How to be a good tech.

Author: admin  |  Category: Business, Consumer, Observations  |  Comment (1)  |  Add Comment

I’ve written a few posts about bad users, clients, customers, and whatnot.  This has gotten a few people to email me that not all users are bad and that there are some bad techs out there.  This, I fully agree.  I’ve worked with some in the past.  Just as there are good users and bad users, there are good techs and bad techs.

That’s why I’m dedicating this post on how to be a good technician.  This is going to be a surprise to a lot of techs out there but it is not based on what you know.  Seriously.  While I do admit, being able to solve the user’s issue in a minute does help, it’s not the end all to customer satisfaction.

First – and most important:  LISTEN.  That is a human you’re interacting with.

I don’t mean sit and listen to a 30 minute rant at how they are terrible with computers, they always have problems with computers, and Microsoft is in existence just to make their lives difficult.  When they are describing the issue to you, listen to them, make eye contact.  Don’t just plop down in front of their computer and start taping away at the keyboard – that will make you look like a robot (and that’s only OK if you’re JP from “Grandma’s Boy” – but even he was annoying).  Plus, this makes the user feel like a number as opposed to a person.

Listen to their concerns, don’t be afraid to ask questions (believe it or not it does not make you look incompetent, in fact, it makes it look like you are paying attention!), even repeat what the user said to make sure you understand what they are saying.

Second – don’t rush the job.  Yes, some issues only take a minute or two to fix but many don’t.  Don’t try to fly through it.  Take your time.  If you rush, the chances of you making a mistake are greatly increased.  Even double check your work if you need to.  This leads right into:

Third – Make sure you have resolved the issue, if possible.  Sit down with the user, explain to them what you did (in non-technical terms), and have them verify that the issue has been resolved.  If they couldn’t print, have them send something to the printer.  If they couldn’t access a site, have them access it.  One of the worst feelings I get is when I get a repeat user with the same issue and it’s because I didn’t solve it the first time.

Next – I’ll let you in on a little secret – build up a good and solid network.  If I find myself with an employer for more than 2-3 months, I start building up a network (and not just those I directly work with).  Get to know people, even if it is purely virtually (though email, phone calls, IM etc..).  When you get these connections established, don’t be afraid to help them out if they ask for help, most will quickly return the favor when you need help in the future.  Plus, the more people you know, the more people you have to ask for good letters of recommendations when it comes time to ask for a raise or promotion.  :)   Building up a network does NOT mean you’re kissing their rears, too.  No one likes a kiss-ass.

Keep in touch with that network.  As long as you do this, your network will grow.  Yes, people will leave but others will come into the groups.  Your group will grow and the knowledge base of the group will grow with it.  Even if you’re alone there are many techie sites out there that you can join for quick answers (for example, Windrivers – http://forums.windrivers.com).

Also, it’s not about what you know but can you find the answer?  I worked with a guy once who had his CCNA, MCSP, MCP+I, A+, N+, and graduated “with honors” from a local well known computer school.  Let’s just ay he spent over 10 minutes arguing with a customer (over the phone) claiming that they knew nothing about computers since they didn’t know what operating system they were running and he couldn’t help them.  He never heard of Windows 3.1 (and this was back in 2000).  Now, who do you think the customers would rather deal with – him, who didn’t even know how to install drivers but had that education, or me with no education but someone who would be willing to jump onto Google.com or ask a few co-workers for the answers?

Don’t be an arrogant jackass.  This is one of the biggest complaints.  Seriously, you’re talking to a human.  Just because you know (allegedly) know more about computers than they do doesn’t mean you can treat them like bubblegum under your shoe.  I’m sure there are areas they could whoop your rear in, sales, engineering,and  SOCIAL SKILLS.

Be presentable.  Don’t go to work dirty in raggedy clothes.  Well, this might be OK in a surf shop or a grunge store but not many techs work there.  Adhere to the dress code (my office is business causal, I either wear nice jeans or khakis and a polo shirt), shower, etc.

Respect their time.  Yes, I’ve said people need to respect the techs time but techs need to respect the customer’s time, too.  They are your customer, even if they aren’t directly paying you.  Just because you just logged onto World of Warcraft doesn’t mean you can tell everyone to wait.  They have things to do or else they wouldn’t need the computers.

Don’t be the militant police.  Every day I see software on computers that shouldn’t be on there (including mine) but I understand that corporate either gives us horrible options for what we need or no option at all.  Unless it is a security risk (torrent software, etc..), a resource hog and shouldn’t be there (once I found someone had installed Pirates of the Caribbean online on their computer) , or has absolutely no business on a work PC (porn), I don’t care.  So what they have TradeWinds Legends on their computer.  So what if they have iTunes.  I don’t care as long as they fully understand I will not support them and will not reinstall them if I need to reinstall Windows on their PCs (and I will let them know if that is causing the issue, too).  I did once report that some employees were using a hacker site to go around the internet firewall while working in the stores.  My issue with that:  they’re allowing you to see the whole internet, what do you think you’re allowing them to see on your computer that has complete access to all of our customers’ information?  Trust me; I’m willing to bet you have skeletons in your closet, too.

I’m sure there is a lot more I could write on this subject but it’s a Friday evening (and I’m blogging?), it’s been a long week, and David Byrne’s film “True Stories” just came in and I want to watch it.  :)

I saw Star Trek this weekend (in iMax)- no spoilers

Author: admin  |  Category: Observations, Rant  |  Comments (2)  |  Add Comment

Don’t worry – I won’t give away any spoilers.

I really liked the movie (as a Star Trek fan) and my wife enjoyed it a lot, too (and she doesn’t like Star Trek).  The cast was great – Scotty and Bones were perfect but Checkov was a little too much (they stressed too much on his accent (remember “Vere are the nuclear wessles?”).  Spock and Kirk were also pretty good.  It is a great action film (more action than your average Star Trek film) and great special effects.  I saw it in iMax and it was very impressive.  And yes, Kirk gets a green alien woman (OK, so I lied about the spoiler, but I promise this is the only one and the long time fans will enjoy this).

But – this isn’t about the movie.  I had some assholes behind me in line poking fun at the people dressed in Star Trek gear (mostly TNG / DS9 / VOY uniforms – no aliens that I noticed).  Sorry, but get a life assholes.
First – do they make fun of you when you go to your favorite sports team with your face painted in their colors, your favorite player’s number painted on your chest, dressed in their uniform, and yelling and screaming all the time?  Do they make fun of you because of the way you dress when you go clubbing?  No.

Take a look at yourself – you look ridiculous, seriously, but they don’t make fun of you.  They understand that is your thing, your vice.  You enjoy dressing like that to show your support for your team, your player, your clubbing tradition.

This is their thing – they’re Trekkies (a.k.a. Trekkers).  They love the shows and show their support by spending money on uniforms.  Don’t worry; they don’t dress like this every day.  In fact, unless you knew they did it, you wouldn’t know about it if you met them on any other day that wasn’t a Star Trek movie or some sort of Sci-Fi convention (well, maybe Halloween, too).

We all have our thing where we dress very differently from what we would dress like on a regular basis.  Just because their thing is Star Trek, don’t put them down.  They’re obvious big fans of the franchise and are very happy they are going to see another film.  The last thing they need is some asshole acting like, and with the mentality of, a middle school bully.  Grow up.

Star Trek has given us a lot – it gave many inventors “great ideas” that are a reality today, many we take for granted.  It’s inspired generations of inventors, engineers, entertainers, and scientists which all contribute to the popularity of your own “things”.  If you’d like, I could include a list in a future post.