HomeMacMaintenanceTroubleshooting, Ignorance, and Impatience, Oh My!

When you are a startup entrepreneur your Mac is in your hands. But when Mac trouble comes knocking at your door, it slows you down. There is nothing worse than trying to meet the deadline and your Mac is giving you fits.

Problem. When I worked at Apple I had a gentleman who approached me with two MacBook Airs and handed them to me and stated, “One of these MacBooks works connecting to the network the other does not and I am frustrated enough to return both of them and get my money back.”

I showed the gentleman to the nearest place so we can investigate what was happening and began troubleshooting. Five minutes. Ten minutes. Fifteen minutes later, I noticed the man’s frustration grew as I continued my troubleshooting techniques.

Troubleshooting. As with troubleshooting anything, including a Mac, there is a basic structure and process to start from to eliminate and divide and conquer the problem and its location, narrowing down the problems. You eliminate the easiest things or the most common problems first to see if this fixes the problem that you are encountering. That’s what I was doing for this gentleman and his two laptops, but you could see that as I spent more time troubleshooting he was getting more and more impatient. I explained that sometimes finding the solution requires time and while this calmed him down a bit, but you could still see in his face he was still frustrated.

After about 20 to 30 minutes I had found my answer and got a big smile on my face. The gentleman asked, “What did you find?” I asked the gentleman to compare both network configuration pieces of information and see what he could tell me. He looked at each Mac and after about 15 seconds he looked up and straight at me with a wide grin on his face and gave me a high five!

The gentleman could not stop smiling and dancing about his fixed Mac. He stated, “I was literally on the phone for hours with Mac technicians and they could not find the problem that you just fixed. You guys are awesome, unbelievable, and I’m glad that I have Macs to run my office!”

Solution. What was the problem? He had missed one letter in his domain name for his network configuration information.

When it comes to troubleshooting a Mac there needs to be a methodical process to divide and narrow down where the problem lies. Too often a Mac user’s frustration begins to show after not finding the problem within the time they want to get it done. Sometimes that frustration carries over into what a technician is trying to do, even if the Mac user states, “I’ve already DONE that part.”

Lessons Learned. Some Mac users ARE very good and do a correct troubleshooting process, but when meeting a Mac user for the first time you as the technician have to confirm what has been previously done, even when it takes more time. Why? Because of what happened above. If I had not started “at the beginning” of any troubleshooting I never would have found the problem and the Mac user would have really gone off his rocker at nothing getting fixed.

So, how do you prevent this? First, don’t wait until it’s too late and you’re about to hit the roof, you’re time is worth MUCH more, so end the “I can do it myself” and let someone help you out sooner rather than later. Second,┬ánext time you’re with a Mac Genius, give them some credit and room to breath and you go work on something else. You’ll both be better off.

What has been your troubleshooting horror story?

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