Calling Dell

Regardless of the apocryphal tech support phone call horror stories, calling Dell for hardware service is quite easy. For these systems you will speak with someone in the US (I've even spoken with someone who volunteered that she was a Spartan). The first person you speak with will ask some simple (and perhaps pointless) questions, you should have no trouble knowing from the context of the question how to answer so that your call will be promoted to the higher level of support for resolution.

Before you call
  1. Do the obvious debugging to verify the problem. For bad DIMMs, swap the DIMM to another slot to isolate DIMM vs. mainboard issues.
  2. For server components, have the system service tag (7 character) and express service numbers (10 digit).
    1. For servers
      omreport chassis info
    2. For attached storage
      omreport storage enclosure controller=#
    3. You may want to look up the phoentic alphabet for the service tag for easier communication
  3. (Optional) Check the warranty status of the machine at<Service Tag>
  4. (Optional) You may want to run a dset on the machine
  5. For order issues, have the order number.
Calling Expect the call to take 15 minutes or so. Actual holding times are short, less that 1 minute.
  1. Call Dell's Higher Education number: 1-(800) 274-7799
  2. After the short introduction, say 'technical support', then at the next prompt say 'storage' or 'server' depending on what service you need.
  3. Speak with person who will ask some simple questions. Have patience with this person --- they aren't the technical support but will forward your call to a technical person
  4. Depending on the issue, you will usually be forwarded to part of Dell's Triage Team. They will handle any simple problems, such as a failed hard drive, including collecting your information and sending a confirmation email
  5. Talk with technical support person, this person will either help you debug or if you have reasonably debugged the issue, will accept your explanation
    • Higher level ??? never been here...
  6. Resolution person, this person will take the information needed to ship the replacement (or send field technician?)
  7. If the shipping order happens before 3 PM, usually the part will arrive the next morning.
Chatting Dell's website refers to a service where you chat online with a representative. This can be faster than a phone call for simple replacements, and maybe also for more complex problems. I prefer it only when no diagnosis is needed. Only works in IE. Works fine with a current Firefox on OSX.

-- TomRockwell - 16 Nov 2007
Topic revision: r8 - 31 Jul 2013, JamesKoll
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