Reliability and Service: Readers Rate the Manufacturers

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What the Reliability and Service Measures Mean

Reliability Measures

  • Problems on Arrival (All Devices) Based on the percentage of a brand's owners who reported a problem when they first received their device.
  • Any Hardware or Software Problem (All Devices) Based on the percentage of a brand's owners who reported one or more problems during the life of the device.
  • Failed Component (Desktop and Notebook PCs) Based on the percentage of a brand's owners who reported replacing one or more original parts because these failed.
  • Severe Problems (Printers, Cameras, Gateways, Audio Players) Based on the percentage of a brand's owners who said they had a problem serious enough to cause them to contact tech support.
  • Failed Core Component (Desktop and Notebook PCs) Based on the percentage of a brand's owners who reported the failure of a CPU, a graphics card, a hard drive, a motherboard, a power supply, or RAM.
  • Product's Ease of Use (Printers, Cameras, Gateways, Audio Players) Based on the brand owners' rating, on a seven-point scale, of the ease of working with the device and any accompanying software.
  • Satisfaction With Reliability (All Devices) Based on the brand owners' rating, on a seven-point scale, of their satisfaction with the device's reliability.

Service Measures (Desktop PCs, Notebook PCs, Printers Only)

  • Phone Hold Time Based on the average time a brand's owners reported waiting on hold to speak with a tech-support rep.
  • Phone Rating Based on the cumulative score from a question in which we asked brand owners to rate, on a seven-point scale, several aspects of their experience in phoning the company's tech support. Among these were whether the information was easy to understand and whether the support rep spoke clearly.
  • Failure to Resolve Problem Based on the percentage of a brand's owners who said that their problem was not resolved to their satisfaction.
  • Service Experience Based on the cumulative score from a question in which we asked brand owners to rate, on a seven-point scale, aspects of their service experience. These included whether the vendor fulfilled its commitments and whether it showed concern for the situation.
Laurianne McLaughlin is a freelance writer based in Massachusetts. PC World's Edward N. Albro, Grace Aquino, Kalpana Ettenson, and Lisa Huck also contributed to this article.
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