The Same Old Story

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I’m thinking about writing a book for technicians working the field called “The Same Old Story”. How many of you have gone to visit a client, did a repair and then only to be called back the following day because “you messed something up.” Let’s go through the list, see whether you see yourself in this picture.

“since you fixed my computer it’s been very slow” – kudos to the son and his porno site (on your computer buddy! Maybe it was you!)”

“since you fixed the TV the sound is soft” – kudos to the husband who didn’t know ‘hotel mode’ existed before you told him.

“don’t worry, take your time” – normally stated by the most impatient of us. If you’re not worried don’t say anything.

“since you worked on the VCR the head has gone skew” – welcome to the world of helical heads. Lesson learnt – never show a client how to manually clean a VCR head.

“the engine makes a noise” – after you replaced the silencer system. Maybe 300 000 miles has something to do with it.

“the last technician was much better, he fixed the thing in 15 minutes” – maybe a different fault? Maybe it’s because your TV set is now 20 years old.

“the new printer only did 20 pages” – because (a) your son was using the printer while you weren’t looking or (b) the more common ‘full colour A4 pages from head to toe’. With demo cartridges.

“I never go to porno sites” – ah, the old one, the very best. The porno sites came to you.

“I bought a backup drive and now that I have made a backup the backup drive crashed – I don’t have another copy. You sold me crap!” – Ummm, this one boggles the mind.

“My brand new drive crashed – I’m holding you responsible for getting my data back!” – if it was a toaster would you hold the seller responsible for making you toast. What about a vibrator?

“My PC has no operating system on it” – of course not, the last one was pirated. Would you like to forward the complaint to Microsoft.

Telephonically: “You promised to modify my decoder so I don’t have to pay for the channels. You still haven’t been round – I’m going to tell my friends how unreliable you are”.  – Oh yes, this actually happened.

“I bought three of these things – none of them work!” – let’s try user error.

“I’m returning this software – it doen’t work” – yes, but I bet you made a backup copy somewhere.

The world famous Windows 98 and XP song:  “how do I activate this, the activation code sticker (Ed – COA) has gone. I am returning this and want a new one.”  – Sorry buddy, that’s what you pay for – that little sticker.

“My printer only prints one page a minute” – maybe try a different resolution.

“My printer jams after you worked on it” – that’s right folks, same old ribbon.

“the motherboard caught alight after I put in the USB device” – try connecting the headers correctly.

“I did register the Microsoft Office, but I never used it. I want the professional edition, it has powerpoint” –  try reading the instructions before opening the package.

“the screen on my notebook cracked after you worked on it” – sure, when we tested it in front you nobody noticed this small problem.

“make out a quote for my insurers and replace the hard drive with a SDD drive!” – insurers just love these fraudulent claims. And they still pay up. Don’t do it!

“I have 8 laptops on the network and they all crash. We want to return all of them” – This was a computer sales and service company.

“I’m going to my lawyer!” – looking for instant results. Big balls.

“I’m going to the press!” – looking for instant results. Small balls.

“DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?” – No balls.

“I’ll pay you as soon as you finish this last job.” – the penguin trick. Better known as short arms and deep pockets i.e. limited funds available.

“I don’t care how much this costs, just finish the job”. – naturally.

“a family friend works for ***** and he said that you didn’t do the job properly!” – another expert in this field.

And of course we then move on to Google where everything is true, correct, factual. eHow – “how to fix an ingrown toenail with a hairbrush.”  Also, how to fix your hard-drive with a set of nail clippers and arc welder. Wiki – “how to split an atom with an axe”. Beware of people that readup on the internet before they ply you with their problem – they may have tried to fix it themselves or better still want to catch you out. There are lots of experts and gurus out there.  Real guru is not an obnoxious piece of canine dropping!

I ran a repair business for 10 years and one learns to read the customer 99% of the time. The one percent is above. My experience is that those that eke out an existence but work hard are the ones that pay their bills, the rich look for excuses, the middlemen look for a quick fix and the best people to do business with are people that run their own business. Most of the time. Find anyone who runs a successful repair business shouting at the lady at the till? They know the buzz. They’ve done a few laps. Of course I have done work for lawyers before – most of them are human to a certain degree but when it comes down to a business agreement you’d better have it in writing. Their DNA is so unlike ours. 😕

My worst clients were in order:

  • a lawyer
  • a doctor
  • a fertiliser factory manager
  • a banker

My best clients were:

The elderly – don’t rip them off.

  • Abalone divers.
  • Most factory workers.
  • People in the repair industry – panel-beaters, mechanics, plumbers.
  • Sea-fairers.  (mainly fishing industry).
  • Corporate.

So don’t just lie there – do something about it.







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