Some people embrace new methods and updated technology, while others cling to the old familiar ways. How do you find balance between supporting those two extremes?


A friend of mine, who also provides user support, was commenting to me recently about his frustration when people don’t take the time to learn new methods, keep things updated, or embrace new technology when it’s provided. He had a couple of specific issues he was frustrated with.

If seems that not all people he supports update their various e-mail distribution lists when they’re provided, and when others get left off future e-mail notifications, he’s the one who has to field the complaints. He’s in a position where he doesn’t have direct access to the computer users he supports (or their computers), and he has to rely on them to import updated e-mail address distribution lists on a regular basis. Only about half of them, he says, will regularly and immediately update their contacts list.

Another issue he’s been having is when some people don’t fill in pre-created forms on their computer. These specific forms are ones he’s created that would automatically tab to the fields that needed to be filled out, and then could simply be e-mailed back in their completed state. But many people, for some reason, would rather print out the form, fill it out by hand, scan it into a different file, and send back the scanned file. Why they didn’t take advantage of the easier and time-saving form that was provided is anybody’s guess.

I didn’t have an answer to his frustrations, but I suppose he just wanted a sympathetic ear to listen to him vent. I suppose I would call or e-mail the people who seem to be falling short and offer to lend whatever help they might need to get things right. If they continue to fall short, I’d continue to send them e-mails to keep reminding them. When you don’t have direct access to the people or their computers, like in his case, it could present a bit of a challenge.

Do you have any similar experiences finding balance between supporting the technical savvy versus the technically challenged (or, in some cases, the technically lazy)?