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The Expert

Most customers like to think of themselves as clever enough to maintain and even make small repairs to appliances or other electronic equipment. It’s tough when their modest expertise takes them only so far, especially when it comes to computers.

“We’ve had our share of the self-proclaimed computer geeks, who are not as geeky as they think,” says Joe Silverman, owner and CEO of New York Computer Help, a computer consultancy in New York City that specializes in computer repairs and outsourced IT services to companies.

Working with these customers is a time-consuming proposition. “They want their computers fixed, but take an inordinate amount of time to tell you how they first troubleshot their machines,” he says. “There are also the people who have tried to build their computers from scratch and they typically bring in a dozen custom parts, wanting to know where they went wrong.”

Patience helps these clients learn to trust the service person. “We want our customer service to be tops and so it’s tough to cut these clients off when they’re so earnest,” says Silverman. “Helping them out makes them see we know what we’re doing, so they return.”

Rubberball | Mike Kemp | Getty Images