How Well Do You Listen?

By Gilda Bonanno,

Last week, I popped the left arrow key off my laptop keyboard. When I broke another key a few months ago, I called tech support and they sent me a replacement keyboard which a friend then installed.

So when it happened again last week, I knew what to do – I called tech support and asked for a new keyboard. The tech who answered the phone told me to turn the laptop over, remove the battery and remove the two screws that held the keyboard in place. The exchange went something like this:

Me - “Why I am unscrewing the keyboard? Just send me a new one and I’ll have a friend install it.”

Tech – “No, just go ahead and unscrew the keyboard. Then pop out the hinge, remove the other two screws and pull out the keyboard.”

Me – “Why? I know it’s broken. I just need a new keyboard.”

Tech – “No, a keyboard is an item that you can replace yourself. So I want to make sure you know how to change it before I send you a new one. And I need the number that’s under the keyboard.”

Me – “For this, I paid $400 in a warranty and customer service plan? Just send me the keyboard – I’m not going to install it – a friend who knows what he’s doing will install it.”

Somehow along the way, I was persuaded and recklessly thought, “Why not? I know how to use a screwdriver – and I’ve always wanted to see the inside of my computer. What could go wrong?”

I will spare you the details of the next two hours – for example, how in attempting to pull out the keyboard, I snapped another small piece off which didn’t seem to fit anywhere. And how, after emailing the tech so many digital photos and videos of that piece that my email program froze, he also could not identify it. And how, after I insisted repeatedly and had a conversation with his manager, he finally agreed to send me the keyboard, which I had asked for two hours earlier.

The bottom line is – if the tech had listened to me in the beginning, everything would have been easier. Instead, we went around in circles and I finally had to make him listen.

How well do you listen? Do you have a script in your head that you will follow, no matter what the other person says? Do you stop listening because you think you know what the other person is going to say?

The story did finally end on a happy note. The keyboard arrived and my friend, Joe, installed it in five minutes. And the mystery piece? Turns out it was a non-essential tab that had snapped off from the old keyboard. Thanks, Joe the computer guy!