One of the things I love about computer support is that my job never gets old. Computer operating systems and software updates happen almost every day. For the most part, these improvements are wonderful, and helpful.
Interestingly, they’re also increasingly invisible. You’ll happily work away, and then find a feature works slightly differently than it did yesterday. You’ll have a flash of recognition, and the change becomes instantaneously normalized.
Five years ago, I spent a significant percentage of my time helping customers download and install software updates. Today, many of them happen automatically in the background. This means I now spend my time helping my customers work with their computers, instead of me working on their computers.
I think this is time and money much better spent. I love it when business owners invest in training, instead of spending their resources keeping their computers up-to-date.
Software innovations make my support fantasies a new reality. 10 years ago, I started my day on MapQuest creating a route to take me from client to client around the Portland/Vancouver area. The invention of the iPhone allowed me to pull up the map and get instantaneous directions to my next destination while idling in the customer’s driveway. If I had a cancellation or had to squeeze in a new appointment, easy-peasy. I just searched for the new address, and off I went.
The wild winter weather we experienced in Portland this week brought home for me the importance of another innovation: working virtually with my clients. I’ve been screen sharing for a few years, but in the last year I started using software called Zoom. When the snow and ice hit in December, I didn’t have to cancel all my appointments. I walked my clients through screen sharing with me, even taking control of their computers so that I could click as needed.
The weather didn’t stop us! They got the help and training they needed without having to reschedule.
These weather emergencies helped me realize that the technology was now robust enough that maybe I no longer need to drive around to my clients. Screen sharing will allow me to save 30 to 60 minutes between each of my appointments. I will save money on gas, and wear and tear on my car. And now I can either see more people, or get a little bit of my own work done during the day instead of on the couch at night.
I originally started working for myself because I didn’t want a job that was the same every day. Thanks to the constant technology evolution, even my workflow is constantly evolving. I can get more done with less frustration. I love my job, and that technology makes it all possible.
Ps. I just dictated most of this article, instead of typing it! All I had to do was some copy editing. Take that, Dvorak!