How to Provide Tech Support to Family

This is a sponsored post written on behalf of GoToAssist. All opinions are 100% my own.

Providing tech support to your family is a little different from doing it for a friend, or even a client. Often, you’re expected to solve the problem outright, and there’s very little interest in learning the solution for the future since you’re not going anywhere and you always seem to have that “magic touch” that makes things suddenly work when you’re around.

So how do you make the most of this time spent helping your kinfolk? Do you simply stop answering your phone and/or avoid opening the door when they are in town? Don’t worry; there are ways to continue to help your family without feeling as though the bulk of your free time has to be dedicated to doing so.

Record Video Tutorials

Often, the problem your family faces is actually really common. You could, once you become aware of the situation, opt to record or find a video tutorial demonstrating the solution to the issue and send it to your family member. This works on two levels: It allows you to help the family member on your time, and makes them learn how to solve the problem themselves. It also provides a go-to source of a solution should they forget in the future.

If you make this tutorial general enough, you could even throw it on a blog or YouTube and generate a little extra revenue from it as other folks seeking or providing tech support search for a similar solution.

GoToAssist

Sometimes, it’s easier just to do something yourself than to explain it on the phone. GoToAssist allows you to give your family member a URL to visit, which will enable you to remotely control their system and solve the problem. This works because your family member will not only see you solve the problem while sitting in the chair, but you won’t have to drive over to their place to do so.

You could also set them up for unattended support, which allows you to periodically apply updates and monitor for any problems that may arise.

One of the coolest features is the ability to provide remote support using an iPhone or iPad, so you don’t even have to be at home to fix their problem — you can finish and then get on with your day.

Be Extra Patient

Patience is a strong virtue, and while you may know your family enough to become easily agitated by their lack of knowledge, you shouldn’t let it show. Your family member is turning to you because you know something they don’t. In many ways, that makes you an invaluable member of the team, and this might help you when you need help yourself.

I’ve provided tech support for family members right before breaking the news that I’m moving. This made it a lot easier to ask for a helping hand. Trust me: Fixing someone’s email is a lot easier on you than hauling heavy furniture is on them.

Families help each other, and I can think of a lot more unpleasant ways to contribute to the family unit than providing a little tech support.

Go Computer Shopping with Them

I know this doesn’t exactly qualify as tech support, but if you take the initiative to go with them when they are shopping for computers and/or smartphones, you can help them avoid making the decisions that will undoubtedly create more panicked calls in the future.

You know which computers can do what they want. You probably also have a mental list of smartphones that are better suited for someone that don’t have a lot of technical experience. Help your family out by being that expert at their side as they navigate an environment that pressures them into buying something they really don’t need or have any expectations of knowing how to use.

Once they bring the new computer home, help them set it up if they haven’t set up a new computer before. This is a great opportunity to be available as they download new applications and adjust to a new operating system. Bloatware creates more phone calls from my family than anything else.

What about you? What are your family-specific tech support tips? Do you have a large family that depends on you to keep their computers running?

Woman With Headset Talking by Vera Kratochvil

Article Written by

Ryan Matthew Pierson has worked as a broadcaster, writer, and producer for media outlets ranging from local radio stations to internationally syndicated programs. His experience includes every aspect of media production. He has over a decade of experience in terrestrial radio, Internet multimedia, and commercial video production.

  • Sheldo

    I would say I’m my family’s tech support, i have a fairly large family so that point about if you needed help to move, i can relate to that. another basic tip that you didn’t cover was teamviewer, but that sort of is GoToAssist in essence, just that you need their permission to acces their computer. Another tips is to actually teach them to read the help guide in their os (depending whether they use windows or mac os) my family sort of doesn’t care to much for them but insteed just hands their computer/tablet or smartphone to me and except me to fix it.

  • Greg

    Oh I am absolutly the tech support for my family, especially my brother-in-law. One of the problems I have is your last suggestion of going shopping with them. I can’t tell you how many have not heeded my request to go computer shopping with them, and only to have them call me months later complaining about that same system not doing what they wanted.

    I have also emailed videos, links to answers, but even that got me a stern phone call from one cousin that said “What, Your to busy to look at my old computer?”, and then said “Thats ok I’ll just order one from Dell!”. This same person called me 3 days later wanting help with setup of the new Dell they had just ordered, so I gave them Dell’s customer service number. Some family members treat you as though they are paying for all this free support.

  • BertVisscher

    This article has been here for at least a year? Then why did Chris send a tweet about it only now? Anyway, I like TeamViewer. It’s free and does exactly what I need.