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(Nikkei BP Group)

(No.1 High-Tech News Site in Japanese)

  • Older PC Users in Japan Accept Fee-Based Suppport
  • January 5, 1999 (TOKYO) — The older the PC user in Japan, the more he or she accepts paying for user support services, a new survey by the Japan Useware Association (JUA) revealed.
    In the survey, nearly half of PC users complained that it is extremely difficult to reach the manufacturer’s customer support service section by telephone.

    The survey was conducted by telephone on Oct. 17 and 18, and on the Internet from Oct.22 through 25. The users who responded by telephone totaled 52, and those who responded on the Internet, 920.

    Of the 972 respondents, 25.9 percent said they began using the user support service because a PC hang-up occurred, 21.7 percent said they could not connect their computer with the Internet and 17.4 percent said they could not install software.

    Nearly half, or 47 percent, of the respondents complained that it is difficult to reach user support service by telephone. A smaller group, 16.6 percent, said they could not solve their problems even after they contacted customer support service and 13.2 percent complained that customer support service is not available on Saturdays, Sundays and at night.

    Reflecting this situation, many users said they do not rely on customer support when they have problems with their PCs. Nearly half, 45.5 percent, said they solved the problems on their own, and 41.7 percent said they consulted with their friends. Self-reliance and asking friends are the two top problem solvers.

    By contrast, those who contacted hardware manufacturers (or vendors) for support accounted for only 37.8 percent, and those who contacted software vendors, 14.6 percent.

    In answering the question about what was more helpful in solving PC problems, customer support service or friends, many said friends.

    Asked about the idea of paying for customer-support service, 32.9 percent said they do not mind paying for the service if the service is helpful enough to solve their problems. The higher the user’s age, the greater percentage of the users supported the idea of pay services. Among the users in their 50s, 50 percent supported the idea.

    The association said it will study the feasibility of offering pay service for older users that will cover areas that fall outside makers’ customer support service.

    (BizTech News Dept.)

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