Who is your pick for most tech company that responds best to customer needs in the market?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by lovelaptops, Dec 13, 2018.

  1. lovelaptops

    lovelaptops My friends call me Jeff Senior Member

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    We spend a lot of time bashing companies for increasingly consumer-hostile behaviors, worsening customer support, callous design decisions that don't even increase profits but reflect some combination of arrogance/indifference/laziness in product design, and other behaviors among the major producers of tech equipment and OSs. (I've put this under "Hardware" because the only software I lump into this category are OS's and productivity software and Mcrosoft, Apple and Google are now all hardware companies and most of the grief I refer to is in hardware product.

    I'm looking for nominations - and justifications - for the unsung heroes of the tech world, the companies we should patronize because they do things right, and seem to want to do right by customers, and are responsive when they make mistakes and consumers - and the few truly ethical tech press - let them know. Note: as I wrote this I realized that pretty much none of the companies give a hoot about customer support, so consider this thread about companies that are customer-centric their product designs, not when you have a problem with your device. I recommend relying on vendors and extended warranties to get the support you won't get from any manufacturer I am aware of - let me know if there are some who break that mold too!

    I'll kick it off (not necessarily in order):

    1) Samsung - They don't always get it right, but they keep trying and they are very prolific at turning out new products and product forms such that, if I could only have one hardware company to buy from, for the next 3 years, I'd probably bet on Samsung. A huge demerit is that they have abominable customer service. The way I justify buying Samsung product is that I rely on the retailers and the extended wtty companies to keep me from getting hosed when a product screws up.

    2) Asus - Talk about the little engine that could! Their catalog is so broad and deep it's very difficult to decide which of 3-6 versions of each product class they have in production to choose. Their customer satisfaction ratings on Amazon and the like show that people love most of their products and only hate the few with quality problems because - yes, them too! - their customer support is awful! One bonus with Asus is most of their products are also distributed by the high end system builders, so not only can you get good support, but you can also buy things customized to suit your needs. I can say from personal experience that with fewer and fewer exceptions, their products last and last. They're built strong and they stay that way, and their pricing is excellent.

    3) HP - This is not "your father's HP"- nor your grandfathers! (See Brief History*, below.) HP certainly has its faults - like pretty much every tech consumer mfr, their customer service is uneven at best, and mostly awful. I repeat the same caveats: buy from a vendor you trust, get a warranty from a warranty company you trust. As for products, HP has become among the most innovative in the space. I won't go into detail here as you all know more about their product line than I do, but they have really cleaned up their act, even in the consumer space to a large degree, and not only is their Spectre line (X360, Folio) turning out computers that are jewel-like in their quality, but also often class-leading. They not only have a huge variety (I would stay away from their cheaper Pavilion and Envy lines) but their upgrade cycles are nearly miraculous, as short as 4 months, rarely more than 6 months, and when significant new silicon is released by Intel, nVidia or AMD, it's in their computers and tablets within 2 months, maximum.

    *[Brief History (see also, Wikipedia, Google, lol!) "Your father's" refers to the horrific company that HP became around 2000 and continued through 2015 when it made the crappiest hardware, had abysmal quality control and took a run at destroying an iconic tech brand from the 60s; "your grandfather's would be the aforementioned iconic brand known for scientific instrumentation and calculators, from the 60s well into the 21st century. Carly Fiorina, beginning 1999, worked hard to reinvent the company into a monstrosity and where her acquisitions weren't themselves imbecillic her terrible integration of them was. She was succeeded by a couple of losers, who nearly finished off the company until Meg Whitman came in, divested the worst of the acquisitions, developed a sensible strategic plan and spun the corporation off into 2 companies: Enterprise, now known as Hewlett Packard Enterprise (IT services) and HP (consumer products - PCs, printers, accessories as well as "enterprise-class" PC products.) Btw, before Carly Fiorina came in and nearly destroyed the company in 2000, it was also long known as the best company to work for in America, the jewel of Silicon Valley, and the best corporate citizen in the U.S.]

    Your inputs don't need to be long like mine - nobody's posts are long like mine! :oops: But to kick this off I wanted to make it clear what I had in mind. Still, I'm far from the most knowledgeable in this arena, so take it off in whatever direction makes sense. Also, I'm not really familiar with the small guys, eg, Razer, some of the Chinese companies, so please add them.

    I'm thinking maybe I should have titled this: Microsoft, Apple and Google treat us so badly, and are so easy to hate - who do you like?!!! Please, let's not make this a gripe thread. Compliments only!!

    EDIT: Amazon
    belongs at the top of my list! I don't love their tech products, but they are a company that knows how to delight their customers. I wish they would do more product manufacturing, but they have thus far seemed to prefer to make very low cost devices, and they are now so focused on Alexa that I doubt they will get into the advanced device space anytime soon.
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2018
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  2. Marty

    Marty Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    In order for this not to become a gripe thread, I'd like to suggest we focus on the positive experiences (instead of comparing the least horrible :p).

    In my own experience, overall the award probably goes to Amazon. (I know they aren't on your list, but they are a tech company ;)). They strike me as having the most consistent good-to-satisfactory service: which is to say native English-speakers, willing to compensate customers for errors, prompt action and confirmation notices, and an overall simple and efficient returns process.

    In terms of traditional OEMs, the best experience I've had is in a Canadian MS Store (c. 2014) where the store manager very personally helped me return a Surface Pro 3 and offered me full trade-in value on a SP1/2 Touch Cover to upgrade to a Type Cover. She enthusiastically discussed modern tablet UX with me and offered me her business card and an invitation to join a VR/AR special interest group that was being held at the location.

    I was quite floored by the whole experience and it's never left my mind since.
     
  3. lovelaptops

    lovelaptops My friends call me Jeff Senior Member

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    I totally agree with you. I meant to put Amazon on my list as well! I do not mean for this to be a gripe thread at all!
     
  4. Kumabjorn

    Kumabjorn ***** is back Senior Member

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    The lower you are on the totem pole, the harder you have to work to convince the market that you belong. So in my view companies like Huawei, ZTE, LG are the climbers trying hard to come up with new ways to satisfy consumer needs (and in some cases perhaps on order and in collusion with their government).

    The surprise here is that the Japanese companies, VAIO, Toshiba, Fujitsu all have lost momentum and really need to come up with some interesting new solutions to regain their former glory, seems content to settle for a descending domestic market. And even here they are facing new competition from people like Iiyama and Mouse Computing.

    Sent from my GT-N5110 using Tapatalk
     
  5. lovelaptops

    lovelaptops My friends call me Jeff Senior Member

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    Disappointing to hear about the Japanese companies losing their edge; they all made outstanding product in the past truly innovative and high quality at times. So many examples but the Sony Vaio "Z" business laptops in 2008-2013 (the precursors to the excellent "Vaio Z" after Sony sold the Vaio brand and exited the computer market (as Toshiba may be on the verge if doing) and the early Toshiba tablet PCs (that helped give birth to this wonderful forum.) Note that in 2015 it was "announced" (by whom I never was sure) that Samsung would likewise exit the PC market and I for one am so glad that instead they took a breather for a year or so and then produced some it's finest products, all with the vaunted S-pen and many with stunning AMOLED displays.

    The Chinese products I've used have been uniformly well made and feature-rich. I do hope the political trade issues (and I don't only mean the Trump tariffs - I don't think anyone is happy over IP or potential espionage - against any country.) But in terms of quality and value, the Chinese branded products appear superb, as does the workmanship on all the Made In China non-Chinese brands - Korean, American, Japanese. Has anyone had experience with customer support from any Chinese brand?
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2018
  6. thatcomicsguy

    thatcomicsguy Pen Pro - Senior Member Senior Member

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    When I was a kid we were just coming to the end of that period when, "Made in Japan" meant "Crap". Boy, did that ever change, and many of us grew up in a world which reaped the benefits!

    And during the last two decades we've watched the same transformation take place wrt "Made in China".

    I wonder if perhaps India will follow suit?

    As for best tech company...

    That's a tough one!

    I like Dell for both hardware and support. -Despite my recent misadventures with their Dell Canvas; the support staff did their level best to help me out, but were stymied by their own built-in limitations. Namely, when it came to faulty drivers, they had no ability to do anything other then send signals up the line which they told me frankly were unlikely to be responded to. After that, they were unable to do anything and since the hardware wasn't broken, they basically fired me. However, I have to give them positive marks for the fact that I got a smart and friendly American rep who kept in touch with me via phone and email over a few days, and who was up front about what could and could not be expected. No waiting on the line for hours only to get some evasive shirker who was there merely clocking time and using a bunch of sneaky tricks to do as little as possible to actually solve my issue while still technically fulfilling his contract.

    Dell's Latitude line are designed to be serviced; the user can open them up easily and get at all the vital parts quickly. On the older models, (I don't know about the new ones), the hard drives could be swapped out without even taking off the back panel! Just unscrew at two points, and slide out the drive from the side. What a great design! Compare that to any other machine.

    Beyond that, I do like Samsung; their QC is top notch. I think their philosophy is that if they put all their effort into making machines which are simply never DOA, and if they provide an impeccable automated driver support system, then they don't need a customer support division in the first place. When a user does fall between the cracks, it's best to simply return a device and start over. The one drawback with Samsung is that there appears to be no court of appeals, so to speak, so that when little forums like this one raise concerns, (like, "Why is there no decent pen driver??") it doesn't even fall on deaf ears. It falls on no ears at all. I'm also not a fan of their draconian region specific models. If one follows the rules, then Canada (along with many other countries), simply aren't "allowed" access to some of their premium product lines.

    Waaaay beneath them...

    I just bought a USB wired Cherry keyboard. It's awesome! What a great keyboard! I like Cherry. (Though I have no idea what their customer support is like. But from the quality of the hardware I just received, I suspect I won't need to find out.) Cherry is a German manufacturer, and I would expect no less.

    I also like Zoom for their digital recorders and mic gear. But that's a whole other category. They're Japanese, I believe!
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2018
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  7. lovelaptops

    lovelaptops My friends call me Jeff Senior Member

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    Last edited: Dec 13, 2018
  8. Marty

    Marty Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    Positivity, positivity! :p
     
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  9. YVerloc

    YVerloc Scribbler - Standard Member

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    I'll put my two cents in for Samsung. They really do try out a lot of different experimental things - I like that. It's much preferable to foisting some kind of messianic 'vision' upon your customers. Try a bunch of stuff and see what the customers like - it's strangely humble considering it's a monstrously huge company.

    HP hasn't got a dime from me since the days of their terrible terrible printer-scanners. But the new gear looks surprisingly good! Kudos to them for turning it around.

    Despite my awful experience with the Surface Book 2, I'm not done being excited about Microsoft and the Surface line of products. They really are making products for people like me. Lots of frustrating near misses. The surface studio - soooo close! The SB2 - sooooo close, so frustratingly close. The SB2 nearly broke my heart. As near misses go it was like /almost/ catching a baseball but having it hit you in the nuts instead. Close but OUCH. They are being seriously held back by the windows team and its terrible software quality. I hope they keep trying and get it right.

    I've also got to give my begrudging thanks to Apple. The ipad in one form or another has been my workhorse device for surfing and doodling these past eight years.
     
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  10. nyb72

    nyb72 Scribbler - Standard Member

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    For me, it's clearly Samsung based solely on how they are clearly trying to shove an S-Pen up everyone's.... hands, which is perfectly fine with me!

    I mean, what would I be doing without Samsung Wacom EMR on my Note phone or GB12? I'd probably have some gangly workflow combination of an Asus VTN8 with my old Motion J3500 just to use EMR. Or obsessively lurk on Ebay to find that one-off Fujitsu tablet. Or I'd begrudgingly use a Pencil (and it's stupid charging scheme) and be annoyed with feeling fenced in with iOS. It's a fate too horrible to contemplate without the Samsung option...
     
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