How to deal with Difficult Patrons on Computers

So many times at my library I have to deal with difficult patrons especially when it comes to technology. I don’t like using the word “difficult” because its nasty to use towards patrons, instead I look at it like a challenge. If I help one person with a difficult issue I can help the next patron even better who encounters the same issue. Technology seems to be the main reason why people get mad (that and overdue fees but that’s another subject all on its own) so its inportant to keep updated on the latest technology to help people

My library just got a Windows 10 update and I help so many people at the computers that I had to learn Windows 10 even though its not part of my job to do so. But I know I will deal with a lot less difficult patrons if I learn Windows 10 so it really did help me out in the long run. Updating yourself on the latest technology is one of the best ways to help out people and will reduce lots of headaches in in the future.

Sometimes people who have a bad attitude are dealing with other issues on hand so its inportant to not take anything personally. Even if the person gets snippy with me I continue to smile and help them because that’s all you can do. Kill them with kindness as the saying goes. Getting angry back will only escalate the situation. Being nice to them I found out usually works and it calm downs the situation if you do not rise to the bait. Someone called me stupid for not knowing a computer program before and I bit my tongue and continued to help them because I knew if I rose to the bait it would only make things worst.

If its a situation on the computer that I can easily do like put an attachment in an email, I will show them how so they know for the future. But if its something more difficult like resume help format, I usually sit down with them and do the formatting myself. You have to assess the situation and figure out what is best for that person and if they are willing to learn or not. You can try to teach someone something new on the computer but if they refuse to learn you can’t force them.

So what is crossing the line to no longer help a difficult patron? If they swear or make offensive remarks then I say to get the manager. Also demanding too much of your attention could be another. We have this one lady who comes into my library and she demands the pages sit down with her on the computer and help her print out things for like two hours straight! Our pages do not have time for this and when we try to teach her she refuses to learn so at this point its best to get the manager or boss involved.

Overall its inportant to keep an open mind with difficult patrons with technology and most of the time they end up being grateful for your help!



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