The revamp includes a better peer-to-peer support forum for members to trade tips and answer each other's questions about HP products. In addition, HP has added free online classes on subjects like migrating to Windows Vista, wireless computing, and building digital scrapbooks. Online video also has been added to provide tips and tutorials on topics ranging from connecting dual monitors to configuring a TV tuner on a PC.
"Providing a way for customers to assist each other through a community and get better support online helps us achieve our goal of improving customer satisfaction worldwide," Tara Bunch, VP for global customer support operations for HP, said in a statement.
The support changes reflect an increase in the use of online support by customers, HP said. Traffic to the company's Customer Care site increased 18% from January to October, compared with the same period last year.
HP claims improvements it has made in consumer technical support are paying off. Quoting internal surveys, HP says buyer satisfaction improved 30% in October, compared with October 2007, as a result of the launch early this year of a new customer support infrastructure, new call centers, and agent training programs.
Online support forums have a twofold purpose. Besides giving customers a chance to learn from each other, the meeting places are monitored by vendors to identify problems with products and gather customer feedback. Forums and other online technical support also cut down on expensive phone support. HP is rolling out its consumer support forum in English, with other languages being supported later.