Asus Tech Support: 2015 Rating
In last year's Tech Support Showdown, Asus took a nosedive from previous years, coming in at a barely passable 78.25 overall. This year, the company's performance improved quite a bit, even though its online service still leaves something to be desired. Asus representatives were helpful and thorough, and the phone lines are mercifully free of employees hawking additional services. But if you're searching for online help with an Asus laptop, you may just want to search forums instead.
To test Asus customer service, I used a ZenBook Pro UX501J running Windows 10. I asked one question about software ("How do I get 'Hey, Cortana' up and running?"), one about hardware ("How do I reverse the scrolling direction on my touchpad?") and one specific to Asus products ("How do I use Asus WebStorage?"). The results were encouraging on the phone, but less so online.
Web and Social Support
Asus features a fairly straightforward support website, but while it's easy to use, it's not always that informative. You can either browse through FAQs (at the time of writing, there are more than 400) by applying a filter such as "Firmware" or "Asus software," or just type in your topic and search for it.
My results were decidedly mixed. Searching "Cortana" yielded two pages of irrelevant results, mostly about troubleshooting Windows 10. ("Hey, Cortana" does not generate any results at all, which is why I tried the more generic term.) I attempted every variation on "reverse touchpad" (or "invert scrolling") I could think of, and found nothing at all. Only my WebStorage query yielded a positive outcome on the website, and I couldn't even find a basic tutorial until the second page of results. The tutorial was, however, straightforward, informative and easy to navigate.
From there, I decided to give social media a whirl. Asus was responsive, but the process was much more complicated than it had to be. Asus has an active Twitter presence (@ASUS), so I tweeted my Cortana question. I received a reply within an hour, which gave me an email address and instructed me to address my inquiry there.
I followed instructions dutifully and received a response via email in about an hour and a half. The answer from the Asus Social team was both concise and informative, and involved too many instructions to comfortably fit into a tweet. While having to send an email after tweeting was slightly annoying, it was a fair trade-off for getting a smart answer without having to wait too long.
The Facebook presence for Asus was much more problematic. I visited the company's Facebook page, hoping to post my question about touchpad scrolling on the wall, but the page had no public wall. Instead, I had to sift through a page of Asus regional pages (North America is listed 27th) to find a site where I could post.
From here, I posted my inquiry about how to reverse my touchpad. The response from the Asus North America team was short, simple and straightforward, although it didn't arrive right away; the team took about 2 hours to respond.
I am not sure how many users will find their regional site, given how hard they will have to look, so I attempted my question from the Asus global page as well. I clicked on the "Support and Troubleshooting" tab, which led me to a stripped-down version of the Asus Support site. From here, I emailed the company again, this time by filling out a form. It took about 7 hours to receive a reply, and that reply guided me only halfway through my question. While the representative, Vivi, told me the right software package to download, she didn't inform me how to actually modify my scrolling settings.
Finally, I tried Asus Live Chat, and the response was satisfactory, if not overly hasty. I logged into live chat at 12:16 p.m. EDT to ask how to activate WebStorage. I had previously gone through this process myself, and set it up in about 3 minutes. Working with my Live Chat guide, Carl, it took 17 minutes to go through the very simple process of verifying an email address and signing into the program.
I had a much better experience with Asus on the telephone, although it wasn't nearly as fast as it could have been. First, I called Asus at 4:40 p.m. EDT on a Tuesday. I had to navigate through an automated menu to reach a real person, which took about a minute, and a rep picked up within 30 seconds. I asked the rep, Raxton, who was located in the Caribbean, how to get "Hey, Cortana" set up on my computer. After taking down my name, phone number and computer's serial number, Raxton had to confer with her co-worker, which meant a few minutes on hold for me. Then she walked me through the process in a straightforward and accurate manner. All told, the call took 14 minutes and 29 seconds: a long time, to be sure, but most of the time was spent talking to a person, and it was much quicker than sending an email and waiting for a response.
I attempted my second call outside of normal business hours, at 8 a.m. EDT on a Wednesday. This time, Ricardo from the Caribbean picked up, and I asked him how to adjust the scrolling direction on my laptop. We encountered some problems during the process (one of my touchpad options did not show up on the Control Panel as it was supposed to). But he recommended an alternate path (which turned out to be the same thing the social team recommended) and helped me set up a two-finger gesture with Asus-specific software. All told, the call took 13 minutes and 49 seconds.
MORE: Best Acer Laptops
Finally, I called Asus one last time, at 12:30 p.m. EDT on a Wednesday, to ask how to set up WebStorage. This time, after a 2-minute wait on hold, I spoke with a man named Marlon, located in Jamaica. He accurately walked me through the entire process of setting up WebStorage and even gave me some tips on how to use the feature afterward. The call took 9 minutes and 51 seconds, much longer than it took me to set up WebStorage on my own, but much shorter than trying to use the Asus live chat.
Based on the relatively long time I spent on each phone call, I imagine it's possible for Asus employees to explain their fixes more concisely. On each call, we also spent a lot of time establishing name, location and serial number. One of the main reasons the third call was shorter was because by this time, I had an existing case number that I could cite rather than doing the whole thing from scratch.
While contacting Asus tech support via social media is a crapshoot in terms of answer quality, the company is extremely responsive and somewhat timely. Phone support fared much better, with short wait times, helpful representatives and smart solutions. Last year, the company received a 35.63 for Web support and a 30.63 for phone support. This year, Web support remains the same, but the phone support gets a significant upgrade, to 35.5. It's not perfect, but it's a big step in the right direction.