PC Hardware

Lesson 2: Customer Service

Whether you're in business for yourself or part of a large organization, there is more to becoming a computer professional than just fixing computers. Lesson 1 focused on how to stay on top of your profession. This lesson focuses on perhaps the most important element of the professional configuration-the customer. Remember that whether you are a consultant, a contractor, or on the staff of a large organization, you are working on an individual's computer and that individual is your customer. Your customers are your business.

After this lesson, you will be able to:
  • Identify the level of support needed to resolve a problem.

  • Put techniques for offering good customer service to use.

Estimated lesson time: 15 minutes

Getting Organized-Keeping Records

Repairing computers can be a time-consuming job. When a computer goes down or has some kind of glitch, the owner or operator is inevitably in the middle of a major project and rarely has time or patience to address the problem. Therefore, being an efficient and effective service provider is as important as being able to resolve hardware or software problems. It is as important to work smart as it is to work hard. Being organized and keeping good records is the key to becoming efficient, effective, and successful.

How much time does it take you to check IRQs every time you install a new card on the same computer? Do you spend too much time rebuilding CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT files when an end user accidentally erases them? Spending a few minutes reviewing and updating your records each time you install a new system or perform maintenance and can save you hours in the long run.

Keep a simple set of documents that contains essential information for each computer you work on. Create a database, spreadsheet, or word processor file to make updating easy. Be sure to back up the data and keep a hard copy on file for quick reference. The following table provides some suggestions about the information you might want to keep.

Suggestion Usage
Name each computer. Which name you choose does not matter, but make it unique and descriptive. Establish naming conventions to make remembering them easier. Use names in addition to serial numbers.
Document all technical information. Include the operating system name and version, CONFIG.SYS, AUTOEXEC.BAT, IRQs, I/O base address, DMA channels, device driver names, processor type and speed, size of cache, RAM, BIOS, monitor, video card, modems, and sound cards.
Save startup data to floppy disks (unique data). Include the startup disk (based on the current version of the operating system, AUTOEXEC.BAT, and CONFIG.SYS), device driver disks, and recovery disks-as required by antivirus program or system.
Keep an incident log. In your log of events for each computer include such things as the user, application installations (date and version), upgrades (hardware), and problems (cause of failure and actions taken for resolution).