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Is Dell customer service good? 2022 rating

Dell customer service rating 2022: Undercover tech support review

What a difference two years makes. In the time since our last Tech Support Showdown report, Dell has gone back to the lab and retooled a lot of our complaints. Reaching out via social media has greatly improved. Yes, there are still virtual bots, but they’re a lot smarter this time around and generally more helpful. And when you do connect with a real human being, they’re not so ready to remotely control your system and do it for you. 

Plus, this is the first year we’re able to test all of the various levels of customer service that Dell provides including gaming and business. It was a massive undertaking that showed that while Dell reps are knowledgeable on Windows related issues, they sometimes stumble when it comes to the company’s own proprietary software.

Dell tech support

Overall Web ScoreMobile App ScoreSocial Media Score Phone ScoreWarranty Score Avg. Call TimePhone NumberWeb Support
81/10014/2013/1512/1522/3020/2011:441-800-624-9896Link (opens in new tab)

Dell XPS 13
OverallPhone ScoreWeb ScoreSocial Media ScoreApp ScoreWarranty ScorePhone NumberWeb Support
84/10021/3017/2013/1513/1520/201-877-453-6686Link (opens in new tab)

Dell Latitude 3410
OverallPhone ScoreWeb ScoreSocial Media ScoreApp ScoreWarranty ScorePhone NumberWeb Support
82/10019/3017/2013/1513/1520/201-888-278-9707Link (opens in new tab)

Dell Inspiron 14 5000 2-in-1
OverallPhone ScoreWeb ScoreSocial Media ScoreApp ScoreWarranty ScorePhone NumberWeb Support
78/10015/3017/2013/1513/1520/201-888-278-9707Link (opens in new tab)

Dell G5 15 Gaming Laptop
OverallPhone ScoreWeb ScoreSocial Media ScoreApp ScoreWarranty ScorePhone NumberWeb Support
85/10011/3015/2013/1513/1520/201‐855-669-3600Link (opens in new tab)

Alienware m15
OverallPhone ScoreWeb ScoreSocial Media ScoreApp ScoreWarranty ScorePhone NumberWeb Support
74/10024/3017/2013/1513/1520/201‐855-669-3600Link (opens in new tab)

Web and social support

When it comes to social media, Dell is king. The company has handles in 15 channels in 16 supported languages. In addition to your usual Facebook and Twitter, you can also seek out support on Whatsapp, WeChat, Apple Business Chat and Google Business Messenger. For simple questions like “how do I adjust the touchpad sensitivity,” you’ll be connected to a virtual assistant while a technical expert will be deployed for more complex fixes such as your laptop restarting unexpectedly or a corrupted BIOS. You’ll also get a human if you manage to stump the virtual assistant’s A.I.

I jumped right into the social testing with Facebook asking how I can adjust the color temperature on my Dell XPS 13 on a Monday at 1:16 p.m. Almost instantaneously, the virtual assistant popped up giving me several options including purchasing a product, technical support, order support and recycling services. After choosing technical support, I got a button to connect with a human being. Three minutes later I was in touch with a Dell agent and they pointed me to Dell Cinema and the Dolby Atmos app, which was the correct answer. From start to finish, the process took 6 minutes and 35 seconds. 

Twitter took longer to answer my question about adjusting the touchpad sensitivity as I had to first DM the account with my service tag (2:25 p.m.) before I could get any assistance. I wish Dell would find a way to circumvent this as this is a simple question that doesn’t need warranty verification to answer. But I digress. Once it was established that the system was indeed under warranty as well as my email address, location, phone number and whether or not I was a retailer or end user (Seriously Dell?). I received a link to a Microsoft page explaining the process at 3:16 p.m. for a total of 51 minutes. 

I took to Dell’s Support Assist PC app to learn about making my laptop undiscoverable from other devices and networks. The interaction started at 5:49 p.m. I managed to confound the bot with my question, which prompted it to direct me to a human, which happened after 4 minutes. The tech support agent immediately understood what I was trying to do and walked me through the process of going to the Network & Internet settings menu, selecting the Sharing settings and disabling network discovery. I was thrilled that the agent didn’t offer to remotely control my computer. They just provided a step-by-step list in the chat and we were done after 11 minutes and 26 seconds. Approximately ten minutes later I received a call from my agent’s supervisor following up to see if the problem was indeed resolved and asking for feedback. It’s a nice touch and drives home the humans helping humans element. 

My next stop was the Dell Support webpage, which will ask you for a service tag if you’re not working on a Dell. If you are as I was, you’ll see a prompt for the system. Click on it and the site will show your system at a glance which includes whether there are any current updates, warranty info and any active service requests. The page is also the jumpoff point for support videos, knowledge base and community forums for your specific system as well as contacting technical support. 

If you’re wondering just how many videos Dell has in its cache, it’s 4,124 and counting. However, when I was looking for vids pertinent to my three queries, I couldn’t find them. However, the Dell Support YouTube site offers more general knowledge videos and I found my answers there. The same goes for Knowledge Base which is a massive FAQ repository. 

You just need to make sure you’re a bit more calculating on your keywords than normal. As for the forums, it’s a jungle in there. Typical of most forums, it’s a collection of confused users and helpful community members trying to lend a helping hand. Similar to the Knowledge Base, you want to try to do as targeted a search as possible. I lucked up and found answers to two of my test questions. 

For the final component of this section, I started the process to enter a live chat. After click Contact Technical Support, I had several options such as running a Diagnostics Test, searching through online support resources, chatting with a human via Dell Support, Apple Chat or WhatsApp. And of course, Dell’s tech support phone number if you’re into that kind of thing. 

On a Friday afternoon, I chose to jump into a regular live chat which displays how much time I would have to wait before speaking to a real person. In my case the estimated wait time was 2 minutes. In the meantime, the virtual assistant tried to solve my problem by suggesting using Dell True Color, which would have been awesome, if my Dell XPS 13 actually had that program. After clicking no to whether the answer solved my problem I was put in touch with a service rep. 

From there, I connected with a kindly rep at 3:04 p.m. who assured me that we would solve my problem together. Feeling encouraged, I asked about changing the display’s color temperature from vivid to movie mode. After trying to look up the answer, the agent asked for permission to take control of my system which I consented to. Then began a 47-minute quest to fix my display that took us to the general display brightness slider to the Intel Connect control panel, which to the agent’s credit has both saturation and hue options. Next, we went to Windows Display Color Calibration module. However, we never got to Dell Cinema and the Dolby Vision software within.

Tech Support Showdown 2022 results

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

Phone support

No matter if I was using an Inspiron, XPS, Alienware, Latitude or Dell Gaming laptop, Dell’s capable service reps were on the job ready to assist with polite, patient aplomb. And while they were right most of the time when it came to Windows-related questions, they continually flubbed the Dell-specific questions. And worse, just like last time, every call resulted in the agent taking control of the laptop remotely which added on loads of time that I can’t get back. 

You can reach the support team for any Dell laptop 24/7 at 1-800-624-9896. Your notebook’s service tag will direct you to the correct department.  And in case you were wondering how Dell manages to keep the doors open 24/7, the company has a whopping support centers in 21 countries including the U.S, Australia, Bulgaria, Brazil, China, Costa Rica, Finland, Germany and South Africa just to name a few.

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

Dell XPS 13

Of course I had to start with the creme de la creme. My first call took place on a Saturday at 2:36 a.m. EST. I asked about changing the display’s color temperature. After fielding yet another bot and handing over my service tag information. Then I was connected to an agent. After explaining my problem, the rep was immediately asked to remotely take over my laptop. After giving him permission, he proceeded to pore through my laptop’s settings, only to inform me that there’s no such feature in Dell’s hardware, instead pointing me to the Intel Control Panel. Not even mentioning Dolby or Dell Cinema could get him pointed in the right direction. After I accepted his answer, he politely asked if he could update my system as there were some critical updates. I gave my permission and the call ended after 20 minutes and 35 seconds. 

During my next call at 11 a.m. on a Sunday, I inquired about hiding my system from other devices and networks. The call was quicker this time, taking only 7:19, but again, the agent took control of the system instead of teaching this girl how to fish. 

Dell Latitude 3410 

When it comes to tech support, Dell’s all business. During my 8:37 p.m. call on a Wednesday. After getting past the bot, I spoke to a representative and asked her about adjusting the touchpad’s sensitivity. And you guessed it, she asked to remotely access my machine. After, she jumped into the Mouse setting and made quick work of my request. The call ended after only 4:58.

I called back on Friday at 9:58 a.m. to ask about enabling the webcam. After remotely accessing the system, the rep went to Windows Hello, which is technically right, but not the Dell-branded answer I was looking for. So I prodded, asking about any Dell software that could accomplish the same task. After being put on hold for several minutes, the agent came back and fiddled around in Dell Express Sign-In and we were good to go after 13:47.

Dell Inspiron 14 5000 2-in-1

Things were somewhat touch and go on the Inspiron 14 5000 2-in-1 call about changing the display color temperature. My first call was on a Tuesday at 7:35 p.m. where I watched yet another rep fall prey to the Dell Cinema trap. Even after dropping hints like Dolby Vision and asking “Doesn’t Dell have a Cinema app or something like that?” I was led to the Windows Display Color Calibration module again after a detour in the brightness settings. The call finally concluded after 23:09.

Even though my second call on Thursday at 8:03 a.m. was also remotely controlled, it was much quicker at 5:12. The agent had no problem jumping into the network settings to hide my laptop from prying devices and networks.

Dell G5 15 Gaming Laptop 

I gave myself a bit of a reprieve on my Saturday 4:28 p.m. call about the Dell G5 15 Gaming Laptop. I honestly couldn’t take another Dell Cinema fail. Instead, I asked my eager rep how to engage Turbo mode on the system. After being put on hold for seven minutes, the initial answer was that it didn’t exist. But just when I thought all hope was lost, the rep quickly remembered the GameShift button. However, that meant they were perusing in my laptop for no reason for 15 minutes. 

I tried back the next day at 12:47 p.m. to ask about the touchpad. From remote takeover to finish, the call ended on a high note after 3:14.

Alienware m15 

Maybe I’m just a sucker for punishment. But wouldn’t you know it folks, I went back to that Dell Cinema question for the Alienware m15. And spent a disappointing 18:47 on the phone trying in vain to get them to on the right path to the software. 

My final call about the hiding my notebook from other devices and networks ended after 5:24. 

Warranty

Every Dell laptop ships with a 1-year limited hardware warranty with free shipping provided both ways for U.S. consumers. The same goes for any Dell laptop being serviced at a Dell repair center. The company will foot the shipping bill regardless of the service entitlement customers have and provide a prepaid shipping label. Don’t want to ship it? If you have a premium upgraded warranty, Dell will come to you with onsite service. 

Now if you’re looking for accidental damage coverage, you’re out of luck unless you’re an XPS, Inspiron, Inspiron Gaming PCs, or Alienware owner with Premium Support Plus. Latitude, OptiPlex, Precision and Vostro PCs can get the feature with ProSupport Plus. Otherwise you can buy it separately. 

If you’re thinking of upgrading your warranty, Dell has several option depending on your notebook. There’s the Basic Hardware Service extension to the Limited Hardware Warranty that adds four years of coverage for the XPS, Inspiron and Inspiron Gaming lines. Meanwhile Alienware, Latitude, OptiPlex, Precision and Vostros get a five year bump. 

Not enough coverage? Then Premium support which covers XPS, Inspiron and Inspiron Gaming, Alienware, gives you everything in the basic package plus 24/7 hardware and software support with proactive automated issue detection, onsite support after remote diagnosis and international support that travels with customers. Alienware and XPS owners get one year of  Premium Support out of the box.

There’s also Premium Support Plus which brings Accidental Damage Service into the mix as well as automated predictive issue detection, virus removal and automated PC Optimization.

Business laptop owners (Latitude, OptiPlex, Precision, Vostro) should check out ProSupport — includes all the features of Basic Hardware Service with 24/7 access to in-region ProSupport experts, onsite service the next business day after remote diagnosis, and automated proactive issue resolution.

Dell doesn’t void your warranty if you need to upgrade parts. Just keep in mind that parts purchased outside of Dell aren’t covered.

Bottom line

The bots have gotten smarter and a little bit faster. Dell continues to fine tune its virtual assistants to great effect. However, there are times when it might be easier to just connect with a human being, especially with all those call centers at your beck and call 24/7. When you do connect with a human, they’re polite and eager to help. And while they can handle most Windows-related issues, they could use a bit more training on Dell’s proprietary software.

Sherri L. Smith
Editor in Chief

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.