Service and Support Satisfaction for Laptops and Smartphones 2020: Who Offers The Best Service?
The question of how "well" a certain manufacturer performed in the service category, e.g. when performing a repair, is arguably very hard to answer objectively, particularly when considering that most OEMs choose not to publish their internal statistics and data. A traditional service test is hard to conduct and has to be taken with a grain of salt. In order to obtain representative results, you would have to produce the exact same defect on various devices with more than one device per OEM. Consequently, most tests performed are limited to simple support hotline test calls and/or evaluation of whether or not certain support and service features, such as live chats, a 24-hr hotline, or NBD service are available.
Instead of barking up the same tree over and over again we chose a different path and attempted to visualize our readers’ personal experiences with various OEMs in order to give potential customers an insight into what to expect. More than 1,000 users answered our call and took our survey, and here are the results.
Basis: more than 1,000 users shared their experiences with service and support
Just like in the previous years we collected data by asking our readers on our German and English sites to complete an online survey and share their experiences, and over 1,000 of you answered our call. The multiple-choice questions allowed ranking various aspects from one to five points. Participation was voluntary, there was nothing to gain or win (aka no raffle or anything), and registration was not required.
More than two thirds of all participants originated from Europe. We are going to limit ourselves to those particular answers for the following evaluation and are going to restrict the number of OEMs to those with the largest data sets.
The consumer space was led by Acer, Asus, and Dell while the business realm was dominated by Lenovo, HP, and Dell. More Microsoft users than before claimed to be using a business notebook, quite possibly because of the popularity and use of a Surface convertible for work. Gaming notebooks were primarily represented by MSI (which, for the first time, also had a small number of non-gaming notebooks present), Schenker/XMG, Asus, and Acer. The world of smartphones was led by Huawei, Samsung, and Apple.
Dell and Lenovo are the OEMs with the most users opting for an extended warranty, followed by HP and Apple. Compared to last year we noticed an overall increase in customer willingness to purchase extended warranties for their devices.
The surveys can be found under the following URLs:
Following are the evaluations for each question of our survey. Please keep in mind that we have to limit ourselves to certain contexts and correlations for the sake of clarity and comprehensibility. The full data set is available to our editorial staff.
Phone Support: Front Line Warriors
In most cases, customers choose a phone support line to get in touch with an OEM should a problem arise. Business notebook users tend to be more privileged due to a dedicated business hotline. In our survey, we inquired about three different aspects: how long was the wait, how comprehensible and understandable was the answer, and how well did the hotline do in addressing the issue.
Not included in this survey were other forms of support, such as a live chat or FAQs that are supposed to support and help laptop users identify and solve their issues. Some OEMs allow their users to initiate a repair directly from their website while others require you to call in first.
In the first question of our survey we asked our readers to rank the waiting time when calling the support hotline between one (very long) and five points (short). Among consumer and gaming laptops the OEM with the highest amount of fives was Schenker/XMG, closely followed by Apple. Dell, Microsoft, MSI, HP, and Asus were also attested rather short waiting times overall. At the end of our chart (ranked by average rating) we find Acer and Lenovo.
Compared to last year we see that Schenker/XMG improved by one place while Acer fell behind. Dell was also able to improve slightly.
When comparing consumer versus business hotlines Dell’s business service remained number one, although the differences between its consumer and business service hotlines were not as pronounced. HP’s business hotline managed to improve significantly year-over-year, and Lenovo remained largely unchanged in its comfortable third place.
Like last year we have decided to limit ourselves to the five largest smartphone OEMs, aka the ones with most users in our survey. Compared to last year, LG dropped out and was replaced by Xiaomi. This year, Apple sits at the top while Samsung dropped by a few places. Huawei was able to improve its overall rating as the number of satisfied customers increased dramatically.
In our next question, we asked about overall comprehensibility. Once again, the ranking went from one (poor comprehensibility) to five (great comprehensibility) points.
This year, Schenker/XMG managed to leave everyone behind, followed by Apple, Microsoft, and HP. Asus improved slightly while Acer dropped from first to second to last place.
When comparing business versus consumer experiences, HP managed to improve quite dramatically in both areas. Particularly business support users were willing to attest HP a significantly higher comprehensibility than before. It is quite possible that HP or the subcontractor running HP’s phone support service changed their policies and worked on this issue.
Looking at smartphones we see a high percentage of satisfied Sony, Apple, and Samsung users while new-entry Xiaomi will have to work on this issue.
How satisfied were customers with the hotline’s ability to troubleshoot, address, and possibly even solve the issue at hand? As before, the ranking ranges from one point (not addressed/solved) to five (very satisfied).
As before Schenker/XMG shows its consumer and gaming competitors how it’s done and can be found at the very top this year, followed by Apple, Dell, and Microsoft. Like before Acer drops dramatically, similarly to HP.
While Dell’s business hotline lost credibility in solving the issues at hand, HP managed to improve in this area as well, as did Lenovo. The latter's business hotline’s troubleshooting capabilities outshine even those of Dell’s and HP’s respective business hotlines.
In the realm of smartphones Apple once again sets the bar very high with around 70% of all customers either satisfied or very satisfied with its hotline’s troubleshooting abilities. In return, Samsung customers that had to contact the hotline due to an issue or defect were visibly less satisfied with their manufacturer’s capabilities to troubleshoot, identify, and address the issue.
Timing of Required Laptop/Smartphone Repair
Like last year, the OEM with the highest percentage of repairs conducted within the period of an optional extended warranty as well as outside of warranty was Apple. The two main reasons for this are Apple’s short default warranty of just one year and the comparatively high resale price of Apple devices under warranty. HP customers were the least likely group to purchase a warranty extension.
Dell’s and Lenovo’s consumer and business lines did not show any significant differences in the timing of required repairs whereas HP consumer laptops were repaired much less frequently outside of warranty or within the period of an optional extended warranty than HP business laptops. Generally speaking, it seems that consumer notebooks tend to get repaired less frequently outside of warranty than business laptops.
Huawei, Apple, and Xiaomi customers tend to purchase optional warranty extensions more frequently than other OEMs’ customers. According to our survey, 75% of all Xiaomi smartphone users claimed to have had a repair conducted on their device within the period of an optional extended warranty.
Procedure of Laptop Mail-In or On-Site Service
In the case of a repair the laptop needs to be shipped to a service center, picked up by a subcontractor, or repaired on-site by a technician. We were interested in finding out how simple or complicated this process turned out to be.
Schenker/XMG and Microsoft users tended to be mostly satisfied with their OEM’s service, although the latter also showed a high number of dissatisfied customers. Dell’s, Acer’s, Asus’s, Apple’s and MSI’s users tended to be largely satisfied with the process. Only HP and Lenovo show a high number of dissatisfied customers in the consumer and gaming laptop spaces.
When looking at the big picture year-over-year we can see that most OEMs with the exception of Schenker/XMG and Microsoft have a lower percentage of very satisfied customers. Only those two were able to improve in this area.
While Dell shows similar ratings in the business and consumer space, HP and Lenovo differ significantly in this regard. In both cases the number of satisfied and very satisfied customers is much higher amongst business customers than consumers. At the same time, the number of users claiming an overly complicated procedure is much higher in both consumer spaces.
Compared to last year both HP and Lenovo managed to improve upon their business users’ satisfaction.
In the world of smartphones, it is Apple that shows the highest relative number of satisfied or very satisfied customers. On the other side, Xiaomi shows a fairly high percentage of dissatisfied users.
Duration of Repair: Who is the Fastest?
Nothing is more frustrating than not knowing how long you will have to wait to get your laptop back. Quick turnaround equals happy customer, it’s that simple. The OEM with the shortest turnaround time in the realm of consumer and gaming laptops was Schenker/XMG, followed by Dell, Apple, HP, and Microsoft. Asus, MSI, and Acer users were noticeably less satisfied with their respective OEM’s repair time. Just like last year, Lenovo sits at the very bottom of the list. More than 50% of all users reported having to wait more than 14 days for their laptop to be returned.
In the world of business laptops not much has changed. Once again, Dell offers the shortest turnaround time for business laptops. HP’s numbers don’t differ too much between the consumer and business spaces while Lenovo’s customers clearly benefit from business support in this regard.
Compared to last year Huawei has to make way at the very top for Apple. At the other end of the spectrum Xiaomi performed rather poorly, with all of its users reporting a turnaround time of more than 14 days.
Satisfaction with Conducted Repairs
Once repaired, customers expect their laptop to be fully working again. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. According to our readers, 75% of all Schenker/XMG users were very satisfied with their OEM’s ability to address the issue, followed by Apple, Microsoft, Asus, and Acer with more than 50% of satisfied or very satisfied customers. MSI, Lenovo, and HP showed a much higher percentage of dissatisfied customers.
In the business versus consumer comparison we can clearly see that Dell users experienced the same level of satisfaction regardless of whether they had to go through business or consumer support. However, Lenovo’s and HP’s customers had very different experiences, and the respective levels of satisfaction differed immensely between business and consumer laptop users.
Compared to last year, Lenovo and HP managed to improve their business users’ overall satisfaction while similarly experiencing an increase of dissatisfied users among their consumer user base. Dell’s numbers remained largely unchanged.
The level of satisfaction of smartphone users with their respective OEM’s ability to repair the issue is very similar to the results of our previous question regarding the duration of the repair. Apple, Huawei, and Sony have mostly very satisfied customers while newcomer Xiaomi left half of its users dissatisfied.
Repair Attempts: One is often not enough!
Fortunately, a single repair attempt was all it took to address and fix the issue at hand in most cases. Among consumer laptop users, Apple and Schenker/XMG showed an overwhelming percentage of users reporting that their issue was fixed after the first attempt. On the flip side all other OEMs showed a surprisingly high percentage of users claiming two or more attempts required to address the issue. At the very bottom of the list are Asus, Microsoft, HP, and Lenovo.
The most surprising development compared to last year is what can only be described as HP’s and Lenovo’s free fall to the very bottom of the list. Schenker and Dell managed to improve in this regard.
Among business users, HP and Lenovo managed to improve year-over-year and increase the percentage of successful repairs on the first attempt noticeably. On the consumer side, both lost credibility and required more than one attempt more often than before.
In the world of smartphones Huawei, Apple, and Samsung are the most successful OEMs once again, and just like last year all three showed a very high percentage of successful first-attempt repairs. Trailing far behind in this category is Sony.
Overall Customer Satisfaction in case of Required Service
How do our readers rate overall satisfaction with their respective OEMs? In the realm of consumer and gaming laptops Schenker/XMG seems to be the unmistakable number one when it comes to overall customer satisfaction, followed by Apple and Dell. With mostly dissatisfied customers in case of required service we find HP and Lenovo at the other end of the spectrum, at least amongst our survey participants.
Year over year Schenker/XMG managed to improve noticeably while Acer and HP gravitate towards the bottom of the list. Luckily for them, that spot is held by Lenovo.
Among business laptop users, HP and Lenovo managed to improve their customers’ level of satisfaction. For the first time ever Dell, HP, and Lenovo seem to be at eye level in regard to overall business customer satisfaction.
Huawei’s users are once again most satisfied in case of required service, although Apple is trailing very closely behind. On the other side, Samsung lost credibility and manages to fall behind this year’s newcomer, Xiaomi. We were surprised by Xiaomi’s decent overall rating considering that it landed in last place in most of our questions above. It is not unfeasible that user expectations have a noticeable influence on overall satisfaction, and these may very well be dramatically lower among users of a comparatively young Chinese manufacturer when compared to the established top dogs. Similarly, Apple was outperformed in this regard by Huawei even though the company should have clearly scored higher based on the answers to the questions asked above.
Verdict: Which OEM offers the best service?
Before we conclude this article, we would like to once again remind you that the main goal for this survey is to identify trends in certain aspects for specific manufacturers. When interpreting these results, it is very important to keep in mind that dissatisfied users tend to be much more vocal than those who are satisfied. We would also like to reiterate once again that this is not a service test, but an interpretation based on the results of a survey conducted amongst our readers.
Let’s start with consumer and gaming laptops. Schenker/XMG performed significantly better this year and improved upon overall customer satisfaction. On the other hand, both Acer and HP (consumer) lost a lot of credibility and dropped to the bottom in many categories. Lenovo (consumer), which already performed rather poorly last year, lost even further and can now be found at the very bottom of the list.
Like a backup, the importance of service and support becomes relevant only when things go wrong.
Things look quite a bit different on the business laptop side of things. Both HP and Lenovo managed to improve their respective customers’ level of satisfaction quite dramatically and managed to draw level with Dell. Another very interesting aspect is the direct comparison between business and consumer satisfaction for Dell, HP, and Lenovo. While Dell managed to maintain the same level of customer satisfaction across the board both HP and Lenovo seem to suffer from a noticeable rift, with a much higher level of satisfaction among business customers than among consumers. It almost seems like the service processes between those two worlds are completely different.
In the world of smartphones, a new player has entered the game – quite literally. Based on the number of users participating in our survey Xiaomi managed to replace a well-known brand, LG. However, it did not perform particularly well and can be found in last place in many categories. Interestingly enough our readers ranked Xiaomi higher than we would have expected based on the answers to our individual questions in regard to overall service satisfaction. It seems like newcomer expectations are simply much lower than they are among users of established brands, such as for example Samsung. The Korean OEM suffered quite severely this year. In return, Apple is the new benchmark for smartphone service and support satisfaction.
The significant differences between business and consumer experiences serve to emphasize the importance of good service or a warranty extension. In many cases OEMs offer dedicated phone support lines and support personnel for premium customers, repairs are conducted much faster, and overall satisfaction with the repairs conducted is much higher. Users that depend on their laptop on a daily basis should seriously consider getting a device with a great service package, particularly one with on-site service, which can help to reduce turnaround time dramatically. In regard to smartphones it seems that established brands pose a lower risk of dissatisfaction with conducted repairs or service in general.
Please see here for additional information regarding warranty. Last year’s results can be found here: Service and Support Satisfaction for Laptops and Smartphones 2019.
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Market Research and Surveys
Through the use of online surveys, we are constantly querying our readers for information on current trends and trending issues. For this, we are able to draw upon 20.8 million monthly readers (Google Analytics, unique pageviews as of March 2020; link: further information and demographic data) in 13 different languages with a high amount of key opinion leaders in the area of mobile computing. Contact us should you have specific questions regarding individual market research.