When Clients Freak — Dealing With Non-Techies

Some of the best computer technicians I have met have really top-notch people skills in addition to their computer solve it/fix it skills. These people are being run off their feet by frantic clients who are trying to maintain computer systems on a shoestring budget and delaying replacement of outdated machines and software. However, as the economy heats up again, clients will have more capital to invest in better computer systems, and this is where independent computer technicians can expand their business role.

If you want a client for a day, fix his or her computer correctly the first time. If you want that client to give you repeat business, invest some time in developing a professional relationship with your client. Spend some time educating the client on how to back up important data, defrag hard drives, clean up files and basic computer maintenance. Help your client set up a replacement or succession plan for buying new hardware and software. It will save you major headaches down the line when it comes to servicing the client’s computer systems and networks. Keep it friendly and simple. Arrogance or impatience with clients who do not understand computer jargon is a non-starter. In other words, leave the attitude at home if you are trying to build a business relationship with clients.

The best computer techs understand the following:

1. Clients are calling you because they do not know what the problem is, or they do know the problem but cannot fix it themselves.

2. Clients are stressed because they do not build time and money into their schedules for computer problems, repair or replacement.

3. Some people will take their stress out on the technician because their expensive computer system is not working and is losing them money; this may cause a business catastrophe if there is no Plan B in place and data was not backed up properly.

4. Your clients do not understand the necessity of data back up until they need your services. Taking time to assist clients with back up may pay huge dividends in the forms of repeat business and fewer future headaches for you and your clients.

5. Clients want you on site when there is a problem. However, many problems can be diagnosed and fixed through remote desktop control. Explain what that is so that you get less client resistance when you need to diagnose the problem remotely.

Your people skills are going to be as important as your technical skills when it comes to building up your own business and helping others keep their businesses on track and functioning. They will also make your job much easier and more enoyable.

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