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Interacting with nerds, #1

By November 2, 2012No Comments

Interacting with nerds, #1 - Mahoney Web MarketingFirstly I suppose I am a nerd myself. I’m slightly more than geeky when it comes to tech, and I’ve been wearing these huge glasses way before hipsters first picked them up.

However, there are a few things about me that separate me out from the nerd crowd. And one of the biggies is…I can communicate, with you, in a way you’ll understand. In fact a few of my clients about a decade ago took to calling me “The geek who can speak”. At the time I wasn’t sure if I should be flattered or flummoxed. I’m still unsure.

Anyway, quite famously, when you seek advice from a nerd they’re likely to respond “Have you tried turning it on and off again”, and for good reason—it usually works.

I had an interaction with a support helpdesk this morning; one of their WordPress themes was playing up and I submitted a support ticket, knowing that it would take them at least 24 hours to get to it, so I was hoping for a helpful reply.

“Have you upgraded to the latest version?” was all I got back. Fullstop. It’s the software equivalent of hitting the power button twice, because it is, to most developers mind’s, the most likely thing to fix the problem.

The other thing it has in common with making use of the on/off switch, is it’s the path of least resistance. Now, personally I take offence when asked by anyone, in any situation, “Have you done the least thing you possible could without having done nothing?” and this situation is no different.

Anyway, I’m sharing this to give some practical advice. When writing to support lines about online products, use this easy to follow formula:

To whom it may concern,

I have updated my software to the latest version as available from your website, but am still finding that {insert rest of issue here}.

I replied to the less-than-welcome response I got of course, just a few minutes ago. And now I’m going to wait the inevitable 24 hours for the follow-up.

I just hope for everyone’s sake that they don’t come back asking me to restart the web server. I’ve had these giant glasses a long time, and I’m not afraid to use them.


Author Peter

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