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Computer Maintenance – Computer Repair in Hawaii
Computer Repair Hawaii
Computer repair services in Hawaii are not much different from the mainland, especially on the island of Oahu, but there are a few challenges. Lived on Oahu over 45 years ago in Eva Beach and returned just over 7 years ago, the scene has changed dramatically. Things were more rural back then and of course there was no internet.
On Oahu, people seem to work on one side of the island and work on the other. Since there are only 1 or 2 ways to get around, traffic can be extremely busy and parking can be a challenge. So whether you’re looking for a computer repair shop to drop off your computer or waiting for a mobile technician to get to you, time can be a challenge. For some reason, even in Paradise, things can get pretty busy. With that said, I just wanted to give my two cents that affects both the customer and the computer repair service provider in Oahu.
If you live in Waianae, Waialua, Haliewa or the North Shore, Windward and around Waimanalo, you will need to rely on mobile technicians willing to come to your location or travel the distance yourself. The problem with leaving a sick computer alone is that most stores open around 9-10am and close at 6pm. Either you have to take time off from work, hope traffic is light after you get off work, or just wait for a day off.
For some reason there are no stores that I know of in Waianae, Haliewa and anywhere on the North Shore. Shops on the windward side are also scarce, but I’ve vaguely heard that there may be a shop in Kaneohe, but they shouldn’t do much advertising. If you have a Macintosh, there is definitely a store in Kailua, just be aware that not all stores repair PCs and Macs as well as mobile technicians.
My testimonial for Windward Computer Repair
When it comes to repairing computers for our valued Windward customers, I have to do some thinking. Windward customers in Kaneohe and Kailua are extremely loyal to their local businesses, which is a good thing. But when it comes to computer repair and they’re looking for a mobile technician, they always want someone who seems to be closer to where they are, which seems logical at first glance.
If they call you and you actually have a physical location and you provide both in-store and mobile service, they stop at your physical store location even though they are calling for mobile service. The truth is, they have no idea where the technician comes from. The technician may already be scheduled to be in that area for another customer and can easily schedule an appointment for you as well. They don’t necessarily just sit at home all day waiting for you to call, so you just can’t guess where they’ll be sent from. This may sound harsh, but it always amazes me when we spend valuable time on the phone with a prospective customer trying to understand their computer problems and comfort them with our solution to their problem, and as soon as we mention that our store is over the hill on the other side of the H3, they start backing away from the conversation almost as if they think they’re doing us a favor and say thanks but no-thanks, we’ll just call someone a little closer. I don’t get it and even when I can honestly say I already have a technician in the area they don’t care. I know other shop owners who are getting the same response for mobile repair from the Windward side. The fact is, we enjoy serving customers on the Windward side and appreciate their loyalty once they finally hire us to fix their computer. But this is an obstacle, starting this relationship. I might add that it is a beautiful drive up the windward side, especially if you come back via the North Shore if you have time. I always look forward to a good shrimp lunch from one of my favorite shrimp trucks down the road.
Parking for mobile computer repair technicians
If your business or home is located in a relatively populated area away from the areas I just mentioned, you’ll have plenty of options for both in-store and on-site computer repair on Oahu. But if you need service in the congested downtown business areas or Waikiki, parking is a problem. My suggestion is, if you want fast service, provide the technician with information on the most convenient parking spot as well as parking charges (which may be added to your bill). You may even be able to pre-arrange parking in a reserved vendor area. Finally, it even helps to know details like vehicle height restrictions for garages or detours due to emergencies or special events.
I give directions
When making an appointment for mobile service, it is vital that you provide an accurate address and telephone number. Many Hawaiian locals prefer to give directions and landmarks rather than actual addresses, but mobile technicians end up learning the island quite well and even use GPS devices these days. Some even print directions with Yahoo or Google before they go out. We’d prefer you just give us your full address and then maybe a landmark if you live in an obscure, hard-to-find place. We need the address for our invoice anyway. We appreciate the directions, but customers somehow assume we’ll drive to their location the same way they do every day, but the fact is we might be coming the other way and then left becomes right and right becomes left and becomes confusing while driving.
Be sure to give and receive correct phone numbers
As for your phone number, things happen and we may need to call you. We also like to call before we go out to make sure you get home. Fortunately, we’re not like the cable companies that tell you they’ll arrive between 9-5. Mobile technicians can usually provide you with a 30-60 minute window. But if something comes up, we’d appreciate it if you could call us as soon as possible to postpone.
Also, make sure you know which computer repair company you made the appointment with and have their correct number. Many customers call several stores before choosing who to make an appointment with and get the phone numbers confused. Some even call us more than once because we have more than one phone number. It gets pretty funny to hear the same person calling again, now using a better description of their problem because they spoke to us earlier. The problem is that it can get confusing to remember which one you ended up choosing. Every once in a while I’ll have a person mistakenly call us to cancel an appointment we never made. Imagine the frustration of the technician when he drives up to your home or business only to find out that you said you called and canceled already, why are you here?
In-store computer support vs. on-site support
It basically comes down to cost, lead time and convenience. In-store repair fees are usually based on a flat fee and take days to return, but you’ll get more thorough service this way. Stores are also more prepared for the extremely difficult problems. You can just walk into the stores during normal business hours, although you should call first to get guidance on what to bring. For laptops, you should always carry an AC adapter (battery charger). For desktop computers, we usually only need the computer itself (no cables or peripherals, although it won’t hurt to bring your CDs).
Field service is usually based on an hourly fee and may even have a travel fee. On-site service is by appointment only, but many problems can be diagnosed and fixed within an hour or two. With onsite service, it’s extremely important to describe the problem with your computer as well as possible, because if it sounds obvious that it might be a hardware problem, your computer may be a better candidate for repair at the store. It’s already hard enough to get certain types of parts on the island, like motherboards and CPUs at a computer store, so you can expect that the mobile technician won’t have every part needed to fix every computer in their vehicle. Some parts even have to be ordered online and can take about a week to arrive. Hopefully you can see the complications this can cause in making another appointment, as well as how the technician will bill you for the first and second appointments. It would just be better to take these problematic computers to a shop.
Basic restrictions for mobile-only technicians
I certainly don’t want to bash mobile-only techies because I started out that way. But you should know that they can only serve a small finite number of customers in a given day. Many people bond with their PC guy once trust is established, but it can get frustrating when your trusted Mobile PC Tech can’t get it done fast enough. They may even need to take a vacation, and when you reach them on their cell phone, you’ll know they’re on the mainland for a week or two. If you can’t wait, you need to find someone else.
Mobile repair is also limited for reasons stated in the “In-Store Computer Support vs. On-Site Computer Support” section above. There are also certain types of maintenance that will never be done on site because of how long it would take. If I feel like I need to do a surface scan of the hard drive just to begin with (which can take 2 hours or more in some cases), I almost immediately recommend taking the computer back to the store to get it done for the fixed price. Some computers develop multiple problems and can take 4-5 hours to repair. On the one hand, this will save you additional hourly fees, but it will also help the technician arrive on time for other appointments after you, since he probably only spent 2 hours on your appointment. The tricky part is that the mobile technician may not have a store to take your computer to and can only take it to your home. If you agree with that, then fine, no problem.
I would add that a technician who has both shop and field experience is the best technician. For mobile-only technicians, it can be difficult to get this experience because they will rarely find a customer willing to pay a technician to spend 4-5 hours on site, let alone spend their personal time to be there. But if a technician never gets the chance to spend time on real hard problems, it’s unlikely they’ll ever progress to becoming a master technician. If you were choosing a doctor for a complex operation, how concerned would you be about his or her experience? The answer is obvious.
However, while our computers and online lives may not be life-and-death situations, we seem to depend on them nonetheless. So I hope this look at both sides of computer maintenance and repair in Hawaii will help you make the right decisions when that inevitable computer problem arises. That way, you can be armed with the insight to make the best available choice for your computing needs.
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