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Every day, as part of my job, people call me to fix their computers remotely.

After I answer the phone, I say something like, "Double-click the Remote Control on your desktop, and tell me when you see the prompt for a session key."

(The session key is a special code I tell them over the phone. After they enter it into the software, it lets me view their screen.)

The problem is that after I say, "tell me when you see the prompt for a session key," they say "Okay." and that "okay" can have two possible meanings:

#1: "Okay, I'll tell you when I get prompted to enter the session key." or
#2: "Okay, I see the session key prompt right now."

If they mean #2, I should give them the key as soon as I hear "okay." But if they mean #1, that means I should wait for them to ask me for the session key.

(Meaning #1 is by far the most common, but some folks know enough to launch the remote control app before they call me, so they want the session key right away.)

So my question, dear fellow wordies, is this:
How can I phrase the question such that their answer is unambiguous.

Any suggestions?
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After I answer the phone, I say something like, "Double-click the Remote Control on your desktop, and tell me when you see the prompt for a session key."

(The session key is a special code I tell them over the phone. After they enter it into the software, it lets me view their screen.)

The problem is that after I say, "tell me when you see the prompt for a session key," they say "Okay." and that "okay" can have two possible meanings:

#1: "Okay, I'll tell you when I get prompted to enter the session key." or
#2: "Okay, I see the session key prompt right now."

If they mean #2, I should give them the key as soon as I hear "okay." But if they mean #1, that means I should wait for them to ask me for the session key.

(Meaning #1 is by far the most common, but some folks know enough to launch the remote control app before they call me, so they want the session key right away.)

So my question, dear fellow wordies, is this:
How can I phrase the question such that their answer is unambiguous.


"Double-click the Remote Control on your desktop, and read me the prompt when it appears."
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So my question, dear fellow wordies, is this:
How can I phrase the question such that their answer is unambiguous



You say.....

"As soon as you see the prompt for a session key, say 'it's here'."


sheila
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When you ask any question that is more than one question at a time ("Do this and then this and then this,") you are leaving yourself open to this kind of a response.

My suggestion would be to give one command at a time.

"Double-click on the on the Remote Control on your desktop."

"Have you done that? OK, let me know when you see the prompt for a session key."

MOI
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My suggestion would be to give one command at a time.


My thought had been to phrase the command in a way that eliminates "okay" as a potential answer. But this also makes very good sense.


sheila
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OK, let me know when you see the prompt for a session key."

If I say that, they might say "okay" immediately, meaning, "okay, I'll let you know when I see that prompt."

I think I'll just ask, "Is it asking you for a session key yet?"

If they say yes, I'll give them the key.

And if they say no, I'll remain mute.
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When they say "Okay," just say "Do you see the prompt?" It's just an ordinary conversation; it brings ambiguities, and you just resolve them as they arise.
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It's just an ordinary conversation; it brings ambiguities, and you just resolve them as they arise.

In other ordinary conversation, it doesn't bother me so much, but seeing as how I have this particular conversation 15 - 25 times each day, I'm trying to do everything I can to make it easier for all parties involved.

I've figured out that if I just tell them to double-click the remote control icon, I can then remain mute and when it prompts them for a session key, virtually all users will volunteer that information without my prompting them.

I thank you, and all others who got me to think about this a bit more.
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