There’s a good post on the Help Desk at TechRepublic on support requests one should turn down. Since I provide support generally on an annual basis, this is something I have already learned. I have also learned that simply having the specifics in writing doesn’t make people happy. When you receive a support call, what the client wants is to have things start working. They don’t want an explanation of why they have to go somewhere else.
But through building relationships with clients, I have been able to deal with those issues. What remains is the simple fact that while people find computers intimidating, they think the “computer guru” (a term I diligently try to avoid) should be able to fix absolutely anything. This should then mean that they don’t need a support contract for QuickBooks, for example, because they have someone managing their network. This issue went so far as asking me to solve an issue in the state tax data in QuickBooks, one that was an accounting issue, not a software issue.
Computers are tools, and like any other tool you have to learn to use them. In addition, they are a complex tool, and that means that you can’t learn to use them effectively in a few minutes.
I have handled this with most of my clients. If you own a small business, you need to think seriously about this. Support contracts and time spent training may end up saving you money in the long run. Think seriously about the possible results when considering whether to use them.