From Pine View Farm

Adventures in Tech Support, Dell Dept. (Updated) 2

I just got off the phone with Dell Technical Support, with satisfactory results.

The times I call Tech Support are few, since I can almost always fix software problems and, with desktop computers not under warranty, hardware problems, but this was a netbook hardware problem.

I had already concluded that the AC adapter for the netbook had gone west (probably to Colorado, but that’s another story). I had metered it and it didn’t. Adapt, that is.

Hey, stuff breaks. That’s reality.

The Tech Support guy, of course, had to verify my diagnosis. He had me make sure that the computer was not in “airplane mode” and reboot. (What that had to do with AC power I don’t know, but Dell was paying for the phone call, and it did allow him to verify that the computer did, indeed, compute.)

He then had me plug in the adapter and check whether the power icon reported “AC power.” It didn’t.

Next, he had me shut down the box, remove the battery, and attempt to restart the box using the AC adapter. It did a convincing imitation of a paperweight.

The result: Dell well be sending me a new adapter. When I get it and test it, I’m to send the old adapter back to them at their expense. He also gave me a direct number to his department in case the new battery arrives damaged or not at all.

Conclusion: He did good. He did exactly what I would have done had I been wearing his headset.

By the way, he was in India. I thought he was from his accent, but the guy who runs Claymont Liquors a mile and a half up the road has a similar accent. So I asked.


I am sick and tired of Americans criticizing techs simply because the techs speak with foreign accents. A good tech is a good tech is a good tech. It’s called “globalization” and it’s not a policy. It’s an irreversible force.



They sent it overnight express. It works.



  1. Karen

    April 14, 2009 at 7:39 am

    I think I sent you a copy of the last time I had to interact with Dell tech support. The only reason I wasn’t happy with them was the fact she didn’t read. After which I found out the only problem was the person in the chair, before I got there. $200.00 is what it cost to fix it. Had she paid attention, she would have gotten a better response on the survey.

  2. Frank

    April 14, 2009 at 2:34 pm

    I had colleagues when I worked tech support who didn’t listen.  They heard the question, launched into an answer, and never figured out that what the caller thinks is the problem may not be a problem at all, but, if it’s anything, may be a symptom of something entirely other.

    I found quickly it was important to ask questions and listen to the answers.

    I learned early not to believe customer diagnoses.  If they knew what was wrong, they wouldn’t be calling me.

    I developed a technique for questions:  “Click X and tell me what you see.”  (Unsaid:  “That means word-for-word, you moran.”)

    I made a fast friend when I was new at the phones and working through the little list of diagnostic questions that I had worked up when the caller got exasperated and said, “Look, I know what I’m doing.”

    “Yes, sir,” I said, “but I don’t.”

    The man later made me a guest in his house when I visited the Frozen South.  Dakota, that is.