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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Remote Support Can Be Tricky

A few Tips for Those Who “Support” Family Members [Or Friends] With Computer Problems

Granny has a problem – the Bejeweled game she plays to while away those Texas summer afternoons when it is too hot to do much other than “veg” is not working and that is just not cricket [yes I am an English transplant]. There may be a Help forum or an FAQ on the website serving the game, there might even be chat support but you just know Granny isn’t going to use those; likely she would not know how and if she did she would still more likely turn to you. After all; you are family and she will be much more comfortable talking to you.

Now; before I generate a “granny revolt” and with stunning solidarity all the grannies out there rise up against me and tell me how wrong I am I KNOW there are some of you out there who are computer savvy and looking out for yourself when the cyber world does not want to play. However I also know equally well from experience that there are many of you out there who do fit my example – and I stress that is all it is anyway – just an example to illustrate a point and not my thinly disguised, malicious attack on grannies everywhere.

Anyway - every family has one – the “Helpdesk”. Maybe he or she is an IT professional but more often than not it’s just the individual in the family with a little more computer experience and savvy than the others or even just the one most prepared to try helping others out a little. In any case being the one friends and family turn to with computer problems is not always easy and sometimes just plain hard.

I work in IT for a living so I do have a head start; amongst others responsibilities I assist with remote support on technical issues within our company so I do speak with the voice of some experience. As a not entirely unexpected consequence of my choice of career I am also the family “Helpdesk”. Let me tell you – It is one thing to deal with an issue on a computer sitting in front of you and it is quite another to do it remotely over the telephone. As someone who works a “Helpdesk” from time to time I have come to realize that there are a few things that can help make providing remote support a much easier and less stressful proposition.

So; when the phone rings and it is a call for help from a family member or friend with a computer issue what can you do to make your life a little easier?


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