Dell Simplifies Support for Small Business

By Lauren Simonds | Posted February 06, 2008

Dell didn't grow from a small business building desktop computers into a Fortune 500 corporation selling technology around the world by avoiding innovation. And the company's latest news indicates that innovation is still alive and well in Round Rock, Texas.

The company has announced ProSupport, a new model of technical support that encompasses the company's entire line of commercial products – laptops, desktops, servers and storage – on a global level. Rather than a traditional, one-size-fits-all approach, which at Dell took the form of 10 different service options, the company now offers two customizable packages based on your company's technical IQ.

Dell designed the two packages, ProSupport for End-Users and ProSupport for IT, to fulfill the distinctly different needs of tech-savvy and not-so-tech-savvy companies. Tim Mixon, a Dell senior marketing manager, said that the company realized it needed to change. "We're breaking the mold of traditional support by taking a good look at our customers and how they need to be supported," he said.

Mixon added that ProSupport for End-Users is designed for companies that "don't have any IT support, they're focused on growing their business. They want technology that works, and they need quick answers."

ProSupport for End-Users also offers common application support for everyday problems. "If you have a problem in QuickBooks, need to make a pivot table in Excel, have a Photoshop question or need help configuring your wireless connection, we can help," Mixon said.

ProSupport for the End-User includes these features:

  • 24x7 access to Dell experts to help keep your systems up and running
  • "How-To" support and Getting Started advice for software applications including Norton AntiVirus, Microsoft Office, Microsoft Small Business Server, Intuit QuickBooks, Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Acrobat
  • Collaborative support for select third-party hardware and software vendors
  • Single point-of-contact escalation management with customer-controlled severity levels
  • Global Command Centers to manage critical situations, monitor all onsite mission-critical dispatches, and provide proactive crisis management coordination and communication during events such as natural disasters.

On the other end of the spectrum, the ProSupport for IT package is designed for companies that have their own IT person or people. "They need resolution too, but we work with them differently," said Mixon. They've identified the problem, and they want to be fast-tracked. We skip the mandatory trouble-shooting  -- if they want to – and go directly to shipping parts or rolling out a technician."

ProSupport for IT includes these features:

  • Fast-track dispatch parts and labor, bypassing basic troubleshooting (certification required)
  • 7x24 direct access to Dell Expert Centers
  • Access to Dell IT professional training and certification
  • Collaborative support for select third-party hardware and software vendors
  • Single point-of-contact escalation management with customer-defined severity levels
  • Global Command Centers to manage critical situations, monitor all mission-critical onsite dispatches, and provide proactive crisis management coordination and communication during events such as natural disasters.

Both ProSupport service packages go beyond problems with Dell products by offering support for third-party hardware and software. Carey Gumbert, the ProSupport product manager, said that Dell has moved beyond the typical "break/fix" mentality to look at how a customer actually uses technology and to focus on solving the problem.

"We're committed to collaborative support," Gumbert said. "No more finger pointing. We'll get Microsoft or VMWare on the phone and be the single point of resolution for our customers."

Here's a full list of the third-party hardware and software vendors that both of Dell's ProSupport packages support.

ProSupport is a global program that crosses all of Dell's commercial product lines including PowerVault and Dell/EMC servers. It also spans the gamut from small business all the way up to the enterprise, which, Gumbert said, means that ProSupport grows with your company.

Pricing varies depending on the products. For example, ProSupport starts at $299 (three-year on-site service) for entry-level PowerEdge Server products.

ProSupport for a Vostro desktop starts at $39 (one-year, on-site service) and it costs $99 (one-year, on-site service) for a Vostro notebook. Contact Dell for more specific pricing.

Lauren Simonds is the managing editor of SmallBusinessComputing.com

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