Acer Tech Support: 2015 Rating
Acer's tech support is improving in some areas, but remains disappointingly static in others. The laptop maker's website provides a useful Web chat service and a thorough database of information, but not all of its phone representatives were knowledgeable about the company's products. Despite its impressive Web options, Acer's less-than-satisfactory phone help and minimal social media support leave the company's overall grade the same as last year.
To test Acer's tech support, I asked the company how to set up Hey Cortana on Windows 10, how to reverse my touchpad's scrolling and how to upload files to the company's cloud-based abFiles app. I used Acer's Aspire One notebook, and tried out all of the company's Web, social media and phone options.
Web and Social Support
I found Acer's support website useful and easy to navigate. Large, multicolored tabs for things such as drivers, FAQs and warranty greet you immediately, and I appreciated that there was a "Get to know Windows 10" button right below them.
You can find drivers and manuals for your machine by entering its serial number, and the Ask Acer FAQ page lets you search for answers across the entire site or within specific product categories. This section allowed me to find answers to 2 out of my 3 questions — reverse scrolling was the only topic I couldn't find an explicit tutorial on. When I asked about Acer-specific apps, I was taken to a robust list of questions and answers, and when I looked for general Windows tips, my answers were occasionally accompanied by useful tutorial videos.
I tested Acer's live chat support, which took a somewhat sluggish 28 minutes to help me figure out how to reverse touchpad scrolling on my PC. After 11 minutes of waiting in the queue, I was connected to Shylaja, who quickly put me on hold to look up information about changing touchpad settings. While she was sometimes slow to respond, she successfully directed me to my laptop's mouse settings.
Shylaja noted that if I didn't see the option to reverse my touchpad's scrolling under the Multi-Finger menu, my notebook didn't support reverse scrolling. This turned out to be the case, as the checkbox for the feature was greyed out on my notebook. Shylaja apologized for the inconvenience, and asked if I needed further help before disconnecting our chat.
While Acer's website provided satisfactory support, its social media presence leaves something to be desired. The company doesn't have dedicated support accounts on Facebook or Twitter, leading me to reach out to the main Acer Facebook page as well as the @AcerAmerica Twitter account.
While Acer was silent on Twitter last year, the company got back to my question quickly after I made two attempts to reach out. After I asked how I could reverse my touchpad settings, Acer instructed me to send a direct message with my laptop's SNID. Once I did that, an Acer rep said that they did not find any articles that could solve my problem on Acer's Customer Help site, and suggested that I visit the Acer Community to try and find an answer in the forums. Not exactly the most useful response.
There's no option to post directly on the Acer Facebook page's wall, so I sent the page a direct message asking how to set up Hey Cortana. Acer answered within 7 minutes, but simply directed me to a page of search results on the company's support website regarding Hey Cortana. It was pretty easy to figure out what to do from there, but I would have appreciated step-by-step help.
Acer provides complimentary 24/7 phone help for those with in-warranty products, and offers a paid Answers by Acer service (starting at $20 for diagnostic help) for those out of warranty.
I made my first call on a weekday afternoon at about 12:30 p.m. ET. After about 4 minutes of plugging in serial numbers and listening to muffled, fading reception music, I was connected to Sam, and I asked him for help with setting up Hey Cortana. While Sam walked me through the proper steps to get Cortana up and running in the first place, he told me he had to check with his associates when I asked how to set up Hey Cortana voice commands. He returned shortly, telling me that his team was unable to help with that feature and that I'd have to reach out to Microsoft directly. The call lasted a total of 13 minutes.
I made my second call on a weekday evening around 9 p.m. ET, during which I spoke to Hadith about reversing the way touchpad scrolling works on my laptop. He didn't understand my request at first, and once I better explained it to him, he even asked, "Why do you want to do this?" Despite being a bit confused, Hadith did direct me to the mouse settings portion of the Control Panel.
When I didn't see the option I needed there, he told me to update my touchpad drivers from Acer's support website, but failed to direct me to the specific part of the website I needed to go to. This ultimately unsatisfactory call lasted 8 minutes.
My third call, made around 11 a.m. ET on a weekday, was answered promptly and politely, but only took me about halfway to where I wanted to go. I was connected almost instantly to Stidham, who attempted to help me use Acer's cloud-based abFiles app. Stidham was thorough in taking me through the steps of creating an Acer account, but when it came to actually moving files from my phone to my laptop using the app, he didn't seem sure of what to do. He did, however, point me to the tutorials section of Acer's support website, and encouraged me to call back if I was having any issues with the program. The call lasted a brisk 9 minutes.
As with last year, Acer's robust support website and friendly live chat proved useful for getting answers to our questions. The company is now slightly more responsive on Twitter and Facebook, but in my testing, Acer simply used those pages to direct me to its support website. Acer's phone representatives were mostly friendly, but they didn't provide me with enough correct answers to feel confident about using them again.
Acer's grade remains largely the same as last year, but if the company aspires to bring its phone and social support to the same level as its helpful website, that should change down the road.