During this economic downturn I’ve seen a change in the pattern of in home computer service calls. The most common call that I used to receive was slow, sluggish computer performance. After the downturn started the calls became more catastrophic in nature.
Blue screen, crashes and outright failures seem to be the more common call now in recent years.
Just think for a moment and the reason for this becomes obvious. People are tolerating slowness and similar issues much longer than they used to with the mindset that they are saving money. They seem to be putting up with problems until they become critical or even catastrophic. Not surprisingly such fixes are often more stressful & 3 to 4 times more expensive than an occasional computer tune up.
Many of my clients have learned the hard way that affordability is linked to ongoing care and maintenance. A computer, just like a car with a minor annoyance left unchecked can lead to serious expenses.
Slowness, freeze ups and long boot ups may be all the warning you get before a catastrophic crash.
I have a client in Gresham that purchased a computer when her youngest was in the fifth grade. She told me that she wanted it to last until that child graduated from high school! I told her it was unlikely without regular maintenance. She signed up for ongoing online tune ups that cost her approximately $600 over 7 years. Her son will graduate this spring. Would she have been better off to just buy a new computer whenever that old one failed instead of having it run at peak performance for 7 straight years from regular ongoing service and maintenance?
Consider this: During those years I helped educate her to stop her kids and even her from practicing well intended but harmful habits that will harm any computer. She also carefully followed my advice about being proactive with malicious programs, spyware & virus scans. Without such knowledge she would have been forced into a new PC every couple of years without ever knowing why.
Knowledge is power. Applied knowledge (also known as wisdom) saves money every time. Get computer service when the problem is minor.
Computer Service Calls
Before You Hire Just Anyone Consider
When you hand your computer over to someone they should consider your data a most valuable possession in their hands. After all I can replace your PC but all the money on earth can’t replace lost pics or docs. Yet time and again in shops I’ve seen techs foolishly perform extensive processes without backing up the clients stuff. In my company my staff knows it’s one of the fastest ways to get fired! It takes a little extra time but if a tech doesn’t back up your data prior to doing involved work on your PC he is playing Russian roulette with your data.
A few years ago I told a client that I needed to take her computer back to my shop to back it up because a crash was imminent. I apologized for the delay but didn’t feel comfortable working any further without knowing it was safely backed up. She expressed appreciation for my caution and told me of her own terrible story from college of her roommate crashing a PC that had her entire four years of college photos & wedding, the birth & first two years of their oldest son. All lost to a careless roommate that fancied himself a computer wiz. I looked across the room and saw a 12 year old boy and asked with astonishment; “Is that your oldest boy?” “Yes. And we don’t have a single photo of him before his second birthday.” She whispered, fighting back tears.
As I loaded the computer in the car I felt sadness about the foolishness of working on a PC without backup. I walked back to the front door and asked through the screen door what ever happened to that old college computer. She told me that her husband could never bring himself to throw it away. I asked her if she would let me take a look at it. We went out to the garage and there under a bunch of camping equipment and a greasy old toolbox was an ancient Micron PC with a Windows 95 upgrade. I didn’t have much hope but blew the dust off and placed it in the car.
Back at my shop I didn’t even attempt to turn it on. I took it apart and removed the old skuzzy hard drive. I had some old adapter cables that allowed me to slave the drive to see if the drive would give up any secrets. With the power connected the drive would not even spin. I gently tapped it and it started spinning! Within seconds I was viewing the lives of a young college couple, dating, hiking, getting married and holding the cutest little baby boy! My heart skipped a beat as I realized that I was viewing the most precious moments in the lives of a couple that had long given up hope of seeing them again! Ten seconds later I was backing up those precious moments before the drive died. In fact it did die. About 20 times during the back up process but each time I would ever so gently tap it and it would hum back to life. 3 hours later I was done. It was 1am and I was tempted for the first time in my life to wake a client.
Instead of a phone call I savored the moment by driving that precious data over to her the next morning and seeing the sheer thrill in her eyes as I told her that the missing 5 years of her life had been found. It was priceless!
I share that poignant moment to underscore the need to have someone with knowledge and wisdom work on your computer.
William Emett 503-572-1307 bill@InHomeComputerFix.com
Never in the history of computers has pc repair been easier and more convenient than by online computer repair. Every morning I read a dozen or so requests for online repair. (Remote login sessions are preauthorized by the client) The problem is described and I just logon to my client’s computer remotely and fix the problem described. Often it is a minor but pesky issue like how to change my homepage or an unwelcome taskbar that has appeared for instance. The problem is typically fixed in less than 3 minutes and I am on to my next remote session client. (Such issues don’t result in a charge whatsoever.)
When a problem is larger I contact the customer by phone or text (or through the screen when the customer is at their pc) and tell them the steps needed to resolve their issue and make further recommendations as needed and quote the exact cost upfront so surprises are avoided. Payment is made later by debit or credit card.
Customers often tell me that they feel spoiled by my service since I only charge for matters involving significant time. I have no problem with this arrangement since I can tend to multiple customers and issues simultaneously while remote servicing a computer. One of the things missing in modern business is the “good will” service of yesteryear when customers were not nickel and dimed at every turn. This resulted in a bond between business and customer that more resembled friendship than commerce. Many of my customers have become trusted friends. Yet some have not seen me in years since remote servicing has resolved all their issues without a physical visit.
Online computer repair has brought many unintended benefits compared to what a shop can or will do. ALL repairs are done in full view of the customer. This provides a sense of trust as they watch. Some technicians HATE being watched. I welcome it. It allows the customer to see the complexity of what we do and appreciate our expertise. Some customers HATE to watch describing it like “watching grass grow”. But the choice is theirs.
Because I work on a flat rate basis and am not tied up at their home I can run extensive scans and processes remotely that I would never dream running if I were at their home due to time constraints. This relaxed approach enables me to do a comprehensive analysis, diagnosis and repair without having to charge more. It’s a win/win.
Occasionally a repair cannot be done remotely but if you have internet access virtually any problem can be fixed online. If you have not had remote service give it a try. You will discover what dozens of my clients have said. “Why would I ever take my computer to a shop again?”
William Emett 503-572-1307