It doesn’t matter if you are a seasoned computer user or brand new to the world of PC’s at one time or another you will need some help. Unfortunately there are countless stories about outsourced and uninformed support centers that leave you more frustrated than when you started. Many companies are now claiming they will provide you the best support if you buy from them. Others will charge you extra if you want premium support, but here is something we haven’t seen in a while, a company willing to offer help, for free, no strings attached.
LanSlide PC’s are offering help to anyone with a computer question regardless of if you purchased a system from them or not. They have created a section on their website where you can submit questions on anything computer related from buying to building and maintaining. Once you submit your issues someone from LanSlide will contact you within 48 hours and that is all there is to it.
We had to look into this because many people have complained that it takes longer than 48 hours to get a response from a big name corporation. Also, we wanted to make sure there wasn’t any trickery going on. It is a rule on the net that if its free it costs too much because you will end up worse than you started but Justin Melendez from LanSlide PC’s assures us it is on the up and up and agreed to address our concerns and answer our questions.
Obsolete Gamer: This does sound like a great idea, but the first question is the one you mentioned in your press release. What is the main reasoning behind this new program?
Justin Melendez: That’s a good question! It’s one we’ve asked ourselves many times over the last few weeks. To be honest, it just seemed like something people would like. We gave a talk at Connecticon about how to build, buy, or fix gaming computers, and we told everyone there that they should feel free to e-mail us for help. The response was so positive; we thought we’d try opening it up to everyone and see how it goes. From our point of view, doing positive stuff for the gaming community will pay off in the long run, so we’re not worrying too much about what will happen in the short term. If you want to get technical, the idea is that building trust by helping people will help the business, and we think this is the sort of thing that could take off virally very well.
Obsolete Gamer: It is certainly true that many people cannot build their own PC. Do you think your program can help those that have never built one before?
Justin Melendez: Our service is open-ended enough to help anyone, though how we help really depends on their level of experience and comfort. For someone coming to us asking how to build a gaming computer with no technical knowledge at all, we would answer as much as we could and point them in the right direction to continue learning. A lot of people really just don’t know where to start, so our goal with them is to get them over the initial barriers to building the machine and be there for them along the way as they have questions. For someone who knows something about what they want but has simply never started a computer from scratch before, we’ll be able to be more detailed and guide them through more of the process.
Obsolete Gamer: How deep do you plan to help someone? For instance, if they need help from step 1 to step 100, how would you handle that?
Justin Melendez: Steps 1 through 11 will be free of charge. However, steps 12 through 100 will require them to perform odd favors for us, such as sending us pictures of them wearing silly hats or mailing us postcards from random locations. In all seriousness, though, we’re here to help as much as we can. If someone has general questions about building, buying, or fixing a gaming computer, we’ll answer them as fully as possible. If someone has a very specific question about step 34 of some process, we’ll do our best to help them with their specific situation. In general, though, we’re not always going to be able to cover everything in one e-mail. In those cases, we’ll give them the information they need to get started and ask them to come back to us as they need assistance.
Obsolete Gamer: What about those who build custom rigs all the time, what can you offer them?
Justin Melendez: Even experienced users have a question or need a second opinion from time to time. In general, our staff is going to be more up-to-date on the latest gaming components than your average user, so even people who build custom rigs on a regular basis will find our service helpful. On a separate note, one of the major benefits to buying a computer from a company is having computer support available in case of trouble. People who build their own systems don’t have access to that, so this is a great solution for them when they need troubleshooting help.
Obsolete Gamer: What steps have you taken so you are not flooded with questions from those just wanting free support?
Justin Melendez: None whatsoever! The simple answer is that we hope that people WILL think of this as their personal support line. This service isn’t just to help people build computers, but to answer any questions anyone has about gaming computers in general. Whether that’s fixing, buying or building, we’re happy to help. We’re tossing this out there for free with the hope that word of mouth will spread it around, so that lots of people will be left with a positive impression of what LanSlide Gaming PCs is all about. The hope is that growth on the free computer help page will eventually lead to an increase in sales and allow us to continue offering the service for free. At the moment, we’re just putting this out there and seeing how it goes.
Obsolete Gamer: Would you say that many people can “assemble” a system, but few know how to take the time to fully research, shop for, and then “build” and “maintain” a custom system?
Justin Melendez: Assembling is probably the easiest part of building a computer. Not everyone is comfortable with it, but it is something almost anyone could learn to do. But, as the question implies, the research, configuration, and maintenance of a custom computer is definitely where the majority of the work comes in. When we go around and give talks about building your own computer, we spend most of the time on these aspects because they’re the most complex and often the hardest to learn about. So yes, I’d have to agree with the statement above.
Obsolete Gamer: Is it just about cost, finding the lowest price parts that work together, or is optimization the key to building a good, long lasting system?
Justin Melendez: The lowest price parts are often the ones that cost you the most. You need to balance many things when choosing your parts, but the most important elements of compatibility and quality are the ones that will govern how well your system works, how long it lasts, and how much trouble you’ll have when setting it up. That’s the primary message we try to drive home when advising people on how to begin their build: choose parts that are going to work together from the beginning, and you’ll save yourself a lot of time, money, and aggravation. Of course, that’s what we do for all the systems we build, and avoiding these difficulties is a major reason people choose to buy their computers from us.
Obsolete Gamer: Do you think having a program such as this will hurt your business or custom PC shops in general?
Justin Melendez: At first, it might seem like helping people build their own computers or educating them about buying computers so they avoid buying parts they don’t really need would be detrimental to a gaming computer company. However, our stance is that a more educated public is a good thing for PC gaming overall. The PC world is often fraught with frustration, and we believe that helping people make good decisions about their computing needs will make them happier in the long run and lead to more positive experiences gaming on the PC. We also hope that having a central location where people can go to for their problems will be a boon to the community and encourage more people to game on the PC.
Obsolete Gamer: Do you think custom builders such as yourself are unfairly attacked by those who build their own system for what amounts to wanting to turn a profit?
Justin Melendez: It’s really a matter of personal opinion. Some people feel very strongly about this issue, and that’s fine. Most people understand that building your own machine is not for everyone, and it’s really up to each individual to decide what makes the most sense for them. A lot of people just want to use their computers, not spend time maintaining them, and those people often prefer coming to a builder like us. On another note, we agree with a lot of the points of the attackers, which is part of why we founded LanSlide in the first place. Many computer builders are overpriced and try to sell you things that you don’t really need. While we offer any configuration anyone could want, we will always recommend a more sensible setup that suits the needs of the user over something that’s going to put more money in our pockets.
Obsolete Gamer: What is your take on the eternal build versus buy debate?
Justin Melendez: There are advantages and disadvantages to both. If you build your own machine, you’re likely going to get it cheaper than if you buy one, but you won’t have access to things like warranties and the customer support that comes with buying a computer from an established company. If you buy a computer, you’re likely going to pay more for the expertise that comes into play when assembling and configuring the machine; however, you won’t have to go through the headache of putting it together yourself or returning parts that aren’t compatible or are defective. Another plus is that you can be guaranteed that it will work out of the box, and, if it doesn’t, it’s someone else’s problem. So really, it comes down to personal preference and level of comfort.
I must say I like the idea of a group of people helping the gaming community to make it a better place and it looks as if the folks over at LanSlide Gaming PC’s are doing just that. So if you find yourself with a gaming computer question you should give them a try and let us know what you thought of the experience.
Obsolete Gamer would like to thank Justin and everyone at LanSlide PC’s for talking with us.