Dell’s Premium Support Promises to Find Issues Before They Happen

Imagine a world where a new hard drive appears in the mail to replace the one in your laptop before the old one even bit the dust. That’s exactly what Dell’s new Premium Support service promises to do, and it’ll even remind you to back up your data too.

Premium Support requires an additional purchase on top of the standard Dell warranty you get on every system. In return, you get an expanded support service that covers PCs and tablets from Dell’s Inspiron, XPS, Alienware, Venue and Chromebook lines. The increased coverage offers three main improvements: support for both hardware and software issues, next business day in-home service, and proactive SupportAssist software technology which finds potential issues before they become real problems. Prices start at $39 per year for Inspiron systems and go up to $69 for Alienware gaming machines, while  XPS owners get a year of Premium Support included with a new purchase.

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SupportAssist comes from Dell’s enterprise business; along with Premium Support, it's now making its debut for home users, a first for consumers anywhere. Users can opt-in to the tech by downloading the software from Dell. After installation, SupportAssist monitors your computer in the background, and sends data to one of Dell’s command centers for analysis. This lets Dell monitor stats such as storage read/write speeds, so the PC maker knows when your HDD is about to fail, or CPU/motherboard temps in the event of a faulty fan.

If there is an issue, a support agent can call you up (or email or text if you prefer), alert you to the problem and offer a choice of fixes, from sending you a replacement part in the mail toscheduling a repairmen to stop by your house. Better yet, with Premium Support, agents will always be located in your region, so communication should be crisp and speedy.

Dell claims that because SupportAssist is able to supply support agents with important info before you call, Premium Support users spend 90 percent less time on the phone, and run though 69 percent fewer steps during the support process versus top-tier support plans from rivals including Apple, Lenovo and HP.

The combination of hardware and software help also means that support agents can do more than just fix issues with buggy drivers; they also can troubleshoot problems with your Wi-Fi, help set up a printer, or assist you in upgrading to Windows 10 when the operating system update arrives later this year.

If you fret about would-be Nigerian princes masquerading as Dell support agents, Dell already has the pertinent info about you and your system since the time you signed up for Premium Support. As a result, real agents don’t need to ask you for sensitive financial or personal data. Dell also says that SupportAssist has a negligible impact on performance, so there's no need to worry about slowing down your system to get better care.

Premium Support is available for eligible new and used systems, regardless if you bought them directly from Dell or through a third-party retailer like Amazon or Best Buy. You can sign up now by phone or at Dell’s website.