This post is addressed to those who own or manage small offices, such as professional people. In fact all of my regular customers are offices of various professional people The key problem that I observe in the use of computers in the office is simply that people absolutely will not take time to actually learn to use the computer and the necessary software.
When I try to spend time with a customer or customer’s employee explaining how the software works or how it will accomplish what he or she wants it to, I am generally met with impatience. The end result is urgent phone calls when users find out they are unable to accomplish what they want to using the expensive equipment and software they have purchased.
I can help a customer choose the right hardware and software. I can install it for them. I can set up my best guess at how they’d prefer their preferences. I’m actually pretty good at that. I can create shortcuts and try to automate things as much as possible, but the user will still have to learn how to use what they have purchased.
People consistently do not want to spend the time or money on training, and the emphasis seems to be on time. I know this because people fail to find the time to do the proper training even when it is part of an installation or another contract. The trainer often has to be extremely aggressive in getting the times set up, and even then often senior people, including the business owner don’t show up.
The result? The company spends more time and money later getting support. It happens every time.
People who will use a PC in their work need to learn how to use it properly and how to describe a problem when they need help. An extremely high percentage of calls I receive start with “my computer isn’t working.” When I ask for more information, I frequently hear an impatient, “It just doesn’t work.” Now the computer that “just doesn’t work” may be booting up properly, allowing the user to open the software, but somehow it’s not printing, but the user, focused on that one task, just notices that it “doesn’t work.”
Basic computer literacy is a necessity in the office–the parts of the machine, menus, icons, mouse usage (click, double click, right mouse button, etc.), where the on/off switch is located, and how to describe a problem. As an office owner or manager, you can choose either to spend the money, time, and effort to have the staff trained, or you will spend even more money and time later to make up for the lack. It’s your choice.