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Very well said. Thank you for expanding on my comments about answering
questions. I agree with you 100%.

--Jean

On Tue, Nov 29, 2011 at 11:13, Gabo <gabo.xandre@gmail.com> wrote:
Thank you Jean. I have already subscribed to both the forum and user list as
you suggested.

Yet, in my experience training customer service reps, I'd like to add some
more advice that may come in useful before answering user's questions.
Answering difficult questions is indeed a great practice. However,
considering that users may ask the wrong questions (or the right questions
in the wrong words), we have to make sure we master the key concepts before
attempting to answer them. Otherwise, we may get confused ourselves and end
up messing up our ideas or even the docs we are working on.

What I suggest is to follow a systematic approach:

1). Decide which your area of expertise will be.
LibreOffice is a broad project, and mastering it all may be too much to do
it all at once. For example, I never use LO Math because I don't need it but
mainly because my knowledge of mathematics is too limited. Instead, I use
Calc on a daily basis, so I decided to master that application first.

2). Make acquainted with the application of your choice.
Read the existing user guides. Make yourself familiar with the terminoly and
concepts.
 Try the application yourself. This will help you understand it better.
Before being ready to answer other people questions, we must be able to
answer our own questions. Don't be afraid of asking. Remember that every
good teacher has started as a good student.

3). Help other users.
Once we feel confident enough to use the application ourselves, we can start
helping others. I usually use the following strategy when dealing with
customers:

- Read the question between the lines. What is important is not what the
user is asking, but what the user is really trying to do. Remember that they
are not specialists and sometimes don't know how to ask for help and end up
putting forth general question such as "I cannot use a formula in Calc".
Therefore, before attempting to solve a problem, we must guide the user to
provide the right info. How can we do it? Simple, ask them more questions.
Help the user narrow the question until we know exactly what the problem is.

- Once we pinpoint the problem we can start looking for the answer. If we
are familiar with the application, we may possibly know the answer. If not,
we will know where to look.

- When we have the answer, put it forth in a clear and consice way.

Hope you find it useful.
Regards

Gabriel

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