Give The Gift of Geek This Holiday Season

Hacking the Holidays

We’re geeks. We love giving geeky, technology-related gifts. We don’t (always) like being the default technical support for said gifts. If you’re familiar with the “For Dummies” series of books, then you might just have an out on the tech support this holiday season with a subscription to “Tech Support For Dummies.”

I was sent a wrapped package with Alka-Seltzer pack attached to the ribbon. On opening the package, there was an Asus netbook with a flash drive – the instructions were to play the PowerPoint slide show and enjoy the music. The problem: the sound didn’t work. The next step was to call Tech Support for Dummies, give them my special code, get the problem fixed, and blog about the experience.

Tech Support For DummiesTech Support For Dummies

Why Alka-Seltzer? Because Tech Support for Dummies would solve my problem without any heartburn…well, before calling I could see what the problem was so I enlisted the help of my wife (who was very eager to try out a netbook). She called the number and gave the (first) person the special code. Charlie was very helpful even in the midst of struggling to find out who the account was registered to…which did take some time.

My wife was put on hold for a couple minutes and then registered. She was put on hold again before being transferred to another person. This person took some basic info and started working to resolve the issue. The first thing that the second-level person wanted was to take remote control of the computer. However, with the instructions I was given, the netbook was not attached to any network when the she called.

The person worked through the script and then struggled to figure out the problem without having a network connection. He pushed a couple of times for them to stop troubleshooting the sound problem so that the network could be set up. My wife played along saying “I think we have a Lexus router” (really a Linksys router) and finally said it was not going to be possible to set up the network.

The problem did get resolved and the person was very helpful (although he never once got my wife’s name right). Once the reason for the call was resolved, he again pushed to get the network set up and their remote control app installed. My wife declined.

I ran a stop-watch from the moment she called until she hung up. It took twenty-three minutes. How did those twenty-three minutes break down?

  • six non-consecutive minutes getting registered
  • seven non-consecutive minutes on hold
  • ten minutes troubleshooting and resolving the issue (including attempting to get the remote control app installed)

My wife thought the two people she worked with were helpful and pleasant.

As a test, I disabled the sound again on the netbook and she Googled a fix. The Google search, the reading, and the trying out the resolution took five minutes. My guess is that the support analyst would have also taken about five minutes to resolve the issue if he had been able to follow his script (including not having to install the remote control application).

Our overall thoughts… Tech Support for Dummies was helpful, the people were nice that she spoke to and they did flex to the situation. My impression is that they might be a good back-up or additional gift if you’re giving a less-than-technical person a gadget this holiday season. Tech Support for Dummies supports a wide range of devices/items/software that include:

  • PCs and Laptops and peripherals
  • eReaders, mp3 players, digital cameras, and game systems
  • operating systems
  • Internet connectivity and home network hardware
  • security devices and software

For the holiday season, they are running a special. If you go to Tech Support for Dummies and enter the code of “HOLIDAY CHEER”, you get unlimited 24×7 phone support for three months for $19.99 (usually a nearly $45 cost if purchasing three months at the regular $14.95/mo). $20 may just be the sanity-saving factor for your own holiday season.

Wired: nice, helpful support staff; 24×7 phone support; decent holiday price promotion for their service.

Tired: the push to have a remote control app installed on the device.

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