Here are my top five pieces of advice
for those deciding on which consultant to use:
Ring around and get free advice.
Don’t be afraid to ring a few
companies for some free advice. Consultants who
genuinely want to help and believe in good old-fashioned
customer service won’t have any problems with this.
Those that don’t help ‒ avoid them!
Check out experience and qualifications
Nothing beats a word-of-mouth
recommendation from friends but all consultants should
be able to provide a list of satisfied clients you could
contact. Also, if a consultant says he or she has
passed any Microsoft, VMware or Cisco exams they will
have certificates to prove it! So ask them!!
Remember “You’re the boss”. Don’t be
afraid to ask questions, and don’t be blinded by
If the consultant isn’t using plain
English and not taking the time to explain issues –
avoid like the plague.
Do not allow anyone to take away your
If a company’s way of working is to
automatically come and take your PC away – don’t use
If there appears to be a legitimate
reason for needing to take your computer away, only agree to this AFTER they have
completed a full consultancy session on your premises
and have given precise explanations. And
always ensure you obtain a written, signed document for any PC
removal including an agreement stating when it will be returned
free of charge.
Before any work commences, ensure that maximum costs are agreed
Make certain there are no hidden
extras and that costs will not be increased.
Be aware of some typical tactics
used and, so you can spot them, below are some examples
which are used by companies.
Sometimes these are either simply
attempts to get you to part with your money or excuses
made to cover the lack of knowledge by the consultant.
“We offer a free
pick-up service of your computer” might sound good but never let your PC be taken
away from you because If an engineer is
experienced and has the right equipment then
most diagnostics can be done in-situ.
While theft of a PC might be a low
risk, the main problem is ascertaining just how
long before your machine is returned.
When you hear “Sorry, you need
a new computer.” alarm bells should start going off in
Of course there are times when a new
PC is required ‒ e.g. a catastrophic failure of the
motherboard etc. ‒ but most PCs are modular and fixable
or can be upgraded
on a component basis.
If your PC is slow there’s lots
that can be done without jumping straight to getting a new PC
so “We need to completely restore your system” is the catch-all answer
consultants who either don’t understand the problem or
who haven’t been able to convince you to purchase a new
PC from them!
“Your photos, your
documents? …Did YOU not do a back-up? Well, I'm
sorry but it was YOUR responsibility to have backed-up
your data before I started the work.” ‒ This is an
attempt to cover up inadequacies of either lack of
experience or not taking enough care to ensure that your
data such as photos and documents etc. wasn’t deleted.
And anything lost will have gone forever.
“National firm, local
A few companies have
stated that while they are based many miles away they
still offer you a ‘local engineer’.
Often these companies don’t have any
'employees' they just take local people onto their
books with no background checking of skills or
The consultant pays a commission for
every lead passed-on to him or her by the parent company so they
have to ‘sell, sell, sell’ to maximise their charges.
I don't do this because I prefer to
give a personal service ‒ even if it means I have to
decline a commission ‒ but, should the need arise, I
have a number of trustworthy, close associates I have
known over the years who are experts in their fields.
Ring, Ring, “Hello
Never, never, never
give time to cold-callers who claim to be from
'Microsoft', BT, 'Your internet provider' etc., etc.
Plain and simple,
these people are nothing more than con-artists (do a Google search to
find out more).
It’s very annoying that people are
conned in this way. I, my family members and friends have
received many such calls but, thankfully, did not fall
for them. So, if you have been contacted and have any
concerns, ring me and I’ll be very happy to offer
completely free advice.
While some companies also sell computers
and peripherals ‒ and there is no problem with that in
itself – it
can lead to a temptation to sell unnecessarily and does
call into question the impartiality of any advice.
In my case, I’m happy to advise and
arrange for any hardware/software to be provided if asked
but I have not made this a
main part of my consultancy for the above reasons.