Last year, we dinged Asus for poor website design, lengthy hold times and other tech support infringements. That meant that the company had a lot to prove this year, and it was my job to put the company to the test. As such, I went undercover as a mild-mannered consumer needing answers about my new VivoBook X540BA.
|Asus Tech Support|
|Overall||Web Score||Phone Score||Avg Call Time||Phone Number||Web Support|
|Phone Hours (PST): 6 am - 9 pm|
Using a mix of questions focusing on Windows 10 and Asus-branded software, I left no stone unturned, testing the company's social media response, calling reps at different times of day and even poring through their FAQ pages. I'm pleased to report that Asus rose to the challenge, offering a more user-friendly website and more savvy tech-support reps.
The company's performance wasn't perfect, but it is definitely one of the most improved when it comes to tech support.
Web and Social Media (54/60)
If you need help online, you can reach out to Asus via Facebook, Twitter or the company's support site. I started with the company's Facebook account at 1:36 p.m., asking how I could share files between the VivoBook and my phone. At 2:07 p.m., I got a response that said, "Thank you for reaching out to us. While we do not assist data transfer, you could try sharing the files via Bluetooth."
When I asked if there were an Asus app I could use, the rep referred me to Asus File Transfer, which is technically correct, but not the answer (Asus Sync) that I was looking for. But the company came through a day later, redeeming itself when the rep gave me a long explanation of the Sync app, with no prodding from me.
One place where Asus has made strides is in its support website. Last year, we noted that the search function was less than perfect, bringing the most tangential issues to the top. But when I went searching for how to adjust the audio settings under Asus Software, it instantly brought up an entry for Ice Audio Wizard along with a video and a FAQ with step-by-step instructions on how to use it.
But there are no entries for Windows questions like disabling webcams or stopping forced updates (although Asus does offer info on installing and registering Windows 10 Creators Update). In those cases, you'll need to speak to a Live Agent. I spoke to Jonelle P. at 11:25 a.m., but only after waiting 5 minutes. I asked how I could adjust the audio settings on my notebook. During her first attempt, she pointed me to the volume button, but once I informed her I needed to tweak actual presets, she had to do a little digging.
After 3 minutes had passed, Jonelle had me launch Asus SmartAudio, which offered a variety of presets. However, since Asus preinstalled two audio programs on the VivoBook, I pressed her to see if she could find the other one. She suggested that I load up Realtek HD Audio Wizard, a program not installed on my notebook. When I told her it wasn't there, she recommended searching for the word audio in the Windows search bar, which brought up Asus Audio Wizard, netting the rep some hard-earned extra credit.
Phone Support (15/40)
With call centers located in the United States, Jamaica and the Philippines, Asus offers you phone assistance seven days a week, from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. PDT (9 a.m. to 12 a.m. EDT). That's a large swath of time, but I'd still prefer a 24/7 line. I don't know about you, but tech fails typically happen for me in the wee hours of the morning.
I spoke to Richard at 3:53 p.m. on a weekend on my first and shortest call. Once we were connected, I asked how I could transfer files between my VivoBook and smartphone. He confidently and incorrectly stated that he would not be able to assist me because Asus doesn't offer that capability. He stuck to his story even after I hinted that there might be an app. He politely responded that there might be a third-party app that could help me, but seemed to have no knowledge of the Asus Sync app. So the call ended at 2:55 p.m. after 2 minutes and 43 seconds.
For my second call, I talked with Richard at 10:59 a.m. about how to adjust my notebook's audio. At first, he directed me to look through the icons in the bottom-right corner of the screen. But after a little more digging, he understood that I was looking to improve the tinny sound and directed me to search for an app called IceAudio.
However, the model of my laptop only had IceWizard. When I informed him of the fact, he instructed me to click on the app, which launched the Ice Audio Wizard app, netting him a correct response. From there, he explained the various presets and also pointed out that I could further tweak the sound via the Advanced Settings button. The whole process took 8 minutes and 43 seconds.
I conducted my last call at 12:44 p.m. with Hugh. After getting all my pertinent information, Hugh quickly told me that there was no way to disable nor reschedule automatic Windows 10 updates. Both of these statements were incorrect. This was my second-shortest call, at 3 minutes and 7 seconds.
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However, later in the day I received an email from Hugh, stating he'd "miscategorized" my query. He stated that while you can stop the updates completely, you can delay them for up to 35 days. It's admirable that he attempted to fix his error, but he's still wrong, since you can disable updates by simply going to the Windows Updates settings and flipping a switch.
If you purchase an Asus laptop, chances are that it'll come with the company's standard one-year warranty. The coverage includes free accidental damage protection for select laptop models. You can also swap out the RAM or storage without fear of voiding the warranty. However, you're definitely on the hook if the notebook is damaged during installation. Asus also covers two-way shipping in the event you have to send in your system for repair.
Asus currently doesn't offer extended warranty programs, but it's looking to launch something toward the tail end of 2019. In the meantime, the company will continue to support systems out of coverage at no additional charge.
Asus really stepped up its game this year, either improving upon or outright eliminating most of the complaints we had about its tech support. Lengthy wait times are now a thing of the past, as are dropped calls and outright wrong answers (at least online; the phone is another story). I was also impressed by how easy it was to navigate Asus' tech support site and get relevant answers.
However, Asus does need to better train its representatives when it comes to company-branded software. Many of the agents' mistakes stemmed from an Asus app. You'll have the best chance of getting correct answers from the company's social media reps and live chat agents, while the phone reps have a bit of work to do to match their online counterparts.
Tech Support Showdown