QOTD: How Important is Good Tech Support?

Yesterday we saw Laptop Magazine's test of the tech support offered by various computer manufacturers.

Apple scored top marks with its North American-based tech support workers, well put-together website and availability of the Genius Bar. Lenovo, Sony and Toshiba also did well with knowledgeable phone support.

The worst of the bunch were Acer, Dell and HP, which were plagued with long hold times and/or tech help that wasn't very helpful at all.

The interesting thing to notice is that Acer, Dell and HP are the top computer sellers, leading us to believe that quality tech support may not be exactly correlated with the top selling computers.

Perhaps the reason is because the likes of Acer, Dell and HP sell so many machines that its tech support can't keep up, or there's something else to it. We're curious, and we want to hear from you.

So our question of the day is: how important is tech support to you when you are making computer buying decisions?

Marcus Yam
Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.
  • doomtomb
    Very important if the staff is actually knowledgeable.
  • falchard
    They have to know their way around a server. I already know the basic PC stuff, I don't need someone to regurgitate it for me. Servers though I am not knowledgable in.
  • Flying Sq
    Almost never important, all I need is some online support, and a return system. I really don't need support unless a part is faulty, shorts, etc. Then it's only for a refund or replacement.
  • crystalized
    Now why does tech support have to be free?
    Have you already called a plumber and asked him to tell you step-by-step what to do to change your pipes? and for free?
    Anybody doing that is dumb, period.
    So the old saying is true, what you pay is what you get and obviously if it's free then it is not the best support you'll get.
    Also Apple, Toshiba, Sony and Lenovo computers costs a bit more than HP, Dell and Acer so that extra money goes towards the support you receive.
  • 7amood
    If I see that others are having problems with support, it decreases my interest in a specific brand product up to 50%...

    It's only up to how good the performance and features diversity of that product.
  • i have used tech support once for a printer and they didn't fix my problem. That being said... 99.9% of the products i have own have not required real tech support. I just end up googleing the error message and always find my own fix. Bottom line, its not important.
  • maigo
    I think product support is important with anything, certainly if you have a major issue.
  • haze4peace
    I've never had to call tech support for a computer issue before, so no, tech support does not matter to me.
  • pcxt21
    Honestly the forums here on Tom's as well as the rest of the internet are more helpful to me than any telephone tech support ever was. As long as a company's RMA service if functional, I really don't care about there telephone help line.
  • adamovera
    Not important for pretty much all things, networking equipment being the only exception, for me anyway. Bump on the return system +1.