Customer Support

Service that computer and software manufacturers, and third-party service companies, offer to customers. For personal computer products, the following are common customer-support options:

  • mail-in service: The manufacturer will repair your equipment if you mail it in. Typical turnaround time is about four days. In some service plans, the manufacturer charges you for shipping expenses.
  • carry-in service: The manufacturer will repair your equipment, but you must deliver it to a local service site. This is sometimes called depot service.
  • on-site contract: For a monthly or annual fee, a repair person will come to your site to fix problems. (The fee is included in the purchase price of some machines.) Most on-site contracts guarantee that the service will be rendered within a fixed number of hours from when you report a problem.
  • hot lines: Many software manufacturers provide a phone number that you can call for advice and trouble-shooting. Often the number is toll-free. The quality of this type of support varies considerably from one company to another. Some hot lines are so good that they enable you to solve most problems yourself. Others are so bad that you are unable even to get through.
  • bulletin board system : Some companies maintain electronic bulletin boards (or forums within online services) staffed by service engineers. If you have a modem, you can report a problem to the bulletin board and a technician will respond. This can be convenient because bulletin boards are usually open 24 hours a day. Also, bulletin boards enable you to download software updates that correct known bugs.
  • Customer support is also called technical support.

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