The world loves a good comeback story, and frankly, so do I. In this case, an upstart gaming laptop company placed near the bottom of Laptop Mag's 2018 rankings only to jump 7 spots to second place in 2019’s Tech Support Showdown report. Thanks to a healthy social media presence, polite and knowledgeable tech support representatives, Razer confidently emerges as our most improved company.
What Happened Last Year
Razer's sophomore appearance in Tech Support Showdown was nothing but disastrous. But it didn't start that way. The online aspects of Razer's tech support generally delivered correct answers.
While it didn't have a Facebook page specifically dedicated to support, I got a response when I messaged the general page with a problem. The company makes up for its light Facebook presence with an active account on Twitter and a rather robust Reddit page, which acts as another forum outside of the company's Razer Support page.
Speaking of Razer Support, the website delivered timely, accurate information by way of its FAQs and forums. I was impressed that information for Spectre/Meltdown, a major security vulnerability last year was front and center. The rep Live Chat I interacted with was also knowledgeable.
Where Razer's online support was solid, its phone support was non-existent. I was already mildly displeased with phone support hours (9 a.m. - 5 p.m. PST) that only took place from Monday - Friday, leaving you stranded totally without help during the weekend or for a sizable chunk of the weekday.
Narrow time window aside, I at least expected someone to pick up the phone when I called. But on three separate occasions, I found myself placed on hold for over 29 minutes before the call would unexpectedly disconnect. I tried four times -- three calls went to the U.S./Canada line and once to the international phone number, essentially losing more than two hours of my life that I can never get back.
Inquiries to Razer's PR team revealed the company was in the midst of switching call centers with the former company not “fully execut[ing] their obligations.” However, that didn't explain why the company that was so abreast of Spectre/Meltdown didn't post anything on the state of its phone service during the transition period.
What Happened This Year
Learning from last year's missteps, Razer had improved on almost every aspect of its tech support. The online support was faster in its responses overall. The Twitter rep answered my query in 7 minutes compared to 30 minutes in 2018. My 2019 Live Chat wrapped up in 13 minutes.
The company still doesn't have a Facebook tech support page, but I still got a correct answer from the main page. Email support still has a 24-hour answer period, which is kind of a bummer.
Razer Insider and the Reddit forums continue to be fonts of information; you just have to be ready to do a little digging and keyword experimentation to find your answer.
After last year's phone debacle, it was a win just to reach a human being from Razer's phone support, let alone actually ask a question. I did both and got much more. It's also worth noting that Razer has extended its U.S. phone center by an hour to 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. PST. But the biggest change is that the company now offers phone support 7 days a week. It's not 24/7, but it's a big step in the right direction.
During actual interaction with Razer phone reps, the company was 2 for 3 on correct answers. I got accurate solutions when asking about changing Fn functionality and disabling automatic Windows updates. The incorrect answer came when I asked about adjusting fan speed with the rep incorrectly stating that my 2017 Blade Stealth's version the cloud-based Synapse software didn't have the ability to control fan speed. It's potentially a sign that Razer needs to step up its efforts to train its support team on the ins and outs of its proprietary software.
The average time spent on calls with Razer support was 13 minutes and 27 seconds. That's considerably shorter than the 2.5 hours from last year's outing.
Whether it was via phone or live chat, at the end of each interaction, I received an email detailing the events of the experience. The correspondence also included contact info in case I needed more assistance and a few had a few helpful tips on how to protect my system from the latest security vulnerability.
From laptops and smartphones to outlandish concept projects, Razer's used to being the underestimated underdog. At this point, I think it's a role the company relishes in. Since last year's spectacular fail, it seems the company's been hard at work shoring up its weakness in order to provide great tech support. And for all intents and purposes it's working thanks to speedy, knowledgeable tech support representatives and a wealth of online information. They've even extended phone support hours and days.
There's still room for improvement of course. Razer’s reps need to know the company's products inside and out and 24/7 support access is a must. But overall, if Razer keeps this up, it has a good chance of being the company to finally dethrone Apple at the top spot of our tech support rankings.
For a full look at how every major laptop brand performed, be sure to check out our complete Tech Support Showdown 2019 report.
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Sherri L. Smith has been cranking out product reviews for Laptopmag.com since 2011. In that time, she's reviewed more than her share of laptops, tablets, smartphones and everything in between. The resident gamer and audio junkie, Sherri was previously a managing editor for Black Web 2.0 and contributed to BET.Com and Popgadget.