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

Wayland in Fedora 23 Linux Allows for Use of Multiple Monitors with Different DPIs

Fedora Project, through Christian Schaller, was proud to report on the progress made for the next-generation Wayland display server that it might be used by default on the upcoming major release of the Fedora Linux operating system, Fedora 23. Read more

GNOME Developers Discuss Codenames, GNOME 3.18 Might be Dubbed "Gothenburg"

Allan Day, a GNOME UX designer working for Red Hat and renowned GNOME developer/contributor, opened an interesting discussion on the official GNOME mailing list, about possible codenames for upcoming releases of the acclaimed desktop environment for GNU/Linux operating systems. Read more

Developer lowers Drupal's barrier to entry

From a consumer perspective, I'd like open source to be ubiquitous to the point of invisibility. Using recent Ubuntu distros, I'm always shocked at how professional the environment feels. Just five years ago, you'd need to hunt down drivers and do a bunch of fiddling to get basic things like a sound card working. Now there are so many pushbutton ways to deploy open source tech, from OSes to CMS distros on Pantheon to buying an Android-powered mobile phone. We're not quite to the point where CMS users can feel like open source is transparent; there's still a huge investment in vendors to give you the expertise to manage your Drupal or WordPress site, for example. But we're closer than we were a decade ago, and that's pretty exciting. Read more

Intel invests $60 million in drone venture

Intel is investing $60 million in UAV firm Yuneec, whose prosumer “Typhoon” drones use Android-based controllers. Intel Corp. CEO Brian Krzanich and Yuneec International CEO Tian Yu took to YouTube to announce an Intel investment of more than $60 million in the Hong Kong based company to help develop drone technology. No more details were provided except for Krzanich’s claim that “We’ve got drones on our road map that are going to truly change the world and revolutionize the industry.” One possibility is that Intel plans to equip the drones with its RealSense 3D cameras (see farther below). Read more