Two-thirds of consumers have problems connecting and setting up technical devices. This resulted in a study commissioned by the IT industry association Bitkom.
While just under half of 14 to 29-year-olds consider themselves to be sufficiently competent to be able to manage installations on their own, older people face significant problems. Where can you find help setting up your smartphone, computer and other technical equipment?
You need to be aware of this when setting up a PC for children
Product Guide, Service Hotlines, and Chats
First point of contact is the product manual. “An instruction manual must explain the functions of the device and the corresponding use,” explains Katharina Grasl of the consumer advice center Bavaria. In addition, it must sufficiently point out possible dangers and safety risks. “If a device has no or only insufficient instructions, consumers may be entitled to supplementary performance.” This means that the dealer or manufacturer must submit sufficient instructions. If this is not possible, the buyer can withdraw from the purchase contract.
But not always supplied instructions for use help. According to the Bitkom study, every second person finds it helpful when commissioning a new device. You want to use the new device but of course anyway. It is obvious then to contact the customer service of the manufacturer. A first port of call may be the company’s website. Frequently asked questions (FAQ) are answered there – sometimes with well-comprehensible step-by-step instructions. Another possibility is provided by the service hotlines and chats of the manufacturers.
Often these offers are free. For hotlines, for example, this can be recognized by a 0800 area code. On the other hand, if a hotline is chargeable, a call from the European Court of Justice may not be more expensive than a normal landline call, explains Georg Tryba from the consumer advice center of North Rhine-Westphalia.
Problems with hotlines
However, such service offers partly help only conditionally. Stiftung Warentest, for example, has examined the quality of service hotlines and chats of several telecommunications companies. The result: Chat robots almost never understood the questions, but responded only to keywords. And even the chats with real employees did poorly. Somewhat better was the advice given by employees at telephone hotlines. Nevertheless, all tested hotlines in the point “problem solving” cut off only with the grades “sufficient” or “poor”.
The Verbraucherzentrale NRW has also tested the company’s support offerings: In the event of questions or complaints via Facebook or the website, customers did not receive an answer in every seventh case. However, half of the requests were processed via Facebook within an hour – who hopes for quick help, so it can certainly try there.
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Ask explanatory videos or acquaintances
Elsewhere there are offers on the Internet for self-help: forum contributions, step-by-step instructions on the pages of technology magazines or explanatory videos on Youtube & Co. “For smaller concerns, it may be useful to seek help on the Internet,” says Georg Tryba. However, one should not overestimate his abilities. Because who makes it by mistake something breaks, the damage is not replaced. “A Youtube tutorial does not make a computer scientist,” warns Tryba.
If you prefer to be helped personally, you can also find advice offline. Anyone who bought his device in the shop can hope for help there. Even tech-savvy acquaintances are good contacts. Especially for seniors, there are also a variety of offers such as open question time at charities. The municipal senior offices also offer courses and meetings. As part of the action “Consultation Internet” about savvy volunteers continue their technical and Internet reports. And at many adult education centers, there are beginner courses for dealing with smartphones and Co.
Anyone facing major technical problems can, of course, turn to commercial helpers. “The involvement of technical service providers can be useful, for example, if several components from different manufacturers or several systems are to be linked together,” says Katharina Grasl. However, you should first inform yourself about the costs and check the reputability of the provider by searching the Internet.