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  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2004

    Default Lets get people more computer savvy?

    OK, well I know I've said things that weren't in the right order (on here too) but I'm too use to my own experiences that what I could say may work or not work without actually having steps prior to this, however this is not the point, I want people to know that when you do ring someone for help, e.g. a helpdesk. Do not, without a doubt, install programs that they tell you "should" fix your problem unless they have gone through everything that is neccessary or hang up being even more confused than you were before, make them go through the basic settings, you may as well spend some time with them making sure everything is correct first.

    What I mean is, one of my new clients, who I was still gaining that trusting relationship with where you literally become their first person to call with PC problems (you know what I mean if you're in the field). Well this client of mine, was having problems with her email, so instantly she thought ring the ISP helpdesk, since it's internet related and the solution provided for the problem from the helpdesk... "Oh, it's probably your firewall because we're not having any problems on this end."

    So from this advice, she attempted to fix it herself, and made it worse in which I was then called to fix the problem. (Thanks to this helpdesk though, I've gained this clients full trust though, so not a bad thing but I don't like those unneccessary problems created, nor charging for something that could have been FREE if the advice given was accurate).

    Now clients can sidetrack you from the problem by what they tell you and it's in your best interest to listen but to advise them that you want to check everything before diving head first into what they have been told the problem to be. Just go through the basics and get an idea of where the problem actually exists, mean you never know it might be what they said, but I don't like being rushed as mistakes can be made.

    Just a different situation I recently encountered, a person's car was not starting, and when I got there, everyone had different opinions of what the problem was (I also like working on cars :P). I knew the car wouldn't start, I was pointed out that there was no water in the coolant container and a hose that was literally torn apart. They were all convinced that it was a heat problem and they had killed the engine. Now there was a lot of contributing facts that suggested it was the case, however, the hose being torn, it was a breather hose connected to the air filter, the water not being there is a sign of another problem but not related to why the car wouldn't start as no indication of it overheating was there and no dashboard warning (could say the thermostat wasn't working but for this I assumed it was working), after replacing the water I asked the driver to start the car, the motor wasn't turning over, so I said the battery is flat so after jumping the car and getting it running they were shocked, since replacing the engine is $3k, replacing the battery is only $100. So with having the car started, I told them to replace the battery and get it checked at a garage for anything that would explain the lack of water left in the container since she assured me she filled it not so long ago. As for the breather hose, replacing it would be better on our environment but nothing that would affect the car in the long run.

    Back to the other story:

    The problem she was having with the internet was not firewall related but in fact simple, basic, internet setting problems, in which the helpdesk should have verified was correct (and could have helped her fix) first before even remotely saying an external program could be the problem as I had to fix her firewall rules and configuration as well which I really shouldn't have needed to do as this was not even related to this problem and her firewall was configured correctly.

    I'm just thinking, if you need to call your ISP or anyone else for FREE advice, get them to go through the basics first, and make certain it is setup correctly. If it's email/internet related, ask them to run you through the basics again, just ask them, I'm sure they'd dread to do such a thing but I take joy in helping people and I'm sure they'd be happier if they know they helped people (well I hope that would be true, it would really improve people's outlook of the company).

    I know we all like to dive head first in, even myself, before checking if the water is clear of any objects but we must start with the basics and build up to the advance situations. I also realise that time is important, but I feel doing a proper job is even more important.

    I'm just wondering if those who do have advance knowledge would like to share their experience, since you find we really don't ask too many questions about problems we do have since we usually know how to answer them on our own, but what if we could compile the most essential basics guide, not a HOW TO but a TO DO BEFORE checklist?



  2. #2
    Senior Member pctek's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    In the Wild West

    Default Re: Lets get people more computer savvy?

    I find 90% of the time that helpdesk sdo nothing but check the settings.

    And I always ask customers questions - they may think its not relevant but often you find out something crucial that you may have missed. I prefer to have some idea of the likely problem before heading out.

    Did have one person lose her temper and demand I "just fix it and not ask her anything". Well, can't win them all...

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Glen Oroua

    Default Re: Lets get people more computer savvy?

    Just think what GPs go through every day
    "What seems to be the problem"
    "I'm a bit crook doc"

  4. #4
    Lets play Metla's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Mega City One

    Default Re: Lets get people more computer savvy?

    Im in it for the money, so will just ask them if they would like to have someone come out or would they rather bring it in...

    Otherwise I find myself on the phone all day to someone troubleshooting their crap arse mouse they got from DSE...
    better Dredd then dead

  5. #5
    Pedant and proud of it
    Join Date
    Dec 2004

    Default Re: Lets get people more computer savvy?

    Doctors love that one Dally, it gives them a chance to diagnose after they extract the symptoms. Much better, and easier to cope with, than the customer who comes in "knowing" what's wrong, and demanding a prescription.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2005

    Default Re: Lets get people more computer savvy?

    Like fixing cars, doing your tax return, cooking, reconciling your credit card account etc... some people will never get it, and defer to a professional.

    Kame - what is the web design forum that you recommended to me once?


  7. #7
    Not so Junior thanks
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Dial Up Hell

    Default Re: Lets get people more computer savvy?


    Shouldn't the computer industry make computers more usable without the user having to have an intimate knowledge of the interior workings of hard and software. They are after all just tools with which to accomplish certain tasks.

    If you can't do the required tasks and spend more time trying to figure out why you can't because the PC has had a hissy fit then it's a waste of time - except of course for the computer industry who fixes or sells replacements.

    Black holes are where God divided by zero

  8. #8
    Smiling Down On Youse SurferJoe46's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Hamilton, Montana, USA

    Default Re: Lets get people more computer savvy?

    I like the customers who come in with a badly running car/truck whatever and tell me what's wrong and how to fix it.

    I tell them to take it somewhere else.

    My brother-in-law has a video repair shop and dvd/vhs movie outlet. On the front desk of his repair area, he has a really old top-loader vcr left over from the Eisenhower days (a US joke), that is so complicated it is a Rorschak test pattern for colors and components inside.

    It's got all the panels opened up and the printed circuit boards with all the resistors, capacitors and hand-wired components are visable. He has a sign over it saying "Show me what part is broken and I can save you a diagnostic fee". Stops them every time.

    I charge fees as I see them.

    If they want to watch, $85/hour.
    If they help or ask questions, $125/hour.
    If the worked on it first, $200/hour.

    Warum werden wir so früh alt und klug so spät?

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