Raycraft Computer Consultants
Why I do what I do
Sometimes I like to reflect on why I do what I do. After recently hearing of the passing of one of my lovely clients, I got kind of philosophical about things. Why do I fix PC's and not do something more worthwhile? Should I take up studies to change what I am doing so that I can work in a field that helps people more? Obviously, I need to earn a living, but am I doing that in a profession that gives me a sense of fulfillment knowing that I am making a difference to others? Then I realised. My client's wife sent me a message letting me know of his passing. I had enough of an impact on his life, that she felt it necessary to message his "computer guy" to let me know. What an honour to have been thought of in this most difficult time. I have often said that my business is more about people than it is about computers, and this sealed it for me. I am more into people than computers, and really enjoy the chats I have with clients while waiting for a pc to do something (updates, scans etc..). I love the feeling that what I am doing helps people. Fixing their pc means they can keep in touch with loved ones, help others, earn a living, or keep up to date with what is going on around them news-wise. For some, this is incredibly important, and I feel honoured that I am trusted to help them. This is what helps me feel that what I am doing is worthwhile.
Customer Service
What does customer service mean to people these days?Is it the polite please and thank you at the checkout or is there more to true customer service? This morning I went into a store to purchase a few small items, but to also get some advice. I was served by a young gentleman who tried to help me even though the expert in the shop was away sick. He made calls and looked up his various suppliers online to try to find the item I was looking for. Even though he didn't find what I wanted, I appreciated his efforts.I then asked him about something else, and he suggested I speak to another guy who was in the shop who was the shop expert in this area. He said that the other gentleman was dealing with something else in the back room and he would let him know I had an enquiry that was more his area of expertise. I waited a few minutes and the other guy came out from the back of the store and asked if the 1st guy was ok. He said he was but also mentioned I was waiting to talk to him. I saw it in his eyes..oh what now? but he asked me politely what my enquiry was relating to. I told him I was looking for some advice and his response was  I have 4 pallets to unload so cannot help you... maybe come back another day... Now I do understand when running a shop there are things to do. I get it. What I also know, and to be fair he didn't, was that I went out of my way to visit this shop to get my other supplies. I also have been there before to browse and dream. I had already purchased items from the shop, and the advice he gave may well have led to a further purchase. However, he lost me as a client. I felt dismissed. I felt I was a bother and not worth spending a few moments giving me some professional advice. I have 2 mottos for my business model.1. The Customer may not always be right but the Customer ALWAYS wins, and2. Look after people first, the business stuff will flow from that naturally.I always spend a little extra time with the client in front of me, the client on the phone, or answering an email or facebook message. If they have come to me with a question or a problem they have put their trust in me. They value my opinion. The least I can do and should do is take the time to answer their question, or discuss whatever it is they have come to me about.We are always looking for ways to improve our service to our clients. If you have a suggestion on how we can serve you better, please let us know.In my opinion, the pallet isn't going anywhere, the client just might. Stay Well.Alan0418 901 120alan@raycraft.com.au
What I have learned about good business practices
When I left High School, I knew nothing about business. I was eager to learn though, and was fortunate to have an incredibly good boss as my first teacher. I was working in a busy travel centre in the city, my first job out of high school, and it was in this place of business that I was to learn some of the most important things that to this day I still try to implement in my own business. SAY THANK YOU One of the things that made it worth coming back day after day was that my boss, without fail every evening as he left or as I left the office, would say thank you for today's efforts. Every day, Without fail This meant more than I am sure he even realised.  The work I was doing was important to someone else, it mattered and therefore made it all the more important to me to do my job well. I felt appreciated.   I make sure to thank every person who refers my service to their friends or family. My business relies on word of mouth referrals, and every referral is important, and I appreciate it. TREAT YOUR CLIENTS LIKE YOUR FRIENDS AND BE APPROACHABLE. No one likes to deal with someone they don't like.  I meet so many really nice people in my day to day business meetings, that it is hard not to make some real friends along the way. After all, if you were helping a friend with a problem, you would make sure you did it right, wouldn't you? DON'T BE AFRAID TO ADMIT YOU ARE WRONG. Sometimes I don't get it right. Luckily for me, this doesn't happen often, but when It does, it is important to make things right.  I try to work by the motto, the client isn't always right, but the client ALWAYS wins. BE UP FRONT WITH PEOPLE. This basically comes down to the most important part of my business. Be HONEST. If you are honest, people know what to expect when they deal with you. This will generate loyalty and return business I have worked really hard to build up a good name for my business and I am proud to say that I think I have achieved this goal. When people refer me, they often say things like he is honest and trustworthy, and it is often the people I have met through my business, who I am now very proud to call friends that do this the most. I truly love what I do, and enjoy helping people. I am also very grateful for the lessons given to me by my first boss. Valuable lessons learnt and applied in my own business today.
Cyber Safety
Do you know what your kids are doing online ? These are questions every parent should consider when giving their child access to any technology that connects to the internet. This includes mobile phones, tablet type computers, iPods and computers in all their forms.Do you know what content they are viewing?Do you know who they are talking to?Do you know what arrangements they are making with the people they are talking to?Do you feel they are safe?  The internet is a wonderful, amazing place, but it can also be a dangerous one. Here are some ways to make sure your kids are safe online: LOCATION OF DEVICE As a parent, I always look for the easiest way to make sure my kids are safe online.  Keeping their devices in the main traffic areas of the home is a simple way of making sure that a quick look over the shoulder can be done.  Generally, if kids are out in the main area of the home, they won't go to sites that they wouldn't want others in the home to know they are going to; or do anything online they wouldn't want others seeing. ACTIVE MONITORING Another way of helping to stop kids from visiting untoward sites is making them aware that you are checking their PC or device. Knowing all their passwords is the key here, with rules that if you don't know the password they don't get to use the device. SOFTWARE TOOLS There are some software tools that can help block sites you don't want your child having access to. There are also software tools that can be used by businesses to monitor what their employees are doing on company time with their computers. These tools can be used to keep your kids safe online. The most effective (in my opinion) way to keep your kids safe online is to talk to them about what they are doing online. Teach them safe browsing habits. Guide them when you find them visiting a site that may be a problem. Talk to them about who they are talking to online.  Do they personally know everyone on their friend's list?  Are they sure that who they are talking to is who they say they are?  These are the types of discussions that should be had with your children to help make sure they are safe. Feel free to contact me if you need any advice / help in this area. With kids myself, it's an issue close to my own heart and one I am passionate about.  I would be happy to direct you to the many resources available to help keep your kids safe online.
Commercial VS Open Source
Following on from my blog on software piracy, I thought I should look a little more into Commercial vs Open source or freeware type software. I know there are differences in the licence agreements with open source and freeware software's, but I am more interested in discussing the types of software available and the pros and cons for using such. Commercial software (for the purposes of this article) is software that you have paid for to use in your home or business. Open Source or freeware software (again, for the purposes of this article) is software you have obtained that doesn't require payment of a fee, and which you are free to use as needed. For almost any application, there are both commercial options and free options.  You could in fact, once you have purchased your computer hardware, install many pieces of software without paying a cent for them, and be just as productive as a person using a PC full of paid for software. From office productivity type software right through to Antivirus and utility type software, there are free or open source alternatives to the commercial types. But still, many will refuse to even consider free alternatives to the commercial software options. Why? In my opinion, many of us have been using the commercial type of software for so long, we are afraid to try something new. We just want to get the job done, know how to use x software and don't want to change. It's too much hassle. Some also don't believe that the free software will do as good a job and software that you pay for. As if there is some comfort in having paid for it, and so it will do what I expect it to do and if it doesn't have some recourse with the writer of the software. This may be true in some cases.  Free or open source software doesn't generally offer any support options, but many don't use the support available to them with the commercial software either. So what should I use? Free or paid for software? The short answer, It's up to you but don't be afraid to try something new. For almost every commercial software option, there is a freeware or open source alternative. If you are looking for one, have a talk to us, we can probably point you in the right direction. Above all of this, if you do prefer the paid for software, buy it. Don't use a pirated copy of the software. If you cannot afford it, consider the many free or open source alternatives available.
Software Piracy
Let's face it, software can be really expensive, and with constant updates it can run into hundreds of dollars each time a new version of your favourite piece of software is released.   With this in mind, many people revert to getting a copy of the software from a friend. This shouldn't be a problem, right?  Wrong! There are lots of reasons why you should pay for a legitimate copy of your favourite software or search out an alternative, cheaper or even free piece of software that will do the same job. 1.       IT'S ILLEGAL. Using pirated software is against the law. Software companies pay their programmers to develop and market the software and will do all they can to protect their income base. There are also quite hefty fines in place should you be caught using illegally obtained software.   2.       RISK OF VIRUS / MALWARE INFECTION. Most software has built-in piracy protection tools such as product keys and such.  While it may be easy to use key generating software to overcome this, it means that the software may have been tampered with in some way.  In this tampering, malware or viruses may have been inserted into the code which can do lots of damage to your pc and may even result in you losing your precious data.   3.       THERE ARE ALTERNATIVES. There are many freeware alternatives to commercial software.  For example, LibreOffice is a freeware alternative to the Microsoft Office suite that is very similar in looks to the Microsoft option, and will also read files created in Microsoft Office.   4.       CHANCE OF DATA LOSS IS HIGH A lot of software piracy takes place with backyard dealers installing software on peoples systems without giving them a valid licence or the original disks.  If you use these services, you run the risk of them not caring about your precious data, and losing important files. Unfortunately, if anything goes wrong with the illegally installed software, you don't have any way of accessing Microsoft support either.   That said, if you need a particular piece of software that is a commercial product, be prepared to pay for it.  Answering advertisements on Gumtree or eBay or even Facebook community buy and sell pages where software is offered bundled with a PC or sold at a very low price, may well land you in trouble. Always buy from a reputable source and make sure you get the required documentation and CD's or DVDs the software comes on. Why risk fines, viruses or loss of data when you can legally use a piece of software and not have to pay for it?  There is freeware software out there for almost every application. Feel free to ask if you are looking for some software to do a particular job and cannot find a freeware alternative we may be able to help!
Hi there, I am glad you have found our blog. This is our home on the web where we will talk a little about things that interest us and we hope will interest you especially in the world of computers and all things technical.We would love to know what you would like us to write about. Feel free to send us suggestions !Anyways - Software piracy is top of my list, so that will be our first serious article. Alan
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