I finally got around to completing and delivering a computer I built for a customer and friend Sunday night. Here are my thoughts on it.
This father records games (football, volleyball, basketball, baseball, and softball) so the coaches and players can review themselves (and archive games). The system would have a AMD Athlon 64 3000+ (2.0GHz), 1 GB of Corsair DDR PC-3200 (512MBx2), two DVD burners, the awesome Asus K8N-E Deluxe, and ample hard drive space. Initally, the system I quoted him for had one large hard drive. Then, I figured that things might be slow if the program is running and writing to the same disk. So, I split it up. One 40GB hard drive and one 160GB hard drive.
The little things
When he plugged everything in and powered it up, he was amazed at the boot speed. As he messed with it, he grew more and more in love with the new beast (which I fittingly named “Strongbad“).
“I know just enough about computers to be dangerous.” It was true! He looked around in the programs menu, to see a barren list of programs not straying far from what Microsoft includes. Freeware apps, including AVG Free Edition, 7-Zip, Acrobat Reader, Ad-Aware Personal, and Spybot S&D. Then, he asked me, “Is it msconfig for Windows XP?” Wow, what was he going to do? I nodded, and he proceeded to run the configuration utility. He went straight to the startup tab and found only a handful of entries. He was laughing happily to himself for about a minute! He explains that on his previous machine, to do video editing and encoding, he disables a bunch of programs that run on startup that his kids installed. All I could is laugh with him – he just has this vibrant and addicting personality, you can’t help but like him.
Then, he accidentally shut down the computer. I explained earlier that the system could be powered on my simply pressing any key. He pressed the spacebar, and laughed again: “It doesn’t matter that I turned it off, it’ll be back on in 15 seconds anyway!”
I sat and watched him as he played his favorite DVD. He then installed Pinnacle Studio 8 to test out some video stuff. He got a few minutes from his video camera, and explained afterwards that the real-time video wasn’t choppy during the process while the older computers would struggle. 1GB of memory might’ve been the factor in that, though. He was grinning from ear to ear, it was great.
He did quite a bit of video stuff within the next hour, and we tried to figure out how to save as much as possible into the other hard drive (specifically for video).
He asked me if he owed anything, because the initial quote was only for one hard drive. I declined, but he insisted giving me a $20 (because I was going to get some dinner with some friends afterwards). I apologized for taking so long (I think 3 weeks), but he was very understanding, knowing I was as busy as he was. He was extremely happy with the system.
I assured him that I would be there for him if something went wrong, as long as he owned the computer.
Looking back on that evening, I think he was into the honest. I’m sure some people can be super professional, but at the same time, you need to have a balance of being personable. Most everyone wants long-time customers. Just give the best experience you can by genuinely caring for your customer.
Sorry for the delay in writing this, I wanted to word it as best I could. And Mr. Bray, if you’re reading this, thank you for putting your trust in me.