Treating users like people

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As someone doing tech support or tech work how can you add value in the work that you do for the people that you support? Well I think there are three ways and each of these ways probably will putt you out of your comfort zone, which is great.

1. When doing support always refer to the computer as a pet – Most people have no real relationship with their computer and they treat it badly. One of the ways that you can use the pet analogy is to teach them to do drefrags, system scans, and to blow out dust and wipe down the computer.

2. Whenever you talk to someone about computers teach them something – Everyday we find interesting articles that end users would be interested in knowing. This could be GTD info, new free software, or even cool web apps like Zoho or Google Maps. People look at tech guys as their support system for anything technology and remember that they will come to you as a reference for any technology they see in the news.

3. Treat the people as the important part of the equation – I have been guilty in the past of concentrating on the computer and not the owner and that leaves the guy or gal out of the loop. We have to, as technology professionals, to be the interface between our users and their computers and anything we can do in that regard will help them see us as a person instead of just a technologist. Have a conversation with the user like you would a buddy in a bar, ask them about stuff that is not computer related and they will respect you more as well.

You may notice that these three tips have nothing to do with tech. The thing that I often find is missing in all of our interactions with people is the people themselves. I used to think that people had no respect for the guy fixing the computer but really it was that we ignore the person in trying to fix their computer. Follow these three steps and you are going to have happier end users and be happier about your work as well.

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