This week I have been having computer problems, which have been really frustrating.   My main PC decided to pack up and although I have been diligently backing up all my files onto my new external hard drive (good Christmas present!) when I came to open the database on my laptop it would not open.

So got a techie person to access to problematic hard drive and copy the files again onto DVD for me.  Same files, same outcome – it did not work.  Next I tried to find a technical support person who knew about the particular software package that would be able to help.   This was to drive me insane.  The first company I spoke to, claimed to have knowledge of the package but as soon as I explained a little more detail about the problem and they went online and looked at what I was talking about, it became clear they had no idea.  So we gave up. I left the call feeling frustrated.

Back to Google to search for some others to help. Next came another company, quite a large one, who said noone was available and could they call me back.  I am still waiting for that call!! My frustration increased.

Finally, after spending half a day on this, and about to resign myself to the idea of losing my 3500 contacts, I had one last go and spotted a company that specifically claim to support this software product. What a different experience I had.   The phone was answered pleasantly and I was told that the correct person who knows about this package would call me back in 5 minutes. (she does). I then speak to a knowledgeable, pleasant, helpful and friendly female, who before asking me to log on immediately and give her access (like the other one did), she found out what the exact problem was, what I had done and why it was not working.  Turns out it was me – I had not backed up the files in the correct manner and that is why it would not work.  This was all discovered in less than 5 minutes and an explanation given as to how they can help me rebuild the data.   Wow!  What a difference. I left the call with confidence that the problem can be solved, and that someone had taken the time and trouble to treat me like a person, that was not an IT idiot.  Now was it just chance that it was a woman – I am not sure but if you want to speak to a company that can provide ACT! technical support in a helpful way, I highly recommend them. 

So what is the learning from this? 

1. Front line staff on the phone are giving an impression to your customers about your business. Do you really care?  Can you really help them?  If you can't then have the decency to say so and recommend someone else or leave it at that.  As we all know a satisfied customer will tell all their friends about a good experience, so you get some positive PR for nothing. There are some good reminders in this article. 

2.  IT Training is worth investing in.  As a "doer" I like nothing better than to get stuck into a new software package and discover what it can do along the way.  Yes I had basic training about five years ago, but as with anything there are changes to the way programs work.  

3.  Being a women-owned and run business can be a marketing advantage, particuarly those working in male dominated industries – so use it as a marketing tool to attract more customers. 

4.  That in everyday situations, there is always something to blog about!