Just to vent...

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coius's picture
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Joined: Aug 25 2004
Posts: 1975

I am hoping this topic could be for "us" tech support. I just want to know what everyone's most difficult costumers are.
I can go first....

I work for myelf, and i do data recovery, troubleshooting, backups, and os reinstalls on PC's and older macintosh..

I was working on a computer a while ago... I had to do a backup and reinstall on the machine. It was an HP Machine and there were virus's on there that was basically not letting it startup. I had to mount the HD in MY OWN PC just to get the data off of it. It is one of the Pc's that when you go to reinstall windows off of the recovery partition, it blows away the whole windows partition. I knew about this, and used a spare hard drive and networked my iBook to the pc i was using to the the recovery with (everyone knows OS X does not get virus's right?)
well, i did the whole job, and just got word, that the costumer is upset b/c she can't find her emails.
This is a person that has the capabilities (she has a dvd writer and dvd's) to back up her stuff. I had told her that most likely i will not be able to get everything. as the virus had been deleting things on her system. She is now threatening me b/c i can't get them for her.
I do these job's because I want to get this service to people that can't afford this kind of stuff. So i even cut the bill in half. She is still baulking b/c i couldn't get her email.
There are times, when i feel like hiding, b/c of idiots like these. And i really don't get much encouragement.
I was at best buy the other day, and they would've charged 1 thousand dollars to do what i just did (the HD was 160GB's) and she is baulking and i only charged her $80!!

Has anyone had dealings with people like these

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Joined: Aug 15 2004
Posts: 359
customers

Hey,

It's not about computers, it's about people and what they know of computers and people taking responsibility for their data. By now -- one would think -- people would know about backing up data. It's certainly easier than it has been in years. I've lost data because I didn't back up and I felt like an idiot. A reasonable assessment since -- while I don't know everything -- I should know better. There is no way around it: When you tell someone that you can't retrieve their data, you're basically saying "Hey, you're an idiot for not backing up." If you posted here and complained about lost data that you hadn't backed up I don't think you'd find a lot of sympathy. You would *know* that you screwed up (and I use "you" here not personally but generally) and after kicking and screaming it would sink in. That's how some people need to learn to backup. I know that's the way I learned. Some customers don't want you to help them, they want you to save them. That's why I stopped being a freelance tech. I could deal with the machines but I couldn't deal with the customer's expectations.

Good luck

Jon's picture
Jon
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Joined: Dec 20 2003
Posts: 2804
I work in the repair business

I work in the repair business, but on masonry. We get the same general type of customers who think something was done wrong, or not at all what was agreed to be done. We just refer them to the *WRITTEN* ESTIMATE SHEET that has a detailed list of what was to be done, and any disclaimers we need to add. (ie, in our line of work we also repair chimney flues that have had flue fires, we have to put a disclaimer that they should not be used until repaired, or someone might burn down their house and blame us if we didn't tell them it is unsafe) By having something written, that you both have aq copy of, you can plainly point out what was and wasn't to be done when a problem arises, and any potential problems (the email recovery that didn't) that you disclaimed. Always give them the estimate sheet first, make sure you go over every point, don't just expect them to read it for themselves. That way you have, what an old time businessman in my area liked to say, "an understanding" about the service. Complaints from there on are much easier to deal with because you were upfront "*in writing* about potential problems. It's really a matter of CYA (Cover Your...) than anything else.

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Joined: Dec 20 2003
Posts: 211
Mail data location

Part of this problem is caused by the way that mail applications store email messages, address books etc. In Mac OS X, for example, mail messages are stored in ~user/Library/Mail. In Outlook or Outlook Express, who knows where they are stored (I work in an Exchange environment so at least they are somewhere sensible, if a little inaccessible).

Joe and Josephine User can quite happily backup their Data or My Documents folders, but this won't necessarily mean that this process will create a backup of their mail folders.

Phil

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Joined: Dec 20 2003
Posts: 234
I work in computer repair and

I work in computer repair and know exactly what you mean.

That is why before I even touch a computer I have the customer sign a work over. The work order also has a disclaimer stating that we are not responsible for data loss.

In times that I do data recovery I have them sign a statement saying we may not be able to recover all of the data and that we do not guaranty the use ability of any recovered data.

Still people will bitch but there threats don't matter as you have written proof that they knew of the risks and agreed to proceed any way.

I will be glad when I finish college so I get out of this field. I enjoy working on my own computers but I am tried of the bs you have put up with doing it professionally.

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Joined: Apr 22 2004
Posts: 379
Amen!

I will be glad when I finish college so I get out of this field. I enjoy working on my own computers but I am tried of the bs you have put up with doing it professionally.

While I do fix computers for family and relatives, they are somewhat realistic about what I can do and I explain what I find and let them know what I do about the problem. They're really appreciative of anything I can do for them. Too bad paying customers aren't always like that....

At work I write programs that interface with Peachtree and QuickBooks. Sometimes they behave in that manner when talking to someone initially, but when talking to a tech person (me also) they're just as nice as can be. Smile

astro_rob's picture
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Joined: Mar 19 2005
Posts: 320
I Couldn't Agree More

Back when I was a telecommunications employee, working primarily in systems support, computer techs were viewed with a certain degree of awe; we kept the data flowing at work. That was the late 1980's and early 1990's. Most home computers simply weren't that sophisticated (our beloved Macs aside), and if I did side work, say replacing a Seagate ST-225 hard drive in someone's Commodore PC III, I was generally treated well. That's changed. Now, computers are far more plentiful, repair services are cheaper, and the average person feels that they can "bargain"; by bitching enough, they might be able to talk you down even further. Once upon a time, here in northeast Florida, there were a few dozen small computer shops. Now, that number has dropped, especially since the influx of CompUSA, with their comparitively inexpensive repair services. Smaller shops just can't compete. It has to be even harder for the freelance computer tech. All the customer has to do is gripe once or twice, they feel, and you'll cave. That's why I no longer do it, except for older Mac owners.

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iantm's picture
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Joined: Apr 2 2005
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Oh, the joys of tech support

In my time in the industry, I've done time at the AOL helpdesk (shudders), the Verizon Corporate Helpdesk (was actually pretty fun having executives beg for help), freelance in the early days, time at a small shop where the owner didn't think he needed to pay me (damn you steve), and currently I work as a contractor for Apple working at a one to one initiative school.

Now that computers are more plentiful and less expensive, it is true that people are generally pretty bad about paying for our services or listening. Nobody takes responsibility for their data, be it an AOL member, Verizon executive, Joe Blow, or some punk 10th grader who can't grasp that his computer will stop working after going down threee flights of stairs. Fortunately most of my memories from within AOL are starting to fade, though there were some gems.

AOL Daze
me: "what kind of router are you using?"
aol member: "I have a black and decker, why are you asking about my woodworking tools?"
Though, the most common answer was having people refer to Linksys as the Linsky router.

me: "Now let's press control, alt, and delete on your keyboard"
member : "what's a keyboard?"
me: "it's that big rectangular thing with buttons on it, it's also not your mouse."
member: "what's a mouse?"
me: "unplug your computer and plug it back in, it'll work then, and if you have any issues, feel free to call back, you case number is xxxxx. Thank you for calling america online, you may receive a survey in your e-mail asking you to rate the quality of service you received in this call, goodbye"

Verizon's High points

me: "good morning and thanks for calling helpdesk support, my name is Ian. To ensure better accuracy, my I have your employee id number?"
caller : "it's xxxxx, and my name is xxxx."
me: "thank you, how can I help you today"
caller : "I got the e-mail telling us not to open any e-mails from people we don't know this morning. Well, I got this e-mail, and well, I tried to open the file 2 times and nothing happened. now my computer is acting weird" (this was during the fun times with the bagle virus and the corporate e-mail that nobody ever acknowledged )

I think it goes without saying that the majority of people out there using computers are complete idiots. It's horrible to say, but true. It's somewhat better in the corporate and academic areas. Stupidity is everywhere, but seems to be caught in check better there than in the consumer market. In my freelancing days, I did have some clients who were total gems. There was the attorney who had virus issues with his HP. After a couple of road calls out that ended up costing him more than he'd paid for the HP, I recommended an Apple eMac to him. He'd spend less all tolled with that than he did with this HP.

The worst part of this industry is being in support operations. And of the support arena, corporate and academic are the two best sectors to be in. Though, the academic sector (for the most part) seems to be more respectful of the men and women keeping their computers chugging along.

-iantm

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- iantm
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MacTrash_1's picture
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Joined: Dec 20 2003
Posts: 318
This is why I don't do Windoze

I get asked to do tech work for anyone who knows I play with computers.
"Play" being the operative word, but they always want me to fix their problems. Rarely is it a Mac as you can guess.

If they have a Windoze box I just say NO ! I don't even look at them, conversation over. In fact I take this chance to preach why they should have bought a Mac.......

I will hook them up with a nice Mac though for a very good price with personal tech support for free.

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Joined: Aug 17 2004
Posts: 686
My boss is of the persuasion

My boss is of the persuasion that Macs work by steam power and that the GUI was, in fact, invented in 1770 by William Gates The Negative-nth. On one particuarly bad day, he told a man that if he brought his B&W tower to him to fix it that he would throw it in the middle of the local highway. When I told him about the fact that Apple is not owned by Microsoft, he was quite thoroughly shocked.

Actually, the volume of people that think that Apple is owned by Microsoft is quite staggering. This has always mystified me.

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