The Biggest Frustrations With Technology And How To Solve Them
By Terry L. Brock
Technology is a real boost for productivity. Anyone who has worked with technology and discovered the productivity-enhancing capabilities it has knows how valuable and integral in our lives it has become. However, it is not without its frustrations.
This week we’ll focus on the top five frustrations that I’ve heard from audiences where I present. These are not the entire list of frustrations that people experience. However, they do represent common rationalizations for wanting to throw your computer out the window! Maybe you can relate to some of these.
1. Technological Obsolescence. It seems that as soon as YOU buy your computer system that the next month you see a better system with more power at a lower price. So, you decide to wait. Then you could just keep waiting forever since technology is changing very rapidly. Solutions:
• Realize that this is the nature of our industry. There is not much you can do about it. Everyone is facing the same challenges. Besides, would you want all technological advancements to suddenly stop just because YOU bought a system? Accept reality.
• Budget for a faster payback. Don’t wait for 10 years to get a payback on your computer system. In general, a payback in 1-3 years is reasonable for most businesses. Many will see a payback much sooner. If you can’t get a payback faster, you might want to reconsider purchase (see rent vs. purchase below).
• Consider renting before buying. Often you can get the use out of the system without having to buy it. Remember, you want the benefits of the system, not necessarily the ownership. Renting before you buy makes sense in a lot of places, particularly with computers. LCD projectors are a good example. Each year they come out with better and better projectors. If you’re only doing a few presentations a year, it might be better for you to rent than purchase. If you are doing a major road show or several of your reps can use the LCD projector for generating more sales, go for it! Use your spreadsheet to calculate returns here.
• Leap frog with the technology. Get the best of what is out there now. From there you might be better advised to wait for the generation AFTER yours. That way you’ll only be a maximum of one generation behind. However, each time you should see a clear payback before investing in the newer system.
2. Stuff Just Doesn’t Work As You Were Told. The ad in the computer magazine seemed to say that this product would solve all my earthly problems and I’d go marching into the Garden of Eden. Often we find that the glitter of the new software or hardware fades quickly when trying to install it. You’ll often find a conflict between various packages as well. Solutions:
• Stay away from those companies that do a poor job. Buy software based more on the COMPANY than the actual software itself. If a company doesn’t have a good reputation, avoid them. This is your business and software will be used extensively to run your business.
• If you REALLY want to get some action, put your complaint on a NewsGroup or another Blog. You accomplish three things, 1) You blow off steam knowing that millions of people now have access to your saga with the company, 2) You feel good knowing you have helped another struggling, frustrated computer user avoid a potentially bad situation, 3) You might even get an answer. Under the “Squeaky wheel gets the grease” axiom, many technology companies regularly scan newsgroups for anything that is mentioned about their own company. If they see you have had a horrific problem someone in the company who can help you might notice your dilemma and come to your assistance. Remember, you might have experienced only one person who was a detriment to the company. The company might even be very grateful that you notified them of an employee who is representing them badly and they could take corrective action.
• Get a local consultant who can help you with your problems. A warm body is often the best solution. Call the software company for a list of recommended resellers or consultants in your area.
• Check the company’s web site for support. Many companies are now putting support on line. Check a company’s web site to see if they offer solutions for common problems.
3. Pathetic Customer Support. This frustration includes waiting on hold forever, incompetent support staff and inconsiderate support staff. Solutions:
• Take matters into your own hands. Join a local users group, read books, order CD-ROM training discs, check the Net and get a warm body (see above recommendation)!
• Ask for a supervisor. I experienced this recently when I couldn’t get answers after a 55 minute dialogue with a telephone technician at a computer company. When I asked for and got through to the supervisor, he knew exactly what to do to solve my problem. It was fixed in about 5 minutes. I should have asked for the supervisor after 15 minutes!
• Call later. Often support calls are directed to centers in various places around the country. You can increase your chances of getting the proper help by calling again at a different time of day.
• Most of all, acknowledge reality. It is tough to find good, competent and caring support people. When you find a company that provides that kind of support (TechSmith at www.techsmith.com comes to mind), stick with them. Any product can be good or bad. It is what the company does once you have that product that makes a difference.
4. Slow Net connections. This is a common frustration now with the Internet playing such a big part in technology. Solutions:
• Get some type of high-speed access to the Net. These faster lines will speed up your connection enormously. The investment you make into high speed access will pay of richly for you in increased productivity.
• Use the Net For As Much As Possible. Today we can use the Net for much more than e-mail. Get the fastest access you can and leverage technology as your “robot slave” to get work done. Book travel cheaply. Buy products cheaply (pricegrabber.com, mysimon.com, nextag.com come to mind as excellent shopping research tools). The old days meant buying software for your computer. Today we’re doing more and more on the Net and leaving the big computers behind.
• Have multiple ways to access the Net. Things break. Deal with it. Get a variety of ways to get access to the Net including wireless and multiple accounts. Why waste your energy getting frustrated when (not if) something goes down? Always have a Plan B, Plan C and Perhaps a Plan D in place.
Your productivity can increase and your frustrations decrease by implementing these ideas. Let us know your top frustrations. Send us an e-mail message through our web site and we’ll send you a free special report on how to eliminate these and other common problems.
Terry Brock is a marketing coach who helps business owners market more effectively leveraging technology. He shows busy professionals how to squeeze more out of their busy days using the right rules and tools. He can be reached at 407-363-0505, by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or through his website at www.terrybrock.com.
Copyright © 2005, Terry Brock, All Rights Reserved Internationally. No portion may be reprinted or used in any way without prior written permission.