HP Tech Support: 2015 Rating
Nabbing second place last year with an 91.25 score, HP showed that it knew how to treat customers right. But this year our experience wasn’t quite as good. We received two incorrect answers, one via chat and one via phone, and we also got pitched an extended warranty on 2 out of 3 calls. However, HP’s support via social networks was fairly snappy, and I was able to find answers to most of my questions on HP’s site.
This year, armed with an HP Pavilion 13 x360 laptop, I asked how to get HP CoolSense back after upgrading to Windows 10. I also asked the questions about reverse scrolling on a touchpad and activating Hey Cortana.
Web and Social Support
HP's support website remains well organized, with a helpful search bar sitting front and center on the main site, and tabs for Products, Software and Drivers, Forums and Contact Support at the top.
The site also has a nifty tool that detects your device, so you don't have to go hunting for its name and make. It takes you to a page with solutions and downloads for recent and common problems, as well as alerts for important updates for your system.
I found the answers to queries about reverse scrolling and enabling Hey Cortana on HP's website, but the information was buried deep. Simply typing my question into the search bar did not give me a direct answer, but I found the steps within the fourth step of the second section of the fifth part of an 11-part page devoted to using the touchpad.
I couldn't find a page about using HP CoolSense on my Windows 10 notebook, but the steps HP provided for using it on Windows 8 worked.
HP's support forums are full of solved problems, and a group of staff and volunteers answer questions in the community, often within a few days. However, I still did not find an answer that specifically addressed how to turn on CoolSense.
HP also offers a service called SmartFriend starting at $10 a month that provides 24/7 help on any tech problem from any brand. So if you want to print from your Samsung phone or your laptop gets a virus, SmartFriend can help solve your problem.
After filling out a contact form to access the chat support tool, I connected with Mohammad Shoaib Alam at 12:55 p.m. ET on a Wednesday to ask how to reverse scrolling on a touchpad. After going into the Mouse Pointer Options section of Themes, Shoaib told me that my "Windows Operating System is corrupt and the OS is not activated." He explained that that was why we couldn't change any settings. This was not true, since I had just changed the direction of scrolling a minute before and after the chat session.
When I asked him again, before ending the session, if he was sure there was no other way to fix the problem, Shoaib said, "It will only resolve by doing the [system] Recovery." He also said he could forward my case and concerns to HP's case managers.
When I posted my questions on Facebook and Twitter, HP's social team was efficient and effective, responding in just 2 to 3 hours. On Facebook, the company's agents responded within 3 hours and gave me effective step-by-step instructions on how to reverse scrolling on my touchpad.
On Twitter, @HPSupport replied in 2 hours, giving me a helpful link to an article on how to turn on Hey Cortana.
Like anyone playing hard to get, HP Support makes you jump through hoops to get its phone number. You'll have to click Contact Support, select Support Options and fill out a contact form before the website will reveal a number you can call. To be fair, this ensures that every caller has a case number generated by the website, which should cut down on call times; such pertinent information as product serial numbers and device model are already transmitted.
My first call to HP, on a Thursday at 4:33 p.m. ET, was answered quickly by Chirag in India. After confirming my name and getting my case number, he clarified my issue on how to reverse scrolling on my touchpad before asking me to let him remotely access my computer. I downloaded and installed the remote control program from the conveniently addressed site "www.hp.com/123" and watched as Chirag expertly navigated the system.
Within 10 minutes of starting the call, my problem was resolved. Unfortunately, the call ended up taking 14 minutes, as Chirag asked if I wanted to buy antivirus software and accidental damage protection. However, he was not pushy about it, and was friendly and engaging overall, making the experience almost enjoyable.
On my second call, I was connected to Michelle in the Philippines within a minute of calling, on Thursday at 9:09 p.m. ET. I asked the friendly and charming rep how to enable Hey Cortana on my computer, after providing my case number and name. Since I used the moniker Alice Manilow in this call, I shouldn't have been surprised when Michelle told me my last name reminded her of singer Barry Manilow. Unfortunately, despite our bonding over music and movies, Michelle was nowhere near as knowledgeable as Chirag.
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She told me that there was only one way to talk to Cortana — by clicking the microphone symbol at the end of the Ask Me Anything bar at the bottom of the window. This was despite the fact that, while she was remotely controlling my computer, I said to Cortana, "Hey Cortana," which pulled up a Web search showing multiple articles on how to activate the always-on feature.
After 20 minutes, we "resolved" my issue, but the call lasted 29 minutes because Michelle delivered a long spiel on how my warranty was limited and that if I dropped my laptop and cracked the screen, I would need to pay to get it fixed since I didn't have accidental damage protection.
I initiated my third call at 11:25 am ET on a Wednesday, and was connected to Vivian in India within a minute. After I gave him my case number and explained that I wanted to get HP CoolSense back after upgrading to Windows 10, Vivian transferred me to cheery Kathleen (or Kate) in the Philippines. Kate remotely took over my computer to investigate my issue. To my amusement, she went into the computer's Program folder just to open Internet Explorer to download software. During our 57-minute-long call, Internet Explorer crashed on her, refusing to close.
During the entire call we got disconnected twice, for reasons unknown, but Kate always called back within a minute or two. Eventually, blaming a Windows 10 glitch and problematic drivers, Kate advised me to roll back to Windows 8.1 and directed me to the website to order a $40 USB recovery key. Although the call was long and boring (for me), Kate's polite and earnest manner made the situation easier, and my problem was resolved.
Maybe because the call had already taken such a long time, Kate was the only one of the three agents I spoke to who didn't try to sell me an extended warranty.
Overall, the biggest issues with HP stemmed from the fact that its phone and chat support agents didn't seem very familiar with Windows 10 and its features, giving me inaccurate answers on new features such as Cortana. However, the company's speedy and smart social media team and well-designed website made it easy to find answers on the Web. Despite their inaccuracy, support agents were always friendly, and even when they were selling extended warranties, were not too pushy.