Customer Service and Good Friends: the New Owner's Manual

The other day I spent a few hours at my parents' home helping them resuscitate their computer, which told them to press "R" for repair but refused to do anything else. (Ever been there? The experience leaves you feeling like your hair is on fire.)

Dad and I hunted around for some kind of instructions without any luck. Mom suggested in an over-the-shoulder-I'm-not-telling-you-what-to-do way that we should find the customer service number and see what happens. Mom is the great finder and fixer of things; we heeded the advice she didn't quite give us.

After we found Dell's customer service toll free number buried way in there, I called the other side of the world; dug out arcane information such as the purchaser and delivery site of this computer that was a gift; read codes off labels pasted on various parts of the tower; spoke audibly, slowly, and distinctly for a few hours straight; and did exactly what I was told; and--there was the computer back again.

Afterwards dad wondered aloud what people who don't have access to customer service or who don't or have anyone to turn to do in these situations. The answer seems to be that they find somebody. Somehow, the problem resolves itself. The manufacturers who know darn well we'll never read through a gigantic manual also know that we will go to the ends of the earth or at least the other side of it for human help.

Customer service is the new owner's manual.

I've heard it said that computers cause people to live in their own little worlds cut off from others. I suspect the opposite is true and that panic sets in when the darn things don't work precisely because computers are our portals to each other.

What I know about computers and programming and such doesn't come from any specific book (except R. Scott Hall's The Blog Ahead) but from my husband, our neighbor, members of our family, and other bloggers. Word of mouth--human contact--makes the whole thing go for me. My computer--when malfunctions as well as when it functions--throw me into contact with people all the time. Cool thing.

With this cool thing in mind, I'd like to thank the bloggers whose work has increased my computer knowledge and yanked me out of some technical trouble spots over the past few years: JumpBack (blogging, HTML, the Internet....), Cotojo (pc security), Sueblimely (blogging tech), CyberCelt (search engines), Kuanyin (link love), What Ever (manipulating the new Blogger template), and One Deep Breath (permalink coding). Please accept this little badge as a token of my gratitude.

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  1. Hello my name is whatever and this is whatever tech support :-) Glad that helped with the template.

  2. Anonymous5:45 AM

    Hi Sandy,
    Thank you so much for the award and for the mention :)
    It's a pleasure for many of us to be able to assist others and help to solve whatever problems they have with their computers.
    Have a wonderful weekend dear friend, God Bless

  3. May I also thank you for the links to their sites, I must visit each link and have a good read up on these things..

    Have a great weekend.

  4. Computers do cause a lot of conversation. Very good.

  5. Oh help! Indeed you were a computer angel to your parents with your patience in dealing with Dell! We too have our computer angels who come to our aid without charging...usually friends, family or neighbors that do the simplest thing we simply can't figure out on our own. Such an experience happened to me just this past week. My friend fixed what had been bedeviling me for many hours in a matter of seconds! Mahalo for the award! Hugs!

  6. Cool! Thanks for the award. Now I am learning WordPress, so I'll be ready when you are to move your blog to its own domain. LOL

  7. How nice of you Sandy, to appreciate all the work that service people (and your blogger friends) do. I've been right where you were talking to a guy in the Philippines who when we were finishing up (a couple of hours and problem solved) said "Is your husband there?" I had gabbed a little with him while we were waiting for certain things to happen with the computer. I hesitated and then said "Yes, he's just come in." "Can I speak with him?" the Dell guy said. "Ah, sure," I said.

    "Mr. T," he said to my husband, "Your wife has been so cooperative and understanding through this whole time of trying to fix the computer, I think you should take her out to dinner tonight for a reward." Can you imagine that, Sandy? MY husband laughed and said "I sure will!"

    Anyway, Sandy, I've tagged you for a "Crazy Eight" meme if you don't mind. Don't feel compelled to do it. Check out my blog "Work of the Poet" for what to do, if you don't know already. :)

  8. Anonymous5:51 PM

    Thank you so much for the award, Sandy and for your thanks. Like Colin I enjoy helping people out so it is my pleasure.

  9. It's a good thing when we can find someone to help. I usually google my problems if I can get online. Usually someone else has had the same problem.

  10. LOL - whatever tech support :P

    glad that your exp with dell went well =)

    true that customer service (or specifically helpdesks in your situation) helped to work things out

    i'm a firm believer that we should spend our time doing the things we enjoy doing most of the time. and the rest for others to do them ;)


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