Originally Posted by Laptop Magazine HP
866-408-5408 (Envy, Touchsmart, HDX, Firebird); 800-474-6836 (Pavilion and Compaq)
HP has been making some big strides to improve its support, including search engine optimization for online queries, a helpful Support Assistant that lives on HP notebooks, and an increased social-networking presence. These improvements help, but HP's phone-based support still needs improvement.
Web & Social Networking
HP's web support page is broken down into three categories: Drivers & Software, Product Support & Troubleshooting, and Support Communities. Entering our product name (HP Envy 17) gave us a list of 25 possible configurations, and clicking on the "How do I find my product name/number?" link led to an even more confusing page. Fortunately, there's also a "detect your product" button. In the Support Forum, topics are divided by the different components (operating system, audio, display, etc.).
On the notebook itself, the HP Support Assistant utility is top-notch. Divided into four sections (Maintain, Troubleshoot, Learn, and Get Assistance), this utility is intuitive and will help install updates. The Support Assistant also provides instructions on how to clean up the desktop, back up the notebook, and more.
A search for "HP" on Twitter brings up four feeds:
Official News, Official Store, HP Labs, and a fourth, generic, HP. However, @HPSupport is the Twitter feed for Jeff, HP's "social media ambassador," who responds to a fair number of people who tweet him with problems they're having with their systems. Too bad he didn't answer our tweet.
On Facebook, there's an HP page for seemingly every country, as well as HP for Home, HP for Students, HP for Small Business. A link to Support on the HP for Home page doesn't let you submit a question, but it has links to HP's online support via its website.
HP has different support numbers for its various product lines (Envy, HDX, Pavilion, Presario, and Touchsmart). During a late-night call (about 11 p.m. EST) to the Pavilion line, we went through three voice prompts and then were put on hold for 4 minutes. Ripon from Calcutta took our call, and while he was pleasant, he rushed through some of the standard script. After asking what the problem was (pinch-to-zoom not working on our dm3), he took our serial number and put us on hold for another 2 minutes. When he came back, he asked to take control of our notebook remotely. Then, he went right to the control panel and activated pinch-to-zoom. In total, the call took 31 minutes.
We then tested HP's premium Envy support. At about 12:30 p.m., we were immediately connected to Meoni in the southern United States. Meoni also rushed through the scripted parts of the call. After hearing our question (we wanted to set up a kid-safe profile), she put us on hold for about 5 minutes. While she knew how to set up a different user profile, she didn't know that you could set up controls to block access during certain hours and days. Meoni walked us through the steps as she was doing the same on an Envy 17. We then asked her about Windows Live Family Safety (which also lets you block access to certain websites). She didn't know anything about that, either, but e-mailed us a link to download it. This call took roughly 30 minutes.
The third call we made (to the Envy support line at about 5 p.m.) was answered by Claire. This time, we asked how we could play World of Warcraft in 3D on the Envy 17. This, too, took some work, as Claire had to read through the 3D documentation herself, and she didn't make it clear initially that we had to launch the program using the TriDef Ignition software. However, she patiently waited while W.O.W. went through one of its lengthy updates, and she was able to guide us through to getting the game running in 3D. This call lasted about 28 minutes.Verdict
We like that HP is embracing social media and that its in-notebook utilities help not only fix problems, but also prevent them from occurring in the first place. However, for many consumers, tech support begins and ends with the call centers, and HP slipped a bit from last year. We eventually got accurate answers, but it took us a while--and a little prompting on our part--to get there.