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Posts Tagged ‘computer experts’
Saturday, September 18th, 2010
We do work for several restaurants and retail stores here in Phoenix, Arizona. These shops are all using windows based point of sale systems. While the software and database that run on the computers to transact credit card payments and process menu items are highly customized and supported by the franchise in most cases, the underlying operating system and hardware is not.
We have learned a lot about these systems and can say with certainty that the biggest issues we have run into are lack of proper backups and lack of spare hardware. When a point of sale system goes down for a store, especially a busy store, it is NO FUN. Employees need to process payments manually by hand and write out paper receipts. As you can imagine, the slowdown at the register does a lot to aggravate customers and employees alike. But there are three things that you can do as a retail store business owner to minimize downtime in the event of a system crash.
1. Perform regular system maintenance
Hiring a firm like my PC Techs to regularly maintain your equipment each month can save you from several hours worth of headache and hundreds or thousands of dollars in lost sales. Our technicians will visit your store and examine your systems for irregular performance. System errors, faulty hardware, failing hard drives, botched OS updates, and corrupted data can, in many cases, be identified and corrected before it becomes a larger problem. Dust can be cleaned out (the largest cause of hardware failure), and parts inspected. Unnecessary programs can be removed and system performance improved. The best part of this scenario, the repairs can be performed before or after regular hours, so customers never experience delay.
2. Perform regular, complete data backups
Usually during the same time as the system maintenance, our technicians can perform a complete data backup of all of your POS systems. This is important. When a hard drive crashes, you want to get your system back online as quickly as possible. To rebuild an entire system, restore data from on off site repository, and get all the hardware and software working correctly could take many hours. With a complete system backup, it could be as simple as popping in the right piece of replacement hardware and running a 30 minute recovery.
3. Identify and build an inventory of replacement parts
When a system failure happens, recovery time can be improved considerably when the right spare parts are kept on hand. Rather than buying hard to find computer equipment online, and waiting for it to be shipped, a replacement part can be obtained from storage and quickly installed to replace the broken component. That part can later be replaced to storage, so you always have a backup on hand for the next time disaster strikes.
When you think about the security of your data and your ability to transact business, keep in mind your local computer experts and ways that they can work with you to help improve the reliability of your computer operations. For help with the maintenance and emergency support of your POS systems, contact my PC Techs today. (602) 456-0150.
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Posted in Tech Club General | No Comments »
Monday, August 23rd, 2010
Many years ago when a computer crashed, started running slowly, caught a virus, or lost data, the only recourse you had was to unplug your computer and “take it down to the shop” for repair. Sure, on-site computer repair has been around for some time, but in those days it was extremely expensive for someone come out to your home or business to look over your computer systems. The level of experience necessary for a computer repair technician to perform on-site support is high, and as a result that advanced level of support was only available to companies with large budgets. Each on-site technical worker must be an expert to survive the cutting-edge rigors of working with multiple hardware and software configurations each day. High hourly rates for computer experts allowed physically established computer repair stores to thrive for many years. They could hire one expert, and then employ a large group of less experienced staff for cheap who would work with the expert to learn how to fix the computers that came into the store.
Unfortunately, low prices did not always equate to convenience. The disadvantages to you are high when your only option is to drop a broken computer off somewhere down the road. Forced to crawl around under a desk unplugging cables, hoping that you can remember the correct sequence of cables to plug back in you finally get your computer back is no fun. If you make it past that step without being electrocuted, the next task is to haul the dusty computer and maybe monitor or other accessories out into the heat, rain, wind, or whatever weather we were having that day. Finally, the worst part, handing over all of your sensitive information to the stranger at the counter of the computer repair shop. Do you know the owner or person working at the counter? Great, but do you also know the other people working in the back room? Do they really even care about you or your data? Is your information safe? Just what ARE they doing back there with your stuff after you leave? Will they fix this problem only for you to discover more computer issues once you hook everything back up?
Things have changed considerably over the past five years, all for the better. These days, it’s more affordable for you to have your computer systems serviced on-site in your home or business. The hourly rate for experienced computer repair technicians has come down considerably, changing the playing field between on-site and in-store support companies. What used to be the biggest advantage for the brick and mortar computer store, physical presence, has actually turned into it’s greatest liability. The large operating costs of leasing a physical storefront have made it impossible for old style computer repair firms to compete. As a result of increased operating costs, lease, electricity and other limiting factors, physical computer repair shops are forced to charge more for computer repair services just to cover unnecessary overhead. Efficient on-site computer repair firms avoid these overheads, operating remotely, covering larger areas, and are able to pass the savings on directly to you, the customer. As a result of lower prices, more and more people are realizing the immense advantages to on-site repair, which go far beyond the ability to save money.
A client of ours recently left us a testimonial that sums up the experience quite nicely, “I liked your service, because right away I felt like my PC technician was a friend. He explained everything to me and answered all of my questions.” That is the level of customer service that a physical computer repair shop cannot match. Beyond simply fixing the problem, a technician in your home or business is a real person that is available to answer questions, explain to you what is wrong, and work with you – not just to fix one problem, but several problems all on the same visit. When your original problem is fixed, you’ll probably have time to fix three or four more problems that you otherwise wouldn’t have thought about had your computer been in a back room somewhere else. When you encounter a preventable problem, such as a computer virus, a live person there to assist you can not only help you remove it, they can offer expert training and advice on ways to protect yourself in the future. 95% of computer issues most people have can be fixed right there, on-site. In the rare instance that a more time-consuming repair is necessary, the technician already has everything taken apart for you and can take the necessary parts to a central repair facility for you, bringing back the repaired parts once complete. All the while, freeing up your time and allowing you to work on other things. More importantly, your ability to interact face to face with your computer repair technician gives you the advantage of knowing exactly WHO is working on your computer and whether or not you should trust them with your important pictures, business accounting information, emails and passwords.
Everyone likes to save money, and given the opportunity, 9 out of 10 will go with the less expensive option. It’s nice that the tables have turned to favor the customer, making it possible for everyone to experience better computer repair service without extra work or hassles, and at prices those large computer stores just can’t beat.
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