How to Help Non-Geek Family Members With Computer Problems

Being the only geek, or only admitted one, in your family comes with a great responsibility. Whether you like it or not, you’re going to be called on by members of your immediate and extended family from time to time to fix their computer issues. If you’re married, your in-laws will undoubtedly add you to their phone tree as their official “computer guy”. Here are a few tips on how to help non-geek family members with computer problems:

Make Out Lists of Steps for Family Members to Follow
Sometimes, it can be very difficult to explain the process of checking email to someone over the phone. It’s not like you have training and/or experience doing tech support. Even if you do, family members seem to be more difficult to work with than strangers by an extreme degree. Next time your mother calls you right before you sit down to dinner because she can’t remember how to check her voice mail, make a mental note to type out a step-by-step list of instructions to give her the next time you see her. That way, instead of calling you, she may be more inclined to check the list to jog her memory.

Invest in Remote Access Software
Software including: GoToAssist (use coupon code: CHRIS), TeamViewer, and LogMeIn are all excellent solutions that can help you connect to your family member’s misbehaving PC and show them how to solve their issue without having to hop in the car and drive over. When long explanations aren’t yielding any results, remote access can very well be the next best thing to spending an entire weekend in front of their computer teaching them how to use their system. In many cases, it’s faster to solve something yourself than explain it to someone else.

Create a Support Strategy
If you don’t live in the same city, and your relatives have an issue you really can’t resolve yourself, it’s probably a good idea to do some research on their local tech businesses to determine where they can go. It’s too easy to go right for the big store where they charge insane amounts of money for what amounts to a few minutes of actual work. In some cases, it may be easier to research and call these places yourself. That way you can describe the problem as so they have something more to go on than, “It doesn’t work!” Make sure, especially if they have no real understanding about what the repair shop tells them the problem is, that they call you or make you the primary contact.