Caution – be careful when a client describes his problem

I was reminded of a basic client service issue last week, , , “You need to be careful in reaching conclusions based upon your client’s description of a problem”.

My wife’s cousin called us last week. He is more like a big brother to Dorine so our families are close. He was in town trying to get his PC fixed, but was getting nowhere fast.

I knew he was having a problem because he mentioned something about it a couple of weeks before. He had others work on the problem but it was apparently not yet resolved. He decided to take the PC to one of the major computer stores which apparently resulted in no help, , , so he called to see if I knew anyone who might be able to look at the issue.

I asked him to describe his problem, and here is what he told me.

  • It started when he installed a new printer. The new printer driver apparently messed up several things on his PC.
  • He took it to a local guy who was successful in removing the printer driver and restoring is PC.
  • Everything seemed to work except for his Photoshop software. For some reason, he couldn’t view his newer photos. All the older photo files could be opened and viewed but recent photos could not be opened.
  • He receives an error stating, “Can’t view the file. It is an invalid file type.”

Kenny uses Photoshop quite a lot and he was extremely frustrated. He had reinstalled Photoshop a couple of times but could not get past this “invalid file type” problem. As a result, he can’t use Photoshop to work on his new photography projects. This is a significant business problem for him.

What to do?

Initially, I thought about restoring his PC to a previous date to see if that would fix the problem. Then, I thought of a couple of other possible ways to resolve his problem.

But then I had an idea that would save us time and ultimately lead to the solution.

I thought, “Let’s focus on the problem we know we have (invalid file type) and let’s not assume the installation of the printer has caused this problem with Photoshop. Maybe the printer installation is the issue, but we need to focus on the specific problem that has been identified for us, , , Photoshop cannot open and view a new photo file, , , and we have a specific message telling us what the problem is.

How do you find the answer to a problem? 

Most of the world’s questions are answered in GOOGLE.

So, I keyed in the phrase “Photoshop – invalid file type” and search Google for possible help.

Sure enough, the first listing comes right off the Adobe web site and since Photoshop is an Adobe product, , , I’m feeling pretty good already.

I read the information and in it is listed the specific steps to diagnose and solve this problem.

To make a long story short, Kenny brought his PC over to our house and we resolved the problem in just a few minutes. Now, this was after several weeks of having others look at the problem but not able to resolve the issue.

I’m not a heavy technical person, , , in fact, you don’t want me working on your PC.

What was the problem?

The issue actually had nothing to do with the printer Kenny had installed and subsequently removed. It was an entirely different issue.

The problem was that he had bought a new camera and the Photoshop plug-in that converts a camera’s raw image to a Photoshop file that can be modified and manipulated needed to be updated to support the new camera.

The reason the others were not able to fix his problem is because they were working on what the client thought to be the problem. Unfortunately, both the client and his support people were chasing the wrong issue, , , a waste of time, , , and very frustrating for all.

Now, I’ll be the first to tell you, I was lucky to solve this issue so easily and quickly. But the reason I was able to solve it is because I focused on the defined problem (Invalid file type in Photoshop) as opposed to assuming the client was correct in his assumption that it had to do with installing a printer.

The printer may have caused other issues on his PC but it had nothing to do with the fact he could not view his new photos in Photoshop.

The lesson – Don’t just assume your client knows what is wrong. Diagnose the problem based upon the facts you can determine, , , not assumptions someone gives you. The assumptions may be helpful, but they can also lead you down the wrong path and cost valuable time and create tremendous frustration for all involved.

At the end of the day, most problems are caused by something pretty simple. The trick is to discover what that “simple thing” is that’s causing the problem.

I get real nervous when I see a PC technician start making all kinds of changes on a PC very quickly. In many cases, they create more problems rather than taking their time to troubleshoot the issue before making any type of changes to the PC.

Another lesson – GOOGLE has the answers. . . I’ve discovered the answer to many technical issues using GOOGLE searches.

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