Don’t get mad – get Virgin help?
So runs the tagline for the new website set up by those thoughtful people at Virgin Digital Help. The site has been set up to tackle the problems facing the millions of Britons that depend on their digital gizmo’s for their work and play, but know absolutely naff all about them. A mere layman as I am, its probably best to hand over the explaining of the concept to God himself, Sir Richard Branson- ‘Digital products are fantastic but the industry, as a whole, has done very little to support consumers when they get back home and try to make it all work… “Virgin Digital Help is dedicated to relieving consumers’ stress and helping them get the most out of the technology which is so important to them – without being limited to particular bits of kit, technologies, or service providers.’
You access most of its information by downloading its Desktop Digital Helper onto your desktop (for free), and from there it will scan your computer and offer solutions to make it faster, cleaner, safer or better for the environment. You can also set up a remote account with them which means you can call the Virgin team as and when you have problems, and, if necessary, they will then access your computer remotely to fix whatever need to be fixed. They will also come to your home if the problem is not solvable at their end. Of course, if you actually want to do these things you have to pay, with prices ranging from anything from £4.99 a month to set up a remote account, to £69.99 to have them remove a particularly virulent virus.
The site itself also has over 100 free self-help guides for your most recognisable problems like How Do I Perform Disk Clean Up On Windows Vista, or How Do I Sync My Smartphone and PC. For £2.99 a month you can also, amongst other things, get access to 70,000 of these guides and over 1000 video tutorials. These guides are actually all pretty conclusive , and a lot easier to read and navigate than Windows Help which has surely caused more than a few people to hit the bottle out of sheer frustration.
Marketing itself as part customer-service haven, part 21st century stress reliever the idea initially seemed, to these eyes at least, as a bit of a gimmick and a reason to push a load of Virgin products onto you. However, even though there is a sense with it that if you do want to get anything really good you will have to pay, the prices in general are reasonable and dealing with Virgin is somewhat preferable to dealing with one of the plethora of second-hand computer shops that line our streets.
Unfortunately, I am unable to report back what the customer service team is like, nor if you have sit through half an hour of ‘your call is important to us’ messages, as when I called the helpline with a made-up digital emergency it just went to an answering machine which wouldn’t let me leave a message (useful that). Experience of being with Virgin Media in the past suggests that they talk a good game but actually fail on delivery but, if they get waiting times down and the service good, they could be onto a winner.