Many of our customers are traders or finance professionals of one form or another, computer downtime is something which needs to be avoided if possible and then minimised when it does happen.
An unfortunate reality of computers is that it is impossible for anybody to guarantee that any PC will continue to work for a specific length of time. There are many different components that go into assembling a modern computer and a failure in any of them can lead to an inoperable system.
Testing To Avoid Problems In The First Place
If you look at the expected lifespan of components you find that if a part is going to find then it will generally fail very early into its working life, for this reason we carry out 32 hours of extensive stress testing on every computer we build before it leaves us for dispatch.
That testing attempts to weed out any potentially weak or faulty components before they reach our customers, and it generally does a great job, our onsite failure rates are extremely low meaning that our customers enjoy computers that work right out of the box are highly reliable over the long term.
As mentioned though, failures can still occur and when they do it is important that we get our customers back up and running as quickly as possible.
Computer Support Insights
After spending years building and supporting machines for the professional market we have come to the following insights.
- Shit happens. Occasionally even the most professional systems, built with high quality and reliable parts, that have been extensively stress tested, can still go on to develop a fault. It can be frustrating for all parties but it's something that is unavoidable at times.
- Nobody enjoys a dead computer, particularly traders. For anyone relying on their computer for their income or business, a faulty or dead computer is worse than useless, it can become a real liability which needs sorting out as quickly as possible.
- The most common internal failures we see are (in this order): RAM, Graphics Card, Power Supply, Motherboard, Hard Drive.
- Most customers are capable of handling minor hardware changes themselves with a small amount of guidance.
- Many 'local' or 'nationwide' IT support personal are not particularly skilled workers and should only be used for straight-forward tasks that a customer is not comfortable tackling themselves.
- Sometimes there is no avoiding a machine having to come back to the workshop for a full systems diagnosis and repair. Certain hardware replacements are difficult to carry out onsite and it is very difficult to properly test hardware changes in a customer's office or home location due to the length of time it can take.
Many of these insights have been hard-earned whilst dealing with issues for our customers over the years and all have been proved true on multiple occasions.
How Most Computer Retailers Handle Faults
Pretty much all computer retailers in the UK handle problems in the same way, it ends up with you returning the PC to them for repair work.
The reality is that for a computer retailer it is just not feasible to be able to send out computer technicians / engineers across the country to support customers in their own homes or offices.
The cost of this kind of operation make it extremely expensive to provide.
Due to this the standard warranty on a new computer is usually some combination of collect and return with parts and labour charges included for a certain length of time.
This means if your computer has a problem which they can't resolve over the phone or via email then they will get you to package up the computer and will get a courier to collect it and bring it back to them for service / repair
Essentially you are without your computer for at least 3 – 4 days, that is 1 – 2 days to get a courier collection booked in and to get the machine back to them, then however long it takes them to fix the issue and re-test the system, finally there will be at least 1 more day to get a courier to redeliver it back to you.
In reality 3 – 4 days will likely mean 6 – 7 working days at a minimum and potentially a couple of weeks depending on how quick they are at getting around to looking at and then repairing the machine.
Standard Warranty Terms for Most Retailers
- Collect & Return means that the retailer will pay for collection and return of the PC to and from you for repair.
- R.T.B. or Return To Base means that you are expected to pay the courier costs to return you machine for repair and for it then to be returned to you.
- Parts & Labour means that the retailer will not charge you for any replacement parts or any labour charges to diagnose and fix the issues.
- Labour only means the retailer will not charge you to look at or carry out any repair work to the PC but if replacement parts are required you will be charged for these.
We Think There Is A Better Way
Being without your computer for any length of time can be a real problem for a trader or any other professional who relies on their PC for their work, so asking you to send it away with a potential wait of 1 – 2 weeks to get it back just isn't workable.
Taking into account our years of experience in this field we have put together the following support package for our customers:
Onsite Support / Replacement PC Service / Collect & Return
Our goal is to get you back up and running as quickly as possible, the way to do this is dependent on the fault that you have.
First of all we will discuss the fault with you via email or telephone (whichever you prefer) and if we determine you have a hardware fault then there are three possible routes for resolving this:
1. We send you the replacement parts to be with you the next working day with instructions on how to swap them.
This is primarily for RAM or Graphics Card failures.
Most customers can (with a little remote assistance / guides) swap the system RAM or a graphics card in roughly 10 minutes. Once some faulty RAM or a faulty graphics card has been swapped a computer will be back to full working operation instantly.
In these cases if a failure occurs you will be back running at full capacity within 1 working day.
We cover the cost of couriers and replacement parts with the understanding that you will make available faulty parts for us to collect at a convenient time for you.
Remember that the most common failures are the RAM or graphics cards, so many potential problems can be resolved in 1 working day without you having to send the PC away.
2. We will pay for a 'local' IT support person to replace a part within 1 – 2 working days.
Sometimes a customer is incapable of swapping a part or the part may be a more involved job to swap, something like a power supply for example.
In these instances we will liaise with a local (to you) IT support person and pay for them to attend your machine and perform this work for you.
If this course of action is required then we will cover the replacement component fees and any associated fees for the support person to attend your machine.
Sometimes this can take a day or two longer to arrange depending on your location and the availability of support in your area.
3. We will send you a replacement PC on loan whilst we bring your PC back to the workshop for repair.
In a limited number of cases there is little that can be done to avoid the need of bringing a computer back into our workshop to diagnose a fault and implement a repair.
Sometimes it is impossible to diagnose a fault without looking at the machine, likewise if a motherboard is failing then it is very difficult to arrange a successful swap of this using 3rd party technicians due to the complex nature of the swap and potential for further damage caused to the machine.
In these rare cases we will send you out a replacement computer, one that matches the number of screens you need to support and is of a similar specification level to your existing machine.
You can use this machine whilst we bring your computer back into our workshop for repair.
Many trading and web platforms allow you to access them via either a quick download or through a web interface using your own login details.
Although we fully realise that this is nowhere near as convenient as having your own computer up and running, in previous situations we have received positive feedback from customers who have been happy that they can at least trade / work whilst their main computer is properly repaired and tested before being returned to them.
We cover all the courier costs associated with supplying the loan machine, picking up your faulty unit and then swapping them both again after the repair has been completed.
Onsite / Replacement / Collect
This three-pronged approach ensures that you get back up and running as quickly as possible in the case of a hardware failure
It's about being realistic and clear with you.
We promise to do our best to ensure that your machine arrives working and stays that way over the long term.
That is exactly what happens for the vast majority of our customers.
If something does go wrong then we will work with you to get you back up and running in the quickest possible way.
We will not make you wait days for a reply to support questions and will not expect you to be without your PC for weeks whilst we get around to fixing it.
You can take this cover for 1, 2 or 3 years on any of our computers, at the point of order.
Going Further – 5 Year Cover For All
We also pledge to look after you for the long term as well, no matter how long you want the Onsite / Replacement / Collect service for.
That means we offer a free labour service for all fault finding and hardware repairs for 5 years from the point of purchase.
This 5 year cover runs alongside the enhanced Onsite / Replacement / Collect cover, so if you take that out for 1 year then you will have 4 years of extra labour cover left at the expiry of that.
If your Onsite / Replacement / Collect cover is for 3 years, then when that ends you still have 2 years of free labour cover left.
During your free labour cover period you simply need to cover the courier costs to return the machine to us, and then any hardware replacement costs that may be incurred in a fix scenario.
This 5 year cover is provided alongside our free email, telephone and remote access support for the lifetime of your PC, so no matter when you purchased it, if anything goes wrong or you have a question you can get in touch and we will provide as much assistance as we can.
Hopefully you will agree our Onsite / Replacement / Collect service, combined with 5 year labour cover and free lifetime telephone, email and remote access support goes above and beyond the standard collect & return warranties provided by other companies.
Written by Darren @ Multiple Monitors
Last Updated: August, 2018