Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Perplexed consumers dial up tech 'geeks'

Filed under
Sci/Tech

"Help! Send a geek!"

That's the growing cry of technology shoppers across the USA as they grapple with increasingly complex computers and other consumer electronics.

Best Buy last week said it hired 1,500 more employees for its "Geek Squad," a team of for-hire tech-support staffers. The retail giant now has about 8,000 staffers taking phone calls, fixing electronics brought to stores, and traveling to homes and offices to solve problems. Best Buy hopes to have 12,000 next year.
Rivals are growing, too:

• Independent tech-support firm Geeks on Call in the past 12 months more than doubled its franchises, to 332. Revenue also doubled.

• Retailer CompUSA has overhauled its 12,000-member tech-support team in the past nine months. The team is now more efficient and offers more next-day appointments, and its pricing is more clear, CompUSA says.

The reason for the new focus: Consumers are relying more on tech even as it gets more complicated, says CompUSA Vice President George Coll.

Consumer electronics were once relatively simple. Installing a TV required little more than plugging it into the wall and cable box. Now electronics are going digital, which means they're built with the same tech as computers. That can make them as tricky to use and install as a PC. Many high-tech flat-panel televisions require professional installation, for example, says tech analyst Stephen Baker at researcher NPD Group.

Plus, it often takes a network to get the most from digital devices. A network links computers, electronics and peripherals such as printers so information can be shared among them. It can be wired or wireless. Either way, it requires some tech know-how to set up.

Ninety percent of home-network users surveyed by Forrester Research last year said they set up themselves or had friends help. But more than half think they'll need professional help in the future, creating a market opportunity for tech-support firms. Most offer home-network-installation packages, which generally range from $99 to $200.

Profit margins often top 30%, Baker says. Hundreds of little companies have noticed and are offering services in their local areas, in addition to the rapidly expanding national chains, Baker adds.

Competition could be good for consumers because it keeps prices in check. Even so, consumers may stop buying if tech products are seen as too complicated. Still, tech-support companies say they expect the market to keep soaring.

"More and more people are saying, 'Do it for me,' " says Robert Stephens, head of Best Buy's Geek Squad.

Source.

Dang

I've fixed and educated my customers who use windows computers so good they arent calling as often anymore. I got to stop putting adaware and avg on their systems and make sure they know to open all email attachments! LOL

re: Dang

lololol... you knocked yourself outta some business huh? Tongue

----
You talk the talk, but do you waddle the waddle?

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

More in Tux Machines

ownCloud Desktop Client 2.2.4 Released with Updated Dolphin Plugin, Bug Fixes

ownCloud is still alive and kicking, and they've recently released a new maintenance update of the ownCloud Desktop Client, version 2.2.4, bringing some much-needed improvements and patching various annoying issues. Read more

Early Benchmarks Of The Linux 4.9 DRM-Next Radeon/AMDGPU Drivers

While Linux 4.9 will not officially open for development until next week, the DRM-Next code is ready to roll with all major feature work having been committed by the different open-source Direct Rendering Manager drivers. In this article is some preliminary testing of this DRM-Next code as of 29 September when testing various AMD GPUs with the Radeon and AMDGPU DRM drivers. Linux 4.9 does bring compile-time-offered experimental support for the AMD Southern Islands GCN 1.0 hardware on AMDGPU, but that isn't the focus of this article. A follow-up comparison is being done with GCN 1.0/1.1 experimental support enabled to see the Radeon vs. AMDGPU performance difference on that hardware. For today's testing was a Radeon R7 370 to look at the Radeon DRM performance and for AMDGPU testing was the Radeon R9 285, R9 Fury, and RX 480. Benchmarks were done from the Linux 4.8 Git and Linux DRM-Next kernels as of 29 September. Read more

How to Effectively and Efficiently Edit Configuration Files in Linux

Every Linux administrator has to eventually (and manually) edit a configuration file. Whether you are setting up a web server, configuring a service to connect to a database, tweaking a bash script, or troubleshooting a network connection, you cannot avoid a dive deep into the heart of one or more configuration files. To some, the prospect of manually editing configuration files is akin to a nightmare. Wading through what seems like countless lines of options and comments can put you on the fast track for hair and sanity loss. Which, of course, isn’t true. In fact, most Linux administrators enjoy a good debugging or configuration challenge. Sifting through the minutiae of how a server or software functions is a great way to pass time. But this process doesn’t have to be an exercise in ineffective inefficiency. In fact, tools are available to you that go a very long way to make the editing of config files much, much easier. I’m going to introduce you to a few such tools, to ease some of the burden of your Linux admin duties. I’ll first discuss the command-line tools that are invaluable to the task of making configuration more efficient. Read more

Why Good Linux Sysadmins Use Markdown

The Markdown markup language is perfect for writing system administrator documentation: it is lightweight, versatile, and easy to learn, so you spend your time writing instead of fighting with formatting. The life of a Linux system administrator is complex and varied, and you know that documenting your work is a big time-saver. A documentation web server shared by you and your colleagues is a wonderful productivity tool. Most of us know simple HTML, and can whack up a web page as easily as writing plain text. But using Markdown is better. Read more