The most common question Duane Yoder got when the Indiana stay-at-home order took effect was: Are you still working?
An IT technician and sole proprietor of Fort Wayne PC Doctor, Yoder has corporate and residential customers. He has worked through the pandemic, making sure his clients stay connected while they were working from home. Yoder said he was concerned about the safety of his family and clients when the shutdown began and had to develop a new system for fixing problems.
Rather than driving to his customer's location and taking their computer back to his home office, Yoder's first priority became trying to fix the problem remotely. If that doesn't work, he has clients bring him their computers in a plastic tub, which he sanitizes while wearing gloves before getting to work. He pays home visits if a client can't drop their computer off at his office, using the same method to avoid bringing any germs home.
The biggest challenge for Yoder has been adapting to how his relationships with his clients have changed.
“A lot of my business has been built on relationships and the interaction with my customers,” he said. “It is just a little bit different (now) in terms of openness. The masks do present kind of a barrier, if you will.”
Yoder said he tries to maintain the personal touch his business provides for his clients despite limited face-to-face interaction.
Robert Beatty, owner of Peregrine LLC, a tax preparation and software systems management company, said he likes the way Yoder runs his business. Beatty has worked with computers for more than 50 years.
Beatty said he called Yoder after experiencing a problem with his printer and computer that he was told would be difficult and expensive to fix. Yoder was able to fix it in 15 to 20 minutes for a fair price, Beatty said.
He was impressed by Yoder's policy on charging customers. If Yoder doesn't believe he has done a good enough job, he does not charge for his services.
“If I were faced with something I can't do, I wouldn't charge them either,” Beatty said.