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  #11  
Old 09-19-2011, 07:29 PM
ATTech ATTech is offline
 
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Originally Posted by bytebuster View Post
Keep in mind that I was trained on desktops, not laptops. I have had to learn laptop repair over the internet, and via forums. Usually if I can't think of what it is over the phone, I usually am embarrassed to go out there and be subjected to a barrage of "You're the repairman! You shouldn't NEED to run diagnostics!" and such. It's happened so often that it's got to the point where I don't have much self-confidence. I didn't have much self-confidence to start out with, and when I went into business in 2009 everybody was asking for DC jacks, which I couldn't do, so after that experience I just sort of shut down for a while. I learned soldering, but never really got the business back off the ground. My laptop training consisted of "they have a lot of screws, and they're really complicated, and you really don't want to mess with them if you can avoid it". My teacher was older than the hills and was really uncomfortable around laptops.
In that case, what you might want to consider doing is subcontracting repairs that you aren't comfortable with. If you're turning down repairs because it might be something that you can't do, then you're going to lose a lot of business that you might be able to do, let alone the stuff you can't do. This is a perfect example because My WiFi doesn't work is rarely going to be hardware related. It's more likely the WiFi button got pushed or they forgot their encryption key.

If you're really that uncomfortable with laptops, then let them know that you can take a look at the common issues, but anything hardware related will need to go to a laptop repair specialist. As soon as they hear the word "specialist", they'll never doubt your abilities if you need to have it looked at by someone else. You'll still get the normal income from the easy-to-fix problems, and a small margin for the stuff you're not comfortable with (assuming you mark it up).

Last edited by ATTech; 09-19-2011 at 07:31 PM.
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  #12  
Old 09-19-2011, 08:01 PM
bytebuster bytebuster is offline
 
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Originally Posted by ATTech View Post
In that case, what you might want to consider doing is subcontracting repairs that you aren't comfortable with. If you're turning down repairs because it might be something that you can't do, then you're going to lose a lot of business that you might be able to do, let alone the stuff you can't do. This is a perfect example because My WiFi doesn't work is rarely going to be hardware related. It's more likely the WiFi button got pushed or they forgot their encryption key.

If you're really that uncomfortable with laptops, then let them know that you can take a look at the common issues, but anything hardware related will need to go to a laptop repair specialist. As soon as they hear the word "specialist", they'll never doubt your abilities if you need to have it looked at by someone else. You'll still get the normal income from the easy-to-fix problems, and a small margin for the stuff you're not comfortable with (assuming you mark it up).
What I'm going to do is buy a used laptop and learn it inside out, hardware and software, the old fashioned way. I already have an old Dell here waiting to be disassembled and reassembled. Then I will buy an old laptop running Vista and learn things like WiFi that I wasn't taught in school. My business will of course be on hold while I do this. (The Dell I have is just hardware, no drives and a broken screen. According to the case, it originally ran Windows Me. )
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  #13  
Old 09-19-2011, 08:10 PM
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Not sure why you turned the job down? Honestly you could have treated like a desktop from a diagnostics standpoint. I would have ran through the normal troubleshooting: verifying she is connecting to the right network, re-entering any encryption keys, making sure that the DNS was setup correctly, making sure that any ON/OFF switch physically on the laptop was in the correct position, disabling the encryption on the router if still having trouble, using another card or device to verify you could connect. Chances are it was a software/configuration issue rather then a hardware issue.
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  #14  
Old 09-19-2011, 09:17 PM
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Not sure why you turned the job down? Honestly you could have treated like a desktop from a diagnostics standpoint. I would have ran through the normal troubleshooting: verifying she is connecting to the right network, re-entering any encryption keys, making sure that the DNS was setup correctly, making sure that any ON/OFF switch physically on the laptop was in the correct position, disabling the encryption on the router if still having trouble, using another card or device to verify you could connect. Chances are it was a software/configuration issue rather then a hardware issue.
True, that. Maybe my brain is on the fritz again. I do know how to troubleshoot a PC, so I myself am not sure why I turned her down. What actually happened: she said that she wasn't able to use her WiFi, I said that nothing immediately sprang to mind, then she hung up. So I really didn't turn her down, I think what happened was more a failure of my selling skills than anything else. I'm autistic, as you all know, so my salesmanship and interpersonal communications skills are not the best. This is how most of my calls go: I say something that they don't like, like the $20 pickup/delivery fee I was offering, they balk and say they will call somebody else, instead of trying to resell my skills or something similar, I say "ok", they hang up. I know that during the phone call is my one chance to sell them on what I have to offer, and I nearly ALWAYS blow it. Maybe I need to learn the finer points of sales.
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  #15  
Old 09-19-2011, 10:29 PM
ATTech ATTech is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bytebuster View Post
True, that. Maybe my brain is on the fritz again. I do know how to troubleshoot a PC, so I myself am not sure why I turned her down. What actually happened: she said that she wasn't able to use her WiFi, I said that nothing immediately sprang to mind, then she hung up. So I really didn't turn her down, I think what happened was more a failure of my selling skills than anything else. I'm autistic, as you all know, so my salesmanship and interpersonal communications skills are not the best. This is how most of my calls go: I say something that they don't like, like the $20 pickup/delivery fee I was offering, they balk and say they will call somebody else, instead of trying to resell my skills or something similar, I say "ok", they hang up. I know that during the phone call is my one chance to sell them on what I have to offer, and I nearly ALWAYS blow it. Maybe I need to learn the finer points of sales.
If she specifically asked you if you knew what was wrong after telling you the problem, then that wasn't a job you were going to get anyway; she was just looking for free advice. More phone skill training might be a good thing, or perhaps even an answering service.
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Old 09-19-2011, 10:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bytebuster View Post
True, that. Maybe my brain is on the fritz again. I do know how to troubleshoot a PC, so I myself am not sure why I turned her down. What actually happened: she said that she wasn't able to use her WiFi, I said that nothing immediately sprang to mind, then she hung up. So I really didn't turn her down, I think what happened was more a failure of my selling skills than anything else. I'm autistic, as you all know, so my salesmanship and interpersonal communications skills are not the best. This is how most of my calls go: I say something that they don't like, like the $20 pickup/delivery fee I was offering, they balk and say they will call somebody else, instead of trying to resell my skills or something similar, I say "ok", they hang up. I know that during the phone call is my one chance to sell them on what I have to offer, and I nearly ALWAYS blow it. Maybe I need to learn the finer points of sales.
Well every call is definitely a learning experience. Please don't take it the wrong way, but I would like to offer you a piece of advice in regards to those kind of calls. It is something I learned to do that can be beneficial to you and your business.

From the sounds of it, it seems like you try to resolve or determine the root issue on the initial call from the customer. You do NOT want to do this for a number of reasons, but before I explain the benefits, let me explain what you should try to do.

Quote:
Customer calls in and says X is broken, lets go with the Wifi example. As soon as the customer tells you that, just ask them for some information. You can say something like:

"I would be more then happy to help you with that, what is the EXACT problem you are having?"

Let them explain the issue, take a couple of notes, and just acknowledge what they are saying. Do not try troubleshooting it at this point. What you want to do instead is listen and determine (in your head) if it is something you are capable of troubleshooting. In your scenario, the thought would have been, yes you can. Once you come to the conclusion you know how to troubleshoot the issue, respond to the customer by offering your service. Again, do not troubleshoot it, simply try to set an appointment for you to go out on. End the call there.
Once your off the phone, go ahead and do any research or refresh your memory on fixing the issue. Maybe they gave you a specific model number or a specific software they are having trouble with. Do whatever it is you normally do to prep yourself for the call out, then go out to the job.

Now in your scenario, if you would have done that, you probably would not have lost the call. You would have simply set an appointment, gone on-site, and had a new customer. Since you said you are familiar with troubleshooting the issue, I am sure you would have easily resolved the issue once you were in front of the computer and the pressure is much less.

Now in regards to WHY you want to do this. The first reason you do not want to attempt to resolve the issue over the phone is because you are going to rip yourself off. Imagine that you did start troubleshooting it over the phone. Think about the time you would have spent, that you would not be getting paid for. You would have spent 30 minutes going through various steps, either resolving it or not resolving it, and not making $1 off of it. That is not good for business!

Secondly, you do not want to set a false expectation for your customer. If you did resolve the issue over the phone, they are going to walk away thinking 1) you provide free phone support 2) anytime they have an issue, they can call you, you will resolve it over the phone, and they don't have to pay. Again, not something that is beneficial for your business.

Last, you are not always going to have the answer for every issue. There is going to be that time where you need to do your homework before you start troubleshooting. You do not want to give the customer the impression that you have the ability to fix it, when you don't. If it is so far out of your scope, you simply tell them that. If it is something you pretty confident you can fix after some research, you just schedule an appointment and do your research before going on site.

To recap: When a customer calls in, collect as much information as you can, determine if it is in your scope, and set an appointment. Do NOT troubleshoot on the initial call.

P.S. - Of course the exception is if you offer remote support or phone support as a service.

I hope that helps you a bit, and again don't take it the wrong way. Just a bit of advice that I learned through the course of being in the business.
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  #17  
Old 09-20-2011, 07:41 PM
bytebuster bytebuster is offline
 
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I don't do phone support. I always want to look at a computer firsthand, but rarely do I get that far. I have found that most customers want me to tell them what's wrong from a phone call. I've just been slipping into some bad habits. Thinking about it, one thing I'm BAD at is getting customers to describe the symptoms they're having. Any advice would be appreciated.
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  #18  
Old 09-22-2011, 06:17 AM
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Sometimes it's the simplest answer. They may have turned off the wireless card because the switch was located in a spot that was easy to snag. Or they accidentally did the Fn + F<1-12> combo on the keyboard.
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