Design007 Magazine

Design007-Jan2018

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104 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I JANUARY 2018 by someone who I consider to be an expert in the subject even though I know that he would never think of himself in that manner. I have said in this column before that all of us are in the customer support game, even if we aren't actively supporting our company's customers. Whether it is your co-workers, your boss, or even your family members or your extended community, we all end up sup - porting others somehow. Good customer sup- port practices are important whether we are manning a support line, or if a co-worker is asking us for help with a PCB layout. And with my furnace problems, I found that Jack was a master at support. Here are some basic prin - ciples of support that I observed in him that I belie ve would helpful for all of us in the PCB community. First, Jack put me at ease with the situation. He didn't try to buffalo me with technobabble, nor did he give me false hope. He patiently explained to me what was wrong at a level that I could understand, what his plan was, and how we would proceed from there. When his initial plan of attack didn't fix the furnace, he out - lined a new plan making sure that I understood the change in direction. In all of this he never lied or held anything back from me. When it became apparent that the fix he planned on wasn't going to work, he admitted to it hon - estly and led us through to the next step. Think about the times that you've been able to help someone. Perhaps a co-worker can't figure out how to get the layout software to add a via where they need it, or a specific net won't route to the pin that it should. The last thing that your co-worker needs at that moment is to see indifference in your eyes or to be baffled by technobabble. Depending on the gravity of the situation, they may be in a real panic. You may not have all the answers that they need, but by helping them to be at ease with the situ- ation, often a solution will present itself that they couldn't see before. The key here is to build trust and then not betray that trust when your co-worker needs your help. There were many times when I was supporting CAD customers that I would get a panicked call from someone who was stuck and couldn't get their layout tools to work the way that they expected them to. The first thing that I did was to make sure that they knew that I was there to help them, and that I would see them through the problem. Once they knew that someone had their back, their panic would subside and then we could get a lot more productive work done towards resolv- ing their problem. The next thing that I noticed is how thor- oughly Jack guided me through the entire pro- cess. This is important: When all the repairs failed to fix the furnace, the only option left was to invest thousands of dollars in a new furnace. If Jack had told me, "Sorry I can't help you, just give me thousands of dollars for a new furnace" when he first showed up, I probably would have thrown him out on his ear. Instead, he educated me on how furnaces work, what was broken, and how he was attempting to repair it. When those repairs didn't work, I could clearly see why and that the only option left was to replace it. When we are helping others with a prob- lem, the best thing we can do is to help them to understand what is going on so that they can be part of the solution. There are some circumstances that will call for you to step in and fix the problem and then move on, this is part of regular customer support. There are many other scenarios though where it is better to guide the other person through the problem instead of taking it out of their hands. In this way, you will build trust with the other person, and they will learn more to hopefully be able to solve their own similar problems in the future. I have said in this column before that all of us are in the customer support game, even if we aren't actively supporting our company's customers.

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