Is Lenovo Customer Service Good? 2017 Rating
Lenovo has dramatically improved its phone support since our last evaluation, offering much faster calls times and demonstrating a willingness to answer Windows 10-based questions that its representatives seemed to loath to address in prior years.
|Lenovo Tech Support|
|Overall||Web Score||Phone Score||Avg Call Time||Phone Number||Web Support|
|Phone Hours (ET): 24/7|
The company continues to offer a wide variety of helpful web-based support options and social media responses via Twitter, though finding answers on your own isn't always easy. In addition, the company added Lenovo Companion, an Android app that makes accessing many of Lenovo's online support resources from your phone more convenient.
To test Lenovo's support, I used a Yoga 910 and attempted to answer three questions, via both phone support and web and social methods. I asked how to use the fingerprint reader to log in to Windows, how to configure the laptop to charge devices over USB even when it's off and how to stop the computer from prompting me for a password every time it wakes from sleep.
Web, App and Social
If you don't want to pick up the phone, Lenovo offers several ways to get support online. You can search the company's support site, which includes a large number of how-tos, engage in a live chat, post to support forums or reach out on social media.
The most convenient place to start any Lenovo support query is on http://support.lenovo.com, because that's where you'll find the help pages you need to assist yourself, along with the web forms you need to initiate a call or chat. However, while there, you'll want to keep your laptop's serial number handy at all times, because the site keeps asking you for that information, even after you have registered an account there and associated the number with your name. If you don't want to turn over your laptop to look for the fine print, the site has software to detect the number, but whenever I used that software, it took several minutes or didn't work at all.
The site-search feature on support.lenovo.com is slow and usually unhelpful, producing a mishmash of old forums posts and newer how-tos from all of Lenovo's laptops together. The search is also unaware of what laptop you have. When searching from the specific support page that had my Yoga 10 model number on it, I got a whole bunch of unrelated ThinkPad articles.
I was unable to find articles that answered any of my three support questions on the support site. However, clicking on the How to Solutions tab did give me a pretty broad list of tips, most of which solved other potential problems.
Lenovo's community forums are extremely active, which makes them a decent place to try your query, if other methods fail to get you a good answer and you don't mind waiting or going back and forth with some users. I posted a question asking how to make my Yoga 910 charge a phone via USB while the laptop is off and. About 5 hours later, I got a response from another user who pointed me to a PCWorld article that was related to my question, but didn't give the exact answer I needed.
The live-chat feature on support.lenovo.com, which is available from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET each weekday, is about the same as using phone support, just without a talking voice. After filling out a brief web form with my personal info and my issue at around 4 p.m., I was immediately connected to Sasha. I asked her to help me disable password prompts when waking from sleep. The rep then asked to take over my computer, which I allowed.
Unfortunately, after 40 minutes, which involved Sasha doing all kinds of unhelpful things like updating my BIOS and poking around a variety of advanced power settings, he or she incorrectly told me that Windows 10 Home version doesn't allow you to disable password prompts after sleep. The correct menu setting is in the Accounts-> Sign-In section of the Settings menu, just a couple of clicks away from the Start button.
The Lenovo Companion app is primarily a friendly front end for the same web resources you can get in your browser. It features four main navigation buttons — Home, Help, Forum and Me — along with a search box that queries the same Lenovo support articles you find on support.lenovo.com. Home shows a list of headlines that, when I looked, were all about Motorola phones. Forum takes you to the home page of Lenovo forums, and Me shows your list of registered laptops, just like you'll see on the support site.
The app's Help tab has a set of its own buttons. These include Solutions, which links to a seemingly random list of how-to articles that aren't necessarily related to your laptop; Support Web, which is the home page of support.lenovo.com; and Community Forums, which is the web forums page. The Videos' button leads to a set of extremely outdated how-to videos, many of which cover now-defunct Lenovo software being used in Windows Vista. There's also a Diagnostics button, which leads to some tools for benchmarking and tweaking your phone, not your laptop.
The @lenovohelp account on Twitter offers speedy, helpful service. After I sent the account a direct message, asking about how to set up the fingerprint reader on my Yoga 910, @lenovohelp sent me a reply a few minutes later with a link to a helpful forum post on lenovo.com.
However, you can forget about asking Lenovo for support via Facebook. When I sent a message to the Lenovo United States page on Facebook, I got back a canned message advising me to call Lenovo tech support.
Lenovo's phone support is fast, courteous and truly helpful. Unlike in some years past, when company reps refused to answer what they considered basic Windows questions, this year, all of our support queries were answered without pushback. I also got excellent answers in two out of three calls, though in the third, the rep erroneously told me that my laptop could not do what I was asking.
If you want to do a voice call with Lenovo, you have two options: either call the support number directly or use the website to sign up for a callback. I strongly recommend arranging the call via the web form, because you won't have to spend any time navigating through a phone tree and the rep will already be aware of your issue before the conversation begins. You can schedule a call in advance, but in my experience, there's no waiting at all if you ask for an immediate callback.
In either case, be sure you have your laptop's serial number in front of you, because the site asks for it and the rep may also request it on the phone.
I used the dial-in number to make an early afternoon call and, after navigating the phone tree, I was almost immediately connected to a rep named Vine in the Philippines. After taking a couple of minutes to give her my serial number, name, address and other info, I asked her how to set up the laptop's fingerprint reader for Windows logins. She requested to use remote control software to take over my PC, and I agreed.
It took Vine only a minute or two to navigate to the correct menu in Windows 10 settings. From there, she had me set a PIN number and register my fingerprints for Windows Hello. Then, she waited while I rebooted the computer and logged in with my index finger. The full call lasted 13 minutes.
At around 9 a.m., I used the web form to sign up for a call, and within about a minute of my hitting submit on the site, my phone rang. The phone service tells you to wait on the line for a representative, but the hold music had barely played a few bars before Richard, also in the Philippines, picked up. Because I had already entered my question, which was about how to turn off the password prompt when waking from sleep, he was familiar with both my issue and my personal information before we even started talking.
Richard also took over my computer using remote control software. Within a couple of minutes, he navigated to the correct menu and found the option to disable the password prompts when leaving sleep mode. He changed it, put my laptop to sleep and asked me to test the new setting by waking the system up. After I confirmed that the fix had been successful, he took me back to the menu again to show me how to change the option myself. The call lasted 17 minutes and 19 seconds.
At around 9:15 p.m., I used the web form to ask about enabling my laptop to charge devices over USB while the system is off. After about 2 minutes of waiting for the phone to ring and a few seconds of hold music, I was talking with Noelle (also in the Philippines). This time, even though I had entered my serial number and personal info in the form, he asked for both pieces of information, then put me on hold for a couple of minutes. When he came back on, he incorrectly informed me that the Yoga 910 cannot charge devices while off. However, the setting to enable powered-off charging is in Lenovo's preloaded Settings app and it's actually enabled by default. This call lasted only 5 minutes and 32 seconds.
Lenovo backs its laptops with a standard one-year limited warranty that includes parts and labor. However, depending on which laptop you buy, you may or may not have to pay to ship your computer in for service. You can pay extra to extend the warranty up to three years (more for business laptops), add on-site service or get accidental-damage protection.
The Bottom Line
Lenovo offers a lot of different ways to get help, including dramatically improved phone support. As with most other manufacturers, Lenovo's support staff could use better training on the company's own proprietary software (USB-charging capability is part of Lenovo's own settings menu), but everyone I dealt with seemed knowledgeable overall and eager to help. Lenovo's online articles and forums provide a wealth of helpful information, but getting the right solution for your problem on your specific laptop can be a challenge.