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Is my patience wearing thin with age?

Posted by: DBS

Tagged in: Untagged 


I am 56.

Maybe I am unusual in that I was exposed to computer technology at a very early age (13) and I have spent my entire working life in the technology industry from support to marketing, to sales to account management.

But I am becoming more frustrated than ever with customers who are it seems to me becoming more technologically stupid.

Let me put together a few recent instances and create an imaginary customer who I shall call Mrs. Jones.

Mrs Jones is an office administrator at a well respected company. They use a software solution that my company wrote and we support and enhance.

We regularly provide updates to the different software components of the solution and it is the customer's responsibility in the case of Mrs. Jones to download the solution from our FTP site and follow the written instructions to install it. These instructions are specific for each site as each installation is different as the customers have different servers with different names as well as locations on the server that the applications are installed in.

Mrs. Jones fails everytime to get the software installed. With each failure comes the assumption that our software is wrong or that we have changed the instructions. This assumption spreads to the senior management in the company who now question the effectiveness of our solution.

Mrs. Jones is about my age and yes has not spent a working life in IT but please it is a simple process of some 4 steps to download and install the software. It is more complex to parallel park a car and plenty fail at that.

We have over 500 installations of the software in Africa but thankfully only a handful of Mrs. Jones.

Am I just getting impatient? Or do I expect the customer to be more IT literate than they are?


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Comments (8)Add Comment
written by Jawellnofine, March 30, 2011
Why don't you offer to do the downloads for Mr. Jones? If I read between the lines, that is what he is wanting.
written by Charmed, March 30, 2011
Wait till you have to offer web support to the travel industry [who are about 95% female]. I used to do that. I wanted to pull my hair out. I'm NOT a tech support person, can't deal with stupidity.smilies/shocked.gif
written by Jawellnofine, March 30, 2011
The latent fear that one may bust something is the major factor (although they will all deny it) amongst non IT persons.
written by Skarlett_Fury, March 30, 2011
I don't think you're being impatient. I think that when confronted with technology, a lot of people freeze up and automatically assume that the computer/software/tech is out to get them, and that one incorrect click or keystroke will implode their computer.

And it's not just older people. It's people my age too (21). It's so frustrating, when all the person has to do is (actually) read the error message so that they can follow the correct steps to fix it. Instead, they see this pop-up dialog box, and they go, "It's broken".

You have my sympathy.
written by DBS, March 30, 2011
@jawellnofine they would be very happy for us to do it but they don't want to pay for our services to do it.
written by Dissol, March 31, 2011
I don't think the problem is with your patience; I am sure the world is becoming more stupid. Maybe it is because we are of a similar age, but I find I am becoming increasingly impatient with stupidity from all ages. What is frightening is that the stupidity can come from people in powerful positions. One example is Sarah Palin, who was nearly one (weak) heartbeat away from controlling the only super power left in the world. Of course you also need to add all those millions of people who voted for her (& may vote for her again next time). So as not to be viewed as anti-American, then another example could be Prince Charles, a dickhead of the highest order who regularly comes out with the most insane, dangerous comments & "advice" for society. I see & hear stupidity daily from idiots who decide that they can park in the clearly marked accessible parking bays, even though they have no blue placard, disability, or right, to do so. I see it from students who embrace all sorts of wacky "alternative medicine" or stupid rubber "power balance" bracelets. The morons who choose to reject whole aspects of science & technology (from evolution to climate change to whatever), merely because it does not conform to the outdated, ancient world views that they cling to. If it makes you feel better, our view is shared by David Attenborough who was interviewed recently, complaining about the modern practice of "dumbing down" his programmes to make them more "accessible" to the modern audience who cannot engage their own brains, but need all information carefully packaged for them.
written by TyrannicalDuck, March 31, 2011
This is precise reason I left the realm of support. I can't deal with this level of dim. If you've managed to keep your cool through all that, then kudos to you!
written by grahampvdm, April 01, 2011
I don’t think it’s a problem with you either. I done support for customer for a long time and people either a) cannot grasp the concept or b) refuse to. Some people do want everything done for them. In this case I usually say “sorry I cannot help” and tend to move on. I’m am more than happy to help those who want to learn.

The most well-written and in-depth instructions are wasted on those who refuse to read them.

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