Once you're sure that fixing your computer yourself isn't an option and that getting help from an online computer repair service is out of the question, you're left with seeking computer support from a local service of some kind... but which kind?
Do you choose a local "Mom & Pop" computer shop downtown or do you visit a well known, national chain PC repair service like Geek Squad/Best Buy (US/UK/Canada)? The tips below should help you make the best decision.
Always, Always, Always Get a Specific Referral
The very best chance you have of choosing a great local computer repair service is if you're referred to one. If several people had a fantastic experience with one particular repair service, the chance of you receiving similar service is likely very good.
Personal referrals are great but it's unlikely that you would get enough to feel confident about the value of a particular service. To help solve this problem, I've created a way for people to leave and view referrals for specific computer repair services based on your location:
Find the Best Computer Repair Service by reading the opinions of customers who have actually taken their computers in and had them serviced there. If you've had a great experience, or a poor one, I ask that you leave your thoughts as well as I'm sure they will help others make the very best decision.
Big Ads Don't Necessarily Mean Best
A flier is not a referral, a web advertisement is not a referral, a full page ad in the Sunday newspaper is not a referral. Over time, you learn to think of these advertisements as knowledge you have about the value of the specific company but the fact remains that you only know what they've told you. A company can advertise all they want but the message will always be biased.
Don't get me wrong - the message might be completely honest and a particular computer repair services might very well be the best in town - but you can't know that from an ad, big or small.
Don't Reward Failure
It seems more than logical to anyone reading this, I'm sure, but don't get service anywhere that you've ever had a poor experience at. There are options.
There is no reason to give your business to a computer repair service that proved themselves unworthy of it once already.
Do a Little Reconnaissance
Yes... I mean spy. Spy your heart out. Few computer repair services rely completely on their service business. Almost all of them also have at least a small retail area at their place of business and of course the national chain services are usually attached to large retail outlets.
Visit their store, browse a bit, but pay close attention to other customers who are dropping off or picking up their PCs. Are they satisfied or are they doing a lot of complaining? Make sure you observe as many customers as you can. Try to be as scientific as you can about your little survey.
Observe the computer repair technicians - do they seem knowledgeable, professional, and helpful? They should. Go elsewhere if not.
Did you think that your only option for computer repair was the big retailer in the shopping center? Do you avoid national chain repair services simply because they're big? Do you assume that the "Mom & Pop" shop is more expensive than Geek Squad? Or vice-versa?
Don't rely on the assumptions you have about a particular company or type of company to make a decision. Do a bit of research, ask around, and make some phone calls.
In my opinion, the computer repair service with the very best value deserves your business and the business of the people you know, no matter the size of the building or the size of the advertising budget.