This is a subscriber-only article. Join Entrepreneur+ today for access

Learn More

Already have an account?

Sign in

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Who hasn't had some nightmarish experience dealing with atechnology vendor? Maybe you've purchased a PC and had to waiton hold for what seemed like an eternity to fix a problem. Or maybeyou've experienced some software glitch and the only way thetechie at your Internet service provider (ISP) wanted to deal withyou was through e-mail.

Yet while we've become accustomed to grumbling about poortreatment from PC vendors, software companies and ISPs, there areforces changing all that. Industry insiders say that as the PC andsoftware industries mature, customer service is becoming moreimportant. And as competition continues to heat up among ISPs, somebelieve customers will make their choices based on reliability andservice rather than on price. The bottom line: Customer service isdramatically improving, which means you should begin to expect morefrom these companies.

A surprising factor contributing to improved customer serviceamong PC vendors is what Elena Christopher, industry analyst atWestborough, Massachusetts, research firm Dataquest, calls the"warranty take-back trend." While three-year warrantieswere commonplace just a few years ago, one-year warranties are nowstandard. Likewise, within the last year most hardware companies,including Compaq, IBM, Dell and Hewlett Packard, have moved fromfree lifetime technical support to a 30- to 90-day start-upperiod--and then charge for follow-up support at an average of $32per incident. With customers now paying for support, saysChristopher, PC vendors are feeling the pressure to providehigher-quality service.

The rest of this article is locked.

Join Entrepreneur+ today for access.

Subscribe Now

Already have an account? Sign In