Top 5

The top 5 things I look for when buying a computer:

  1. customer service
  2. pleased customers
  3. longevity
  4. reliability
  5. warranty

Should price be one of my factors?   Maybe.   But these 5 should come before price, if you want a pleasant computer buying experience.  Let me explain.
 

Customer Service
Before anything else, I look to see if I’m going to be taken care of.  If my computer breaks, will this company take care of me?  Will they help me save money?  Will they give me reliable advice?  Will they answer all my questions?  Will they be patient with me?  Will I be able to understand them?  Do these people actually know what they’re doing?

Try the following with Dell.  Configure a computer at a competitor’s website.  Make it your dream computer.  Save the configuration and call Dell.  See if you can email them the entire configuration to go over with you.  Ask them if they’ll review each part and explain whether it’s a good part or not.   Is the part reliable?  Is the part you offer better?  Why?  Do I really need this part for my system?  Should I downgrade?  Should I upgrade?  Can I save money?  How?  Can you suggest a better configuration for me?

If they become impatient or irritable, or if they don’t seem to know what they’re talking about, hang up.  Don’t buy a Dell.  When I’m researching a major purchase, I have questions.  And I want answers from someone knowledgeable.  Don’t allow your company to fail the customer service test before you even buy a machine from them.  If they’re unable to answer all your questions pre-sale, do you really think they’ll be able to answer all your questions post-sale?

Find a company who knows what they’re doing.  Find a company who’s willing to answer all your questions.  Find a company who takes care of their customers, pre-sale and post-sale.  Don’t settle for anything less or you may be disappointed in the future.  And this brings me nicely to my second point.
 

Pleased Customers
Find out if people like the company you’re interested in purchasing from.  Check resellerratings.com.  You’ll find thousands of ratings for all kinds of businesses.  Check out Dell’s rating.  Ouch.  That really sucks.  Now check out Puget’s rating.  Wow.  Pretty amazing, isn’t it?  When I was computer shopping, I thought so.  I still do.

There’s absolutely no better way to out how a company will treat you than to check with existing customers.  Resellerratings.com allow you to do so.
 

Longevity
When I buy from a company, I want to know that they’ve been around for a while and that they’ll be around for a lot longer.

Puget’s been around since December of 2000, and they’ve experienced dramatic growth since then.  Not only have they grown in size (they recently purchased a new warehouse, even in this down economy), but they’ve created a concrete reputation for themselves online.  Google “custom computers” and you’ll see what I mean.  When I see a company that’s been around almost 10 years, that’s experienced significant growth in an economy where others are failing, and that’s created such a solid reputation for themselves, the term “longevity” comes to mind.

When talking about longevity, parts should also be considered.  That’s where reliability comes in.
 

Reliability
How do you know the parts inside your computer will be reliable?  Frankly, you don’t.  And unless there’s a way to know, buying a computer becomes a crapshoot.  Fortunately, there is a way to know.  Test a large sample of each part you’re buying, and test the sample group over a long period of time.  Easy!  Compare failure rates and go with the best parts.

Obviously, as a consumer, you can’t do this yourself.  But, you guessed it, Puget already does this.  Does Dell do it?  I don’t know.  Does HP do it?  Who knows?  If they do, they don’t publish the information.  And if they do test all their parts for reliability over time, I doubt they use the most reliable parts, because those parts typically aren’t the cheapest.  You can bet when you buy a cheap machine from a big box store, you’re not getting a computer with the most reliable parts.  The old adage holds true here:  you get what you pay for.

Check out the following quote from Puget’s About Us page:

If a product stands up to our expectations, we still continue to evaluate it over time.  We have the volume to be able to use statistical data to identify reliability trends over time, but we’re also small enough to be very responsive to what we find.  If a product does not cut it, we don’t sell it.  We want to make sure that you as a buyer are comfortable choosing from any of our options, knowing that if we sell it, we stand behind it.

Check out the following article on why Puget decided to move to Corsair power supplies.  It’s a perfect example of how they test parts they sell and make changes based on the statistical data they collect.

Warranty
Some companies stand behind what they sell.  Others do not.  I always check a company’s basic warranty before I buy from them.  You should too.  It seems most computer companies offer a 1 year parts warranty.  O.K.  Sounds good.  Most companies also offer 1 year of free technical support.  Here Puget outshines most other companies.  They offer lifetime technical support.  Yes, you heard me right.  Lifetime.  And another beautiful thing is that none of their customer support is outsourced.  That’s right.  All support issues are handled in-house, by Puget’s own team of experts.

Check out Puget’s warranty information.
 

Conclusion.
Price.  It’s the one obvious omission from my “top 5” list. My latest system was not the cheapest system in the world. But I can rest confident knowing I have a machine that meets my specific needs. Puget’s experts (Jeff especially) helped me build it based on what I planned on using it for. I know the parts inside my machine have been thoroughly tested and are among the most reliable parts in the industry. I am confident I will get excellent support for as long as I own my computer. I only need to look as far as the 714 (currently) reviews on resellerratings.com to satisfy any doubts. I already know I’m going to pay a higher price for this level of quality and service. And I’m willing to do so. But if price is high on your priority list, Puget also has systems for you. Check out the Obsidian.

Obviously I’m a fan of Puget Custom Computers.  That’s why I bought my latest system from them.  And it’s why my sister bought her latest laptop from them.  And it’s why my parents are going to be buying their business computers from them.

Ask any of my friends (or family members).  When they need cameras, computers, speakers, car stereos, software . . . anything technology-related . . . they ask me.  They know I will recommend a high quality product from a high quality company.  They trust me so much they don’t even bother looking for themselves.   Hey, what can I say?


 

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One response to “Top 5

  1. Pingback: Buyer Beware … « Custom Made Computers

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