One of the hardest parts of working in a tech field is dealing with clients that aren't as computer literate as you are. Explaining computer concepts to people who aren't familiar with the terms you are using can leave you at a loss. It is important to never underestimate the ignorant, and sometimes, when you are troubleshooting with a client, you have to start explaining things at a three year old level to rule out basic mistakes and to determine where the problem is. Keep in mind that a help desk job is there to help people who are having problems, and the people who have problems the most frequently are people who don't understand computers at all.
For many, this is the single most stressful part of their job. The only thing that you can do is take a deep breath and laugh about it.
So, just for a laugh, here is a funny example from Not Always Right. The person writing in is an employee working at a help desk in MD.
(It takes me ten minutes to determine the caller is actually on a Mac running a Windows emulation program.)
Me: “Does your mouse have one big button?”
Me: “So you are on a Mac? This game is not supported on a Mac. I can’t help you. I’m sorry.”
Customer: “No, it isn’t. I am running windows 98.”
Me: “Look at the side of the computer. Is there a big apple logo on it?”
Customer: “Of course there is. It’s an Apple computer.”
Me: “Which means it’s MacOS…this game does not run on that OS.”
Customer: “But I am in Windows mode.”
Me: “Are you using SoftWindows to emulate a Windows 98 OS?”
Me: “We don’t support our titles on that.”
Customer: “What if I tried changing the drivers?”
Me: “No, that wouldn’t work sir.”
Customer: “What if I tried changing other settings?”
Me: “I’m afraid not. Sir, if you want me to help get it working the system it was designed for I would be happy to do that but I can’t help with emulated Window OS’s on a Mac.”
Customer: “What if I tried it on my games console?”
Me: “The Windows version of this game won’t work on a…hang on. Take the disk out of the drive and tell me what color the bottom of it is.”
Me: “This is the console version of the game. Did you try it on your console?”
Customer: “Yes. I worked fine there.”
Me: “So, why are you trying to run a console game on a Macintosh with an emulated version of Windows on it?”
Customer: “I thought it would run faster?”
Although this is a funny story, you have to admit that the employee showed great patience and compassion for the caller. By taking the time to ask the right questions, it became obvious what the problem was. And although there was no way to fix it, it was still good for a laugh.
By Melissa Kennedy- Melissa is a freelance writer and regular contributor to several websites and other publications, a volunteer, a full time mom and an active job seeker.