last year for consumer and gaming laptops. The highest proportion of defects occurring during the timeframe of an extended warranty belonged to Apple, followed by HP. The most instances, by a large margin, of devices being repaired outside of a warranty period was claimed by Apple. Whilst most laptop manufacturers offer two years warranty as standard, Apple only provides a one-year base warranty. Apple users who want to protect their, usually very expensive, laptop for a longer period have to purchase an additional protection plan, which is strongly suggested when ordering online with Apple. The comparatively high out of warranty repair rate can also be explained by the generally very high initial device cost, and also market value stability of Apple laptops. Whilst customers with Apple devices will often opt for expensive repairs, with other brands a major issue often means the end of the line for the device.

Point of time when repair required
Point of time when repair required

By comparison, the survey responses regarding business devices shows that Dell had the lowest rate of repair incidents within the base guarantee periods. There were no incidences at all this year for HP business laptop users whose devices required servicing during the extended warranty/outside the base warranty.

Point of time when repair required - consumer vs. business
Point of time when repair required - consumer vs. business

Due to the fact that Apple users tend to opt for an extended warranty, it is not surprising to see that many repairs were performed within the extended warranty timeframe.

Point of time when repair required - smartphones
Point of time when repair required - smartphones

Send-In or Onsite Service Process

When a defective device needs to be repaired, this will typically be done either via a send-in or pick-up service, or done onsite at the customer's location if the service plan allows for it. We asked our responders how complicated the process was. The possible scores were from 1 (complicated) to 5 (simple). 

The results were very similar to last year. Again Schenker, Acer, Apple and also Microsoft and MSI scored highly in customer satisfaction in this area. Lenovo and Asus took last place in this although here also the majority did rate their processes as being easy and simple.

Send-in or onsite service process - consumer/gaming laptops
Send-in or onsite service process - consumer/gaming laptops

On the business laptop side, owners of Dell machines rated the on-site service as most simple, followed by HP. Lenovo once again took last spot and the positions were unchanged from last year. An interesting point - users of consumer laptops from Dell, HP and Lenovo gave many more 5 (simple) ratings compared to last year, whereas HP business laptop owners scored them lower.

Send-in or onsite service process - consumer vs. business
Send-in or onsite service process - consumer vs. business

With smartphones and repairs, Sony and Huawei received the most responses showing that they had a simple and easy process. The least satisfied were LG phone owners.

Send-in or onsite service process - smartphones
Send-in or onsite service process - smartphones

Repair Time: Whose Service is the Fastest?

When your device is defective, naturally you want to get it repaired and back in service as fast as possible. For professional users this is essential, but private users also don't want to be without their device for weeks at a time.

As we saw last year, Dell here impresses with a seemingly well-oiled and efficient system and a high count of customers who opted for the optional next-day on-site service. At the same time however, Dell had a large number of respondents, more than 25%, who reported that their device repair took longer than 14 days. Without a suitable service plan then, it seems that with Dell it can take a while. With the highest proportion of customers reporting that their device repair took less than 7 days, Apple, Microsoft and Schenker came out looking very positive in this area. Disappointing: MSI, Asus and Lenovo (consumer) had a high proportion of reported repairs taking up to 14 days and beyond.

Repair time - consumer/gaming laptops
Repair time - consumer/gaming laptops

Dell seems to not differentiate between consumer and business devices with its service options, at least not in terms of the optional on-site service. With more than 30% of repairs being completed in less than a day with both business and consumer laptops and more than 50% of consumer laptops/more than two-thirds of business-laptops within 3 days, it would seem to be indicate that the extra cost is well worth it. HP as well as Lenovo are quite some distance behind, although the responses for Lenovo devices showed a significant improvement compared to last year.

Repair time - consumer vs. business laptops
Repair time - consumer vs. business laptops

Huawei seems to be extremely fast with dealing with a required repair, followed by Apple and Samsung. It could be that Huawei's service centres play a large role here, found in many of the large cities, which are able to provide a same-day repair depending on the defect.

Repair time - smartphones
Repair time - smartphones

Repair Service Satisfaction

Customers of Apple, MSI, Acer and Microsoft rated their satisfaction with completed repairs very highly - although MSI and Acer have an equally high proportion of very dissatisfied customers. Asus looks very bad regarding satisfaction of completed repairs - the manufacturer received the lowest number of very satisfied customers, and the highest number of very dissatisfied customers.

Repair service satisfaction - consumer/gaming laptops
Repair service satisfaction - consumer/gaming laptops

Dell was able to increase its customer satisfaction rating compared to last year, both with business and consumer laptops, whilst HP as well as Lenovo lost ground in the business segment. They both were able however to increase their showing in the consumer area.

Repair service satisfaction - consumer vs. business
Repair service satisfaction - consumer vs. business

With the exception of LG, the leading smartphone manufacturers were able to demonstrate high customer satisfaction with completed repairs.

Repair service satisfaction - smartphones
Repair service satisfaction - smartphones

Repair Attempts: Not Always Fixed First Try

Whilst around 75% of consumer device customers of HP, Apple, Lenovo or MSI reported being satisified after the first repair attempt, over 25% of Acer, Dell, Schenker and Asus customers reported needing 3 or more repair attempts. Compared to last year, Lenovo customers reported an increase in satsifaction, whilst Schenker customers were less satisfied.

Repair attempts - consumer/gaming laptops
Repair attempts - consumer/gaming laptops

In contrast to Dell, where once again users of business laptops reported less required repair attempts than consumer owners, there was a reversal in trend with HP and Lenovo - with these two manufacturers business device owners provided criticism for multiple repair attempts in higher numbers than consumer owners.

Repair attempts - consumer vs. business laptops
Repair attempts - consumer vs. business laptops

Once more LG takes last place in our survey for smartphones. More than half of all responders reported three or more repair attempts being required in order to have their defective device brought back to working order.

Repair attempts - smartphones
Repair attempts - smartphones

Overall Satisfaction with the Service Process

To close out, we asked our survey respondents to provide a final overall rating for their service experience with their notebook or smartphone for their respective manufacturer. Similar to last year's results, Apple and Acer were able to claim the top two spots, whilst Lenovo and Asus took the last two places. Losers this year include Schenker, who fell from the top of the field to the middle.

Overall satisfaction with the service process - consumer laptops
Overall satisfaction with the service process - consumer laptops

On the business laptop side, Dell was able to repeat its showing from last year with top spot. HP's business service fell considerably however - with its consumer arm achieving higher satisfaction. It was a similar picture with Lenovo; customer satisfaction with business devices fell, whilst consumer device satisfaction rose somewhat.

Overall satisfaction with the service process - consumer vs. business laptops
Overall satisfaction with the service process - consumer vs. business laptops

In the smartphone arena, the number of high satisfaction responses regarding Huawei device was a standout. Less pleasing is the result for LG, which took the dubious prize of having the highest number of dissatisfied customers.

Overall satisfaction with the service process - smartphones
Overall satisfaction with the service process - smartphones

Verdict: Which Manufacturers Offer the Best Service?

The aim of our survey and results is to show trends in specific areas of the service process. Experience shows that dissatisfied consumers are far more likely to provide feedback than satisfied customers, which should be taken into account when interpreting the above information. We should also state here once again that this article is a summary of reader survey, and not a service test performed by us.   

The biggest drops compared to our survey from last year were the business service offerings from HP as well as Lenovo, and as a result Dell was able this year to position itself firmly at the top of the chart. Alongside a high level of customer satisfaction with almost all areas surveyed, Dell was able to score highly with very short repair times. Dell offers this service also for a wide variety of consumer laptops, which can also for these devices drastically reduce the amount of time it is out of action.

A larger warranty window doesn't protect you against being without your device for extended periods if it is defective. For this, you need a service add-on (on-site service).

In the consumer/gaming laptop class, whose data we collected in order to compare against last year, the highest customer satisfaction was recorded for owners of Apple and Acer devices. The German brand Schenker fell several places. In the bottom places in terms of customer satisfaction where service was required, same as last year, are Lenovo (consumer) and Asus. An interesting result was the response from survey participants regarding overall satisfaction with Microsoft products - whilst in most individual categories Microsoft fell in the middle of the pack, they received an especially high number of somewhat to very dissatisfied ratings for overall satisfaction (2 or 1).

We recommend before purchasing a laptop or smartphone that you definitely consider a scenario of a major defect - will you be able or willing to do without the device for a longer period of time in a worst-case scenario? How long do you intend to use the device, and what will happen to the laptop or phone after this period of time?  Keyword: resale.

In all scenarios an extended or uplifted service and support contract can be very helpful. The possible out of action time can be reduced to a few days or less, high repair costs are avoided, the lifespan of the device is extended and, should the device still be under its warranty time period, resale prices are increased.
As well as this, your personal satisfaction is likely to be increased. In our survey, surprise, surprise, brands with a high count of purchased extended warranties took the top spots for customer satisfaction

You can find further information on the subject of returns and guarantees here. The results of our survey from 2018 can be found here.

Editors Choice Award - service and support satisfaction 2019 - business laptops: DELL
Editors Choice Award - service and support satisfaction 2019 - business laptops: DELL
Editors Choice Award - service and support satisfaction 2019 - consumer laptops: APPLE
Editors Choice Award - service and support satisfaction 2019 - consumer laptops: APPLE
Editors Choice Award - service and support satisfaction 2019 - consumer laptops: ACER
Editors Choice Award - service and support satisfaction 2019 - consumer laptops: ACER

Download der lizensierten Bewertungsgrafik als PNG durch Klick auf das jeweilige Bild

Market Research

Through the use of online surveys we are constantly asking our readers for information on current and trending issues. We are able to draw upon our 12.5 million strong user base (Google analytics, unique pageviews, Recorded by Jänner 2018; Link: further information and demographic data) with a high count of Key Opinion Leader in the mobile computing area. Contact us now for questions related to your individual market research requirements.

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Service and Support Satisfaction for Laptops and Smartphones 2019
J. Simon Leitner, 2019-05-29 (Update: 2019-06- 1)