Random Conversations

Four Hours & Three Technical Support Technicians Later

Four Hours & Three Technical Support Technicians Later

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A learning opportunity

It started a few days ago when my computer produced a solid black screen instead of its screen saver, and only rebooting would revive it. Soon an error message started popping up announcing a graphics failure. I had a feeling they were related, but what did I know?

As a PC user, I contacted Microsoft Support through their online chat. The first person who helped me was very nice and suggested a simple step to resolve the issue. Initiating that ended our connection, unfortunately without fixing the problem.

The second support technician was distracted. A logical guess is that he was working with a few of us at the same time, most likely to hit a metric by which his performance would be judged.

Links and buttons stopped working as they should and, for the third or fourth time, I asked if the graphics error message indicated part of the problem. He didn’t think so but he was wrong.

He suggested a fix which ended our connection as soon as I initiated it. The issue remained. If he had listened (read), then he chose to invalidate the information I shared. He had already decided on his recommendation.

A Curious Live Person to the Rescue

One of the joys of living in New York City is that options abound for just about everything. I made an appointment at the Microsoft Store the next day and off I went.

Two hours later, my laptop was fixed and my wonderful tech person and I hugged goodbye. We had bonded during our time together, but it started off a bit rough.

Both she and the second online tech person suggested resetting Windows to resolve the problem. It was a fast and easy solution for them, but it would have taken me hours to recreate my customization.

She heard me when I explained that and nodded her head in acknowledgment. That’s when she started looking at the problem differently.

What differentiated her from the second online colleague? Listening to understand, and curiosity to learn more.

It was fascinating to watch her work. She mapped out options in her mind and then tested them. She reached out to trusted colleagues to validate her thinking and to ask for their input, and then she applied what she learned to her thought process. She was putting together pieces of a multi-layered puzzle, and I was in awe.

She was in conversation with my laptop – literally talking to it as she tried one thing and another. Her efforts were focused on understanding it, and that she did. And, as it turned out, the graphics error message sent her on the correct path of discovery.

Reflecting on Listening and Curiosity

I cannot help but think about how expansive, curiosity-filled thinking applies to human interactions.

When we have difficulty interacting with others, our thinking often devolves into labeling them – putting them in a “bucket” if you will. Someone is a Millennial or a Boomer, political left or right, one religion or another.

We tend to think we can understand a person by the label we apply, but that is a limited and often false understanding. Once they are labeled, they stop appearing in their full complexity – their full humanness. Can we look at them instead as a living puzzle with pieces to unravel and connect, like my computer issue?

Listening without judgment and being driven by our curiosity combine to help us understand each other. We can follow the puzzle pieces and create a space that holds multiple points of view. That becomes the ground upon which we can build solid relationships, just as it led to resolving my computer malfunction.

Giving Thanks

I am thrilled that I did not need to buy a new laptop, which had been my biggest concern. I mentioned hoping I would receive a survey and was told I would – or I could tell her manager who had been chatting with us off and on during my two-hour visit. I chose both options.

When her manager joined us, I shared my frustration with the chat experience the night before, and my utter delight with this incredible person – adding specific details of what she did that differentiated her work from those who preceded her.

Her manager agreed that she is incredible. Both heard everything. A perfect ending to a perfect experience.

Moving Forward

It is so easy to default to a fixed point of view, refuting any information that challenges it. That inflexibility, however, opens a path that can lead to frustration and anger, which are never productive.

Curiosity, however, opens a world of possibilities.

“I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.” Albert Einstein

Which do you choose?

Photo by Cookie the Pom on Unsplash

Cathy Joseph is the author of the Random Conversations blog and is currently seeking representation for her book, The Art of Having a Delicious Conversation.

© 2022 Cathy Joseph. All rights reserved.

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