Help Improve Tech Support At Apple, Dell, Gateway, And HP

Vocal Laboratories, a company that helps other companies improve customer service by surveying customer calls, is working on project to improve tech support at Apple, Dell, Gateway, and HP, and you can participate.

Next time you have a technical problem with one of these computer manufacturers, call the numbers below instead of the normal technical support number. The call will go to Vocal Labs and get forwarded to the company in question. Within an hour after the call is over, Vocal Labs calls you back for a 2-minute interview.

The numbers are:
Apple: 800-894-3218
Dell Technical Support: 800-894-3639
Gateway Technical Support: 800-894-3552
HP Technical Support: 800-871-4439

Currently, Apple is winning with 100% customer satisfaction and 71% effectiveness. Gateway is at the bottom with 50% in both categories. — BEN POPKEN

Service Quality Tracker [Vocal Laboratories]


Edit Your Comment

  1. KevinQ says:

    Wait, are they working with these companies, or is this their own deal? That is, are you shilling for a third-party research company?


  2. goodolclint says:

    Apple has 100% customer satisfaction?
    That’s laughable from my experience.
    Their iPod support sucks

  3. Helvetian says:

    @goodolclint: I agree, horrible support on iPod. Too bad I didn’t read this a few hours earlier. Just called Gateway TS, was on hold for 43 minutes, a rep picks up, I provide my info and am told “You need a Vister Agent, I am XP. Let me transfer you.” I said “Vista?” He said yes “Vister.” I get transered, 22 minutes and click it hung up. I call back, punch in my serial, on hold for only 11 minutes this time and told same story. I get transfered, on hold for over 33 minutes and finally got a very friendly rep. I was exhausted. Unhappy, will use this service next time to provide feedback.

  4. reverendtmac says:

    Any idea whether these numbers are good for their server and storage groups? I would *love* to have one of their reps call me after I’ve been “working” with a Dell rep for three hours just so they’d finally agree with my diagnosis and send me the parts I begged for.

  5. facted says:

    The way I read this post is that you call some company who directs you to the real number, but now the 1st company knows you wanted to call the real number. For this service of transferring you to the real number, you then have to answer a 2 minute interview?

    Umm…and the shortcut is where?

  6. AcidReign says:

    …..I’m out of warranty on my HP Media Center PC now, bug I never had to use them. Their little HP Software Update program breaks pretty quickly, though. It claims that I’m not connected to the internet. This, despite Firefox, AOL, Thunderbird, Media Center, Windows Media Player, etc. all working fine. And no, it shouldn’t be a firewall issue, either, as I’m using the built-in XP one which is inbound only. I do have a 2-wire hardware firewall on the front end of my DSL, again, it’s inbound-only.

    …..I’d like to see the stats for Acer. They are so bad that I had to learn how to take the laptop apart and work on it myself.

    …..Lenovo sent me a nice battery recall notice through the snail-mail. It arrived yesterday. And I had already run their little website recall applet and determined that my battery was unaffected, three weeks ago! You’d think that they would have a file on which battery I had, since I’m a registered customer who bought direct from…

    …..The mother-in-law just bought a Gateway laptop, and I was impressed that Gateway is still including a Windows disk. I can fix damned near any software problem if I have a real system disk. These “loaded on the hard drive only” windows machines are sometimes unrecoverable if the drive fails.

    …..My procedure when I bought the HP and the Lenovo (which have no CDs) was to immediately install Acronis Trueimage and back them up to an external drive. Then I made BartPE CDs with the Acronis plugin. Hopefully, this will suffice in case of drive catastrophe.

  7. dbeahn says:

    Keep in mind, Apple only offers 90 days on their PCs – any support beyond that is only available if you pay for it per incident, or buy an “Apple Protection Plan” for extra cash. Not exactly an apple’s to oranges comparison to stack the Apple “pay for support” ratings against the “included with purchase” support for the other companies.

  8. Maulleigh says:


    The mother-in-law just bought a Gateway laptop, and I was impressed that Gateway is still including a Windows disk. I can fix damned near any software problem if I have a real system disk. These “loaded on the hard drive only” windows machines are sometimes unrecoverable if the drive fails. My laptop crapped out. I reinstalled the back ups I made from the built in XP. It crapped out in another week. I installed the crap home basic XP that came with my roommmate’s computer. So far so good….

  9. duckandcover says:

    I would just like to point out that Apple’s service is less then stellar. Case in point I had a cosmetic problem with my monitor (bright spots caused by pressure to the computer) as well as a broken fan. To get the fan fixed under apple care I would of had to also get the monitor fixed, and a monitor is most definitly not a cheap repair.

  10. boston515 says:

    HP has horrible customer service. The only pleasant experience I have had was the 6 hours on phone tech support a week after I got my laptop during the summer of 2005. The DVD +/- RW wasn’t recognized by the system. Turns out, it wasn’t even installed in the registry. I had to hand-code everything while on the phone with a nice who missed his lunch break to get my DVD player to “work.” Yes, it was finally recognized by my system but still didn’t burn. They refused to cover it under the limited 1 year warranty because it “is not” a factory defect. (My arse!) I purchased an extended warranty last July. I went to redeem it this past January when my hard drive started to “lose” information, only to find out that HP accepted my payment, sent me the paperwork, but did NOT actually give me an extended warranty. It took two months to get the warranty that I paid for and to receive a box to send in my laptop for service. (I’ll be posting in the humorous chat transcripts soon.) I did get a free extra year on my warranty for all the hassle, but it still bugs me that my HP laptop says “COMPAQ” when it boots. (Which, by the way, customer service told me that it is impossible for it to happen and that I was lying.)

  11. Helvetian says:

    @dbeahn: Excellent point. Apple charges a hefty sucharge per use, whereas Gateway for example charges $79 for three years of unlimited support, and replacement parts. It’s an excellent deal, almost tempted to upgrade to the Premium edition for an extra $99 with next day air replacement parts and guaranteed 30 second wait times and one-call resolution promise. I may just do that.

  12. MmeDelta says:

    I’d like to see stats for Time Warner Road Runner. I recently had an issue with them that started when a spammer forged my address and my account was blocked because of the thousands of undeliverable emails that flooded my inbox. When I contacted them for help they reset my password and security question but the techie apparently didn’t know, or didn’t bother to tell me, that I’d have immediate mail service on their webmail page, but pop server access would be blocked for another 24-36 hours until the incident could be further investigated. And then I bounced back and forth between Road Runner telling me it was an Apple problem and Apple being sympathetic and trying to be helpful but not able to do anything since it really was NOT an Apple problem.

  13. Dan2510 says:

    Gateway tech screwed up my new PC DX4200. Right out of the box Vista was all messed up and the tech said to reboot press F8 and select repair PC. Funny thing about that it doesn’t work its corrupt. So, I mentioned to the tech I have a legit copy of XP can I just install that. She said to make a system recover disk first using gateways recovery console. This is the best part, that didn’t work either kept getting crazy error messages. The tech wanted to send me a Recovery CD but shipping is 8-12 days with no expedite available. The tech said its ok to wipe vista and put XP on since the hidden partition will not be deleted, lol guess what it was. Still waiting for that recovery CD. Gateways suck.