10 Secrets To Getting Better Tech Support From Asus

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An Asus technician has stepped forward out the shadows to give us the 10 insider tips for getting through and getting better and faster tech support from the computer and computer parts maker. Some things just can’t be fixed though, but it’s at least to know the soul-crushing math they’re using to destroy the customer experience. Considering how bad their tech support is, you’re definitely going to need these tips…

Our tipster writes:

If you aren’t aware, Asus makes an estimated 1 in 3 computer main boards sold globally and in addition to their own brand of products also provide system boards to a number of major OEM builders such as HP/Compaq and Dell. In January, AsusTek split into three separate entities – Asus, which deals primarily with Asus-branded PCs and laptops including the wildly popular EEE PC, ‘Pegatron’, which handles the motherboard business (though we keep the Asus brand name on them), and ‘Unihan’, which handles many of the other non-PC related Asus product line. As a result, each entity was suddenly responsible for its own profitability. No biggie, right? Well, as most of your readers know, customer service and support play a key role in the buyer experience. Given that so many products are similar in specification and performance these days, often it’s the after-the-sale support that can mean the difference in long term repeat business and losing a customer.

Not long after the company split, management began obsessing over numbers, and how to make what is normally an accepted expense (customer support) profitable. It was determined that the new company, ‘Pegatron’, would charge the parent company (Asus) for each technical support phone call, email, or live chat session that was received and responded to. While I cannot attest to the actual dollar amount charged for each call, I do know that phone calls generate the most income, followed by live chats, then emails. Ok, you say, no big deal, how does that affect me? Well, that’s what I’m about to show you, with 10 steps anyone can take in an attempt to get the best possible support by circumnavigating the games played with customers to generate revenue.

1. If you need technical support for any Asus product CALL.
Do NOT send an email, and use the live support feature at your own risk. A single phone call generates more revenue for the company than a couple of Live Support sessions, and more revenue than half a dozen email responses. As a result, nearly ZERO emphasis is placed on answering them, and emails are often replied to with canned ‘cut and paste’ responses which may not be relevant to your case.

2. Best Times For Calling With Low Hold Time
When calling, there are times that give you the best chances to get through with a minimal hold time. Since the support center is based in the Eastern Time Zone, and the best time to call is before 12 noon EST. The very best days to call are Tuesday through Thursday. From Noon-6pm hold times can be somewhat lengthy, as by that time working hours are in play nationwide. At any given time there are only 8-10 staff to take phone calls (yes, we’re grossly understaffed), email queries and answer Live chats. The U.S. office supports all of North America including Canada as well as Western Europe. That translates into a very heavy call volume for a small amount of people.

3. We’re stressed, don’t take it personally
If the representative you speak to seems curt, ill tempered, or rude, it’s not on purpose, nor personally directed toward you. All support representatives are instructed to strive for taking 70 calls per day. When you factor in a lunch hour and 2 fifteen minute breaks it leaves 450 minutes in a day. For us to reach our goal, we must be off the phone with you in 6.42 minutes. We aren’t supposed to care that it’s the tenth time you’ve called us (which isn’t toll free), or that you can’t stay on long enough to accurately even describe your issue.

4. Can I take a message?
We have recently adopted ‘messaging’ in order to achieve an objective from management that all incoming calls be answered in 60 seconds or less. To that end, we have hired a few people from temp services to answer calls, and when we experience a heavy load, they take your name and number with the promise of a return call. While calls are returned, it may take hours, if not days to get a return call. This serves three hidden purposes. If we message your call, we get paid for taking it even though no support was rendered. When we call you back, we get paid again for making a call. And currently, management has contests running offering cash rewards for most calls handled by a person during the month. Guess what? If we take a message, call you back once or twice, or you yourself call back out of frustration, we may get paid 2 or 3 times before you can speak with someone, all in the name of bonus money.

5. Don’t get through? Call back in 10 minutes
If you do get ‘messaged’, you’re better off calling back in 10 or 15 minutes if you have the time. While messages should be returned within 2 hours, it’s often not the case, and generally messaging is done only long enough to clear the incoming call queue, so it’s unlikely you’d be messaged twice in that amount of time. (unless someone is intentionally messaging you, then calling back to generate more revenue and a chance at a nice cash bonus)

6. Write down your case number. Really.
When you FINALLY reach someone, you will likely be assigned a case number. This is a good thing, as it will document the nature of the call and enable someone qualified (hopefully, more on that later) to answer your questions. If you already have a case number, please state it when you first begin your conversation, it will give the technician more time to troubleshoot your problem.

7. It’s just like in a game, except not fun
There are 3 ‘levels’ of tech support. Level 1 technicians primarily answer the phones and generate case numbers. There isn’t much point in trying to go into detail about your problem, as most will have a better grasp of basket weaving than solving PC issues. They will most likely transfer you to our level 2 support, where the fun begins. Many of our representatives are competent enough to handle your questions, but if you EVER question the accuracy of the advice you are getting, you can request to be connected to the top tier of support (Level 3) at ANY time.

8. We have the long-term memory of a snail
The reason you may wish to ask for Level 2 or 3 support immediately is this: Pegatron/Asus offers zero informational training about Asus products – past, present, or future. Typically we are not aware that a new motherboard/router/PDA has hit the street until we start getting calls about it. There is no ‘informational meeting’, no product info cheat sheets, or anything of the sort offered to the support team. Normally, the more senior members are tech-oriented, and stay up to date from home, so your chances improve greatly of getting the help you need by asking for a higher tier. Sadly, even some Level 2 agents are lacking basic skills and cannot help you with BIOS settings, RAID setup, installation of an operating system and so forth, nor will they know offhand the specs of the latest and greatest boards.

9. There is no such thing as a ‘known issue’.
Every company that has every produced a physical product has occasionally put out a junk product. We are under direct orders not to confirm ANY problem as a ‘known issue’, EVER. It doesn’t matter if every single model ‘X’ PDA plays ‘Jingle Bells’ every time you turn it on, it’s not a ‘known’ issue and we will not admit to one. If you happen into one of these products that turns out to have ‘known issues’, calling tech support won’t get you anywhere. We will offer to exchange it for an identical product only, which is just as likely to have the same ‘nonexistent’ issue. Since Asus does not sell direct to the public, you won’t be getting a refund either. Sad, but true, so you may wish to browse a few forums and seek outside input before considering any purchase.

10. Merchant refunds and returns are your special friend
If you do have a problem with a new Asus product and are within the return or exchange window offered by your reseller (often 14 to 30 days), don’t waste your time calling us. Simply return the defective product for an exchange or refund. Generally speaking, returning a product to Asus (motherboards in particular), can mean a 2-3 week wait before you see your board returned to you. In addition, it’s likely a refurbished motherboard which likely underwent no extensive testing before being dropped into a Fed Ex box and sent back to you. There is a separate department on the repair floor to handle 2nd and 3rd time returns, and once you’ve reached that level, you r chances of getting a tested board improve marginally. However, these boards won’t be cleaned, and may have thermal paste, grease, smudges, fingerprints, etc on them. It’s no fun to invest $300 in a new top of the line board, only to have an issue with it and get one back that looks like Timmy kicked it down the street for half a mile before putting it in your box. Not fun.

11. BONUS!!!!!
If you do weave your way through the Asus maze and find a helpful soul on the other end of the phone, don’t bank on he or she being there if you need them in the future. We have experienced close to 100% turnover in the past year, and those who remain are constantly threatened, both verbally and via email (proof available upon request, Ben) that they will lose their jobs for failure to make objectives. Sad, yes, but painfully true.

Do you have any tips for dealing with Asus, or Asus tech support stories to share? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

Comments

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  1. skitzogreg says:

    After reading this, I have regained faith in extended store warranties.

    Nevermind. I take that back.

  2. mgy says:

    In my tech support job something being a “known issue” has been a life saver. Granted, I’m not selling a product, but rather helping people, but it’s a life saver when something (like our cable television infrastructure being down) is known – because it means it’s being addressed. My customers like that too.

  3. ironchef says:

    so glad I own a mac.

  4. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    MSI for the Win(d)!

  5. Ragnaroknroll says:

    Sounds like your working conditions there are the same as we have here where I am, and where a lot of other companies outsource their customer/tech support. I’m glad I got out of there to write porn… uh, I mean web content.

  6. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    And Ben… Ben… I’m sorry, dude, but I can’t help it. “Soul-crashing” is such a cute typo. Makes me think of the poor help desk being on one of those movie airplanes. Apt, really.

    It’s “soul-crushing,” but I don’t really care if you “fix” it.

  7. ericisshort says:

    Hearing this kind of stuff is depressing. I have had nothing but problems with my ASUS products, and this only helps to reinforce the decision I made a while ago to stay the frack away from any product with that name ASUS on it.

  8. karmaghost says:

    (from photo)Tip #3: Be a hot blonde.

  9. ConsumptionJunkie says:

    @ironchef: Agree. I’m so happy I bought the service plan.

  10. legwork says:

    @ericisshort: In a previous life they were my favorite board maker for reliability and support. That’s been a while.

    Amazing.

    “Yep, let’s institute a new P&L model based on cocaine-derived numbers and see what happens! Don’t worry, we don’t need to learn from history because we’re the first guys smart enough to think of this. It’ll be great!”

    Dumbasses.

  11. sfprairie says:

    At one time, Asus motherboards were the best out there. There was argument that Abit was better, but that was a Ford/Chevy type argument. We are talking the late 90’s. By 2000, Asus motherboard went downhill. Support took a nose dive, too. I stopped buying Asus products at that point. From reading the article, I think I made the right decision. Its a shame, too. Their mb’s were really good. Paid a premium, but it was worth it. Too bad.

  12. Roundonbothends says:

    Tech support and customer support are the face of the company to the public. Tech support is the first department to shrink or close when sales decline. Customer support (non-technical) can hang in there longer because the company thinks that CS can MAKE money while tech support can only burn it.

    I’m so glad that I’m not doing that anymore.

  13. darkNiGHTS says:

    ASUS has the best tech support of any company I’ve ever used. It’s not outsourced, and there’s very little holding time. And yes, it’s better than Apple.

  14. TVarmy says:

    I build computers for money, and my customers and I have never had an issue with any Asus component I’ve used. They’re pretty good quality, and they work well. Of course, I tend to go with MSI mainboards because they are cheaper, and as for video cards, I go for whoever makes the cheapest reference-style card for the model that best fits what the consumer wants (light gaming, hardcore gaming, no gaming, etc).

    This is good to know. I’ve heard Asus was bad for laptops in terms of service but not hardware, but hearing this will give me pause before I buy one of their products. I was considering buying my autistic little sister an EEE laptop, but I was holding off until they made one with a bigger keyboard (it’d be an alternative to an Alpha-Smart). I’ll probably try to get another company’s copy now, as I don’t want her and my mother dealing with this kind of tech support while I’m away.

  15. TVarmy says:

    @Roundonbothends: What’s the difference? Does customer support deal with people who felt they were ripped off, while tech support helps people with tech issues? Why is there a differentiation?

  16. scootinger says:

    I used to have an Asus A8Js laptop, and Asus seemed to be fairly decent about repairs the 3 times (in 9 months) that I had to send it in. First time I had to ship it from Virginia to California to have the motherboard replaced (defective ethernet jack) and I got it back within a week!

    Then the next two times I had to send it in for an issue with the case/hinge cracking, and I had a very similar experience on both occasions. In spite of what the guy said about “known issues”, the CSR helping me actually told me that there was a known defect on the casing parts the first time I called, and that they would replace them with a revised version. However, it didn’t seem to fix the problem, seeing as the same thing happened a couple of months later.

    After that I decided to sell the laptop and buy a MacBook. Since then I bought an Eee, though, and that seems to have better build quality than the Asus; haven’t had to send it in though!

  17. MercuryPDX says:

    I quickly read Asus as the thing the new Walmart logo looks like.

    @TVarmy: If it’s anything like a particular company I worked for, Customer Support is anything short of helping you set-up or fix stuff: Need a new manual, where’s my stuff you shipped, can I have sales information, take me off your mailing list, what’s the status of my ticket.

    Tech support is “Let’s walk through setting this up, I can tell you if X and Y will work well together, let’s try to figure out what’s causing Z to happen.”

    Or as a coworker wryly put it: Customer support is the people you run to after Tech Support beats the hell out of you. ;)

  18. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    @TVarmy: I JUST bought an MSI Wind from Amazon. I talked to a very helpful and knowledgeable computer desk person who actually called me back to tell me he’d talked to the buyer, and the buyer said… well it’s a long story, but the buyer expects them to ship sooner than the 3 to 5 week lead time mentioned on the site. If you put in your pre-order immediately, that is. If they’re not blowing sunshine up my tushie, that is.

    Amazon is not in the habit of misquoting ship times to me, actually, so this time I’ll believe them. It really hurts, my precious, but this time I’ll believe them. :)

  19. Jesse in Japan says:

    Also: if you’re in Japan but you bought your computer in America, then you have to get the American side to authorize the Japanese side to fix your computer for you and then the Japanese side has to actually agree to do so. Also, the American side and the Japanese side don’t speak the same language.

  20. enigmaticslr says:

    Asus support for my laptop has been nothing short of simply amazing when compared with the likes of my last laptop from Velocity Micro (CRAPAL aka Compal..) Unparalled overnight shipping both ways.. Velocity Micro kept my laptop hostage for over a month!! Turnaround at Asus has been always less than a week! An added feature is that you don’t have to do 1000 benchmarks and diagnostics to prove that your unit is defective for them to have you mail it in and take a look at it.

  21. Ben Popken says:

    @speedwell: Thanks, though it’s better to send typo catches directly to me via email. Keeps the conversation on-topic and I’ll catch ‘em faster that way.

  22. @ironchef:

    Gotta a Mac.

    Great. Guess who made the farking mother board?

    Don’t worry, if Asus didn’t make your mother board, they will make your next mother board.

  23. I to remember when ASUS used to be the brand to get. It is depressing to see something like this related to that company — but it is even more depressing when you consider that this sort of problem extends to all sorts of companies across countless fields… what was said above about the tech support department being disliked by corporations because they are a money drain (in their eyes) is sadly so true…

    @Corporate-Shill: That would generally be Intel and Apple.

  24. Nick_Bentley says:

    I gave up on buying Asus stuff for my computer business years ago. Video cards that would have fits, motherboards with driver issues, and an ASI reseller rep who only went for cheap, he didn’t know what worked and what didn’t, just the cheapest route.
    One of the best PC’s I ever had was one I spent the most on, it lasted seven years of hardcore gaming with no major upgrades. I’m not saying sell your car and buy an Alienware budget buster, but going low dollar will make you buy junk twice instead of quality one time.

  25. yorick328 says:

    An inordinate number of computers whose boards were DOA and I had to replace just happened to be by ASUS. While they may have had a good rep once, like many other computer manufacturers, they seem to have lost something over the years in quality and durability. I decided some years ago to learn as much as I could about repairing & replacing computer components because tech support is overall a crapshoot. Once they’ve sold you the item most companies just want to move on and sell more.

  26. Ein2015 says:

    I found that ASUS is turning more and more into a low-end company. I prefer eVGA now.

    To the OP, is there anything we can do to help change management’s mind? Please tell us if there is!

  27. SacraBos says:

    I bought one of those “gPC” Linux systems from Wal-Mart. Okay, that should have been my first mistake. But bear with me… Hard drive failed. Called the Everex folks on their support line. Got a honest-to-God US support dude. Who knew Linux. Had a pleasant chat with the guy for several minutes. Shipped them the bad drive, and was quickly rewarded with a replacement drive. Haven’t had technical support that good since before HP bought Compaq.

    I’ll be buying more from those Everex guys (until they break their CSR department).

  28. alstein says:

    Here’s the thing, if the place gets 100% turnover, workers should know it and blow off threats to get fired. Then again, it’s hard to do that when emotion comes into play.

  29. @Nick_Bentley: Years ago I was building a new PC and I purchased an ASUS motherboard. It was bad. I returned it for a replacement and it was bad. I actually had to make two more exchanges, even branching into different shipments/boards, before I got one that worked well. I was absolutely amazed in light of positive experiences friends had experienced with the brand in previous years. Though surely an extreme case, I never purchased an ASUS product again.

  30. JeffM says:

    I have a $500 ASUS video card that doesn’t work that well- I figure just grin and bear it because I know dealing with tech support will make me want to take the toaster in the bath.

  31. SegamanXero says:

    @Corporate-Shill: well heres the deal with that, if it breaks… you dont deal with Asus to get it fixed, you deal with Apple. Susiquently Apple deals with Asus when they get the defective board in their hands. Generaly, you will just get a new board or refurbished board that doesnt look like Timmy kicked it down the street before giving it to the apple tech to install it in your mac.

  32. @segamanxero:

    Same with my HP’s and Dell’s as well.

    There is so much sub-contracted out to the lowest bidder that we must always remind ourselves of the crap that is actually inside what we buy.

  33. Trai_Dep says:

    True, but remember: you saved $200 off than what you’d spend for a computer that, y’know, works. Win!!

  34. Smileynator says:

    @ironchef

    Oh and just how do you belive the Apple hotline works btw? ;)

    I worked for them earlier educating their CSC agets for an unnamed country.

    For example the US tech support is outsorced to a country where they get a cheap workforce, not aiming at a well educated one.

    Also, same targets apply for the rules of how many calls an agent is expected to take.

    Same bonus systems apply as the support is outsorced, then the company taking on the support will be payed x$ per call made and also per incoming call.

    Having a first call resolution doesn’t make any difference on what the companies get, so in the end they strive to make as much money possible.

    Therefore they often hire very few and very unexperienced people to do the job and often only a few of these agents really stand out as good CS agents.

    Seen alot of things in diffrent tech supports that might get you shocked, however in the end they are all the same.

    For example, denieing the existance of an issue untill a solution is found….
    Seen this happen loads of times.
    Agents can get several calls a day with the instruction of “acting suprised” when a known case without resolution is noted.
    Yes, we all remember back in the scratched Ipod screen days right? =)

    So niether is Apple support worse or better than anyone else in the lot…. They are just all the same.

    The day I see a “Perfect Happy Family Support”, I’ll probably die of a heartattack cause of the shock! ;)

  35. tabaks says:

    Wow, I was afraid there for a second but then I realized they’re talking about the PC hardware. Hehehehh!

  36. trappedinabay says:

    I’m really surprised by this article and most of the comments, actually. My boyfriend and I have both had Asus laptops for a few years, and between the two of us, we’ve had to send them in for repairs four times. The customer service experience has been nothing but fantastic across the board.

    They provide overnight shipping (can’t remember if it’s FedEx or UPS, but that barely matters) both ways, and we’ve always gotten our computers back within three days. One time, I send my laptop in on a Monday and got it back the very next day.

    I mean, maybe we’ve just been really lucky in our experieences, but I still get warm fuzzies when I think about the nice people who fix my internet lifeline. Would Asus again.

  37. Mako says:

    Wow. This is not a good support model. I just paid over $300 for a Striker II NSE that is having problems and there is no refund offered by the vendor or Asus!? This is not good. I think I will have to abadon my long time loyalty to the Asus brand and startlooking at the other manufacturers. Many are just as good. My new requirement is going to have to be “refund”.

  38. ToiletJack says:

    This sort of thing is why I got out of call center tech support – usually the management has some ridiculous numbers they use to gauge if you’re a good employee, and it has nothing to do with customer service. It’s all numbers – end the call this quick, take this many calls. They might listen to a few a month just to make sure nobody’s getting rude (and that they’re sticking to the stupid script)but really it’s all about numbers. It completely ruins the customers’ chances of getting quality help. Then management complains about how much money they’re wasting – try getting rid of the “staffing” teams that just sit around monitoring numbers all day, that’d save you some cash.

  39. campredeye says:

    That picture is so photoshopped it makes me giggle.

  40. axiomatic says:

    I have already had enough of ASUS. I have had 9 motherboards from ASUS in the past and all of them were excellent, but my most recent experience with ASUS has caused me to dump them for good.

    My recent motherboard is the ASUS Striker II Extreme 790i Ultra Motherboard. I had to do 1 RMA to NewEgg, 1 RMA to ASUS, the 3rd board still had all the same issues. I got frustrated and decided to eat the loss of the price of the ASUS motherboard (US $450) and buy the EVGA 790i Ultra motherboard. All my problems magically went away with the EVGA.

    ASUS is really slipping on the product quality as of late and they have lost me as a customer due to the poor quality of the hardware and their non-existent support.

  41. MrEvil says:

    What makes Asus’ support suck even more is the premium price they charge for their mainboards. Sure the board was probably two prices too high, but all you’re doing is lining their pockets and not getting anything extra for your trouble.

    Problem is, all the mainboard makers are this apathetic about customer service. Haven’t seen one that is worth a darn. However, I haven’t tried the nvidia designed mainboards from eVGA or BFG.

  42. axiomatic says:

    EVGA support seems like it is run by competent people. They will at least give you the “ole’ college try” and attempt to listen and understand the issue.

    ASUS can’t even read out of a “canned response” database accurately. Trust me… some of the responses I got from ASUS were not even about the same motherboard model I submitted my original question about.

    I need to stop replying here… I’m actually getting mad about how cheated I feel from ASUS again.

    I came up in my career through tech support and I know how to deliver good support. ASUS is failing in every support category. Even ASUS own support forums are supported by customers. ASUS techs don’t get involved. How lame is that?

  43. AxCrusnik says:

    Yesterday I bought an extra high res. 19″ asus monitor. I tried it out today and couldn’t get a signal to it over dvi. I tried for 3 hours with different computers cables, video card settings, etc. before going back to the store. Thankfully I bought the extended warranty. They couldn’t get the monitor to work either so they gave me another monitor. I asked them to try it first and it didn’t work either! Now I have to wait to see if the store can find a working one for me. Boo ASUS.

  44. Coyote says:

    Wow.. this is sad. I’m currently looking for a new laptop and I’ve been looking at the Asus G2 series. However after reading this and the comments I think I need to rethink that.

    Also I would like to know exactly how the minds of management work when they instate call “quotas”, “bonuses”, and “timers”. Actually resolving issues and satisfying customers would seem more important. But then all they see are numbers.

    But here’s some numbers for them. 1 article on the consumerist, 10 secrets of a tech, several disgruntled former customers in the comments, and my $2000 they will never see.

  45. eliblack says:

    Not that I have any proof that other companies are better, but there’s no way I’m going to buy an Eee now. The MSI Wind has better specs for the money anyway.

    I remember when Asus used to be a small component manufacturer. They were a great company, and not bad at all to deal with – a lot of people in the PC enthusiast community used them.

  46. RodrigoOrestes says:

    I bought my A8N32-SLI Deluxe motherboard in ’05.  Over the years, I’ve had to flash the bios to get the RAID on the nVidia chipset to work, but for the most part have really liked the product.
     
    Until XP SP-3.
     
    I did a lot of research.  There is a problem and everyone who is affected knows it.  I sent this to ASUS on their tech support email form:
     
    [Problem Description]
    After installing XP SP3 I get a BSOD for a non ACPIP compliant BIOS. From the
    forums I can see that there is no fix only work arounds. I do not have any USB devices I
    can plug in to make this go away. What can I do?
     
    This is the choice response I got:
     

    WTM20080723055597034
    Re: Motherboard A8N32-SLI Deluxe [ID=RWTM20080723055597034-260]
    2008-07-23 01:35:11

    Hello,

    We recommend rolling back to SP2. Otherwise you will need to contact Microsoft at 1-800-Microsoft.

    Best Regards,

    Rob
    Level 3/Lead Tech Support Engineer
    ASUS Technology
    Phone: (812)-282-ASUS
    RMA: 510-739-3777 opt. 2
    http://www.asus.com
    http://support.asus.com
    http://livesupport.asus.com
     
     
    You blew it, ASUS.  Never again.

  47. firemanfields says:

    I sent a Notebook back to ASUS over a month ago. I have called customer service and talked to a manager (Alan Ray). I can’t get any answers to as why my notebook is still in repairs after a month. The manager tell me that he will email them again, even though its been done 5 times before with NO reply from the repairs dept. This is the second laptop from them, the first one crapped out only 3 days after i got it and the second one decided to crap out a fabulous 5 days after the store return policy!

    I need help as to what to do. I’m not that great at finding material on the internet so far about ASUS. So how do i go about sending a Email bomb to ASUS Corporate Directors like Jonney Shih and Jerry Shen?

    Please help!