anyone have any info on "new player on the block" ... Geek squad?

Discussion in 'MCSE' started by Beoweolf, Aug 22, 2005.

  1. Beoweolf

    Beoweolf Guest

    I've seen a lot of buzz regarding "GeekSquad'. Slick ads on TV and a few in
    daily print media. Apparently Best Buy, the consumer electronics chain, is
    moving into the "mass market" consulting business. The concept is not bad
    and he market seems ripe for "McDonald-ization" of consultation. One of the
    tings we see is a wide variance in product, meaning...there are some really
    marginal people in the business. For an example or two, read back a few days
    in this or any other newsgroup.

    I'm wondering if this is a wave worth catching or should we sit on the beach
    and tickle the Wahinie.

    So, what's the read on this?
     
    Beoweolf, Aug 22, 2005
    #1
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  2. Beoweolf

    Ben Smith Guest

    How much do they charge? This will determine how much they pay there
    staff, and thus the general quality level of their work.

    I think that this model could work if it were run like a multi-tier help
    desk (I.e. level one routes calls, fixes issues that need no diagnosis,
    level two does basic (kb article type) diagnostics, and level three does
    the heavy lifting, combined with a crack break/fix staff to make the
    house calls. Now that IT salaries have returned to a sane level, this
    model may be possible.

    I have a feeling the Best Buy model is more similar to the eminently
    unqualified cable modem installers that roam the earth though.

    Home support is really tough to do profitably solo, because there is so
    much differentiation in hw and sw.
     
    Ben Smith, Aug 22, 2005
    #2
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  3. Beoweolf

    CBIC Guest

    I do some side work consulting/fixing home PCs and had a guy call me up to
    fix some stuff that Geek Squad had screwed up. This guy claimed their "tech"
    didn't know sh*t from shinola.
     
    CBIC, Aug 22, 2005
    #3
  4. Beoweolf

    MitchS Guest

    Best Buy bought the "Squad" after I quit working there. To the best of my
    knowledge their is little or no formal training for techs other than the
    fact that they "prefer" A+ certification. In KY, I think rates were in the
    $50 - $80 per hour while the techs salary starts at $10 - $12. It could
    have changed in the last 2 years though.
     
    MitchS, Aug 22, 2005
    #4
  5. Beoweolf

    Ben Smith Guest

    Ouch. That not a winning recipe for success. At $75 per hour, the tech
    really should get at least ~$20 per hour with $5/hour being put into a
    customer sat bonus program.
     
    Ben Smith, Aug 22, 2005
    #5
  6. Beoweolf

    Beoweolf Guest

    That's is the point of my question. If the staff they hire is mostly "McMCSE
    types", then those are the horror stories, results you would expect. Too
    many of them and the project will fail.

    Understandably, to get off the ground, they may be a little lienant in
    hiring standards. As wages and compensation increase, they can attract and
    draw from a more talented labor pool and establish the levels of service you
    mention. I see in their ads a number of what I consider as "loss leader"
    programs. Where they offer one price rates for simple installs,,,but hourly
    rates are charged for small / medium size business projects where I assume
    they will spec, provision, install and possibly offer some kind of on-going
    management plan. I suspect most people will be attracted to the "One price"
    install, them realize they have a more complex network. There's where things
    could get messy.

    Consultants, as a group, suffer from the same uneven expertise. Some are
    great and expensive...often over-kill for most situations. Other are
    adequate, and have pretension of greatness...that's where you start running
    into problems.

    I guess we will have to watch for the fall-out, see if they get better or
    stay average. I wonder if the model will catch on?

    In the past, I have hired consultants to augment our staff, for various
    reasons...we didn't have the core competencies and it would take too long to
    develop or like dragging cable through the ducts, attic and basement...no
    one on staff wanted to do it, on the weekend, for free! Like a bad haircut,
    you just paid them, led them to the door and put on the word that they are
    unreliable and would not be worth hiring. AT least with a larger model, you
    may have some leverage in getting the right service... the first time!

    So, I guess we still have time to sit on the beach until we see how the
    waves are breaking. Anyone for Franchising?
     
    Beoweolf, Aug 22, 2005
    #6
  7. Beoweolf

    JaR Guest

    In microsoft.public.cert.exam.mcse, MitchS spewed across the ether:
    ISTR being told that the pay ranged in the $10-$15 hr bracket. The kicker
    for me was that they got to set how many hours you were paid. For example,
    they book an operating system upgrade at 1 hr, a general mucking out of
    spyware, etc. at 1.5 hr, and so on. It's all good if you don't have a fsck-
    up, but if you take three hours to do a one hr job, you still only get paid
    for 1 hour.

    One can just imagine what a pay plan like that does to the overall quality
    of the work.
     
    JaR, Aug 22, 2005
    #7
  8. Beoweolf

    kpg Guest

    Have no fear, Geek squad, compu-nerds, whatever. I do consulting and
    repair work and I often need to spend the extra time to get the customer
    happy. A mass produced under-trained, overpriced service will never be
    able to compete with the level of service I can offer. Now if it is
    warrenty service then the customer won't care as much, but these guys
    aren't cheap and I have heard many horros stories about formating hard
    drives and the like.

    The problem, howeverm is marketing. They do it well and I don't. The
    first call will be to the nerd squad but then the customer may get a bad
    taste in their mouth from the eperience, so next time they need service,
    they just go buy a new computer. A win-win for Best Buy.


    kpg
     
    kpg, Aug 22, 2005
    #8
  9. Beoweolf

    MitchS Guest

    I think at this location, that only applied to call in work. When working
    "scheduled time," they clock in and out like everyone else. But it may have
    changed.
     
    MitchS, Aug 22, 2005
    #9
  10. Beoweolf

    MitchS Guest

    Best Buy is definately not concerned with quality of service, product, or
    customer satisfaction. It made me sick to sell e-machines to unsuspecting
    customers along with the $150 service plan on the $400 pos.
     
    MitchS, Aug 22, 2005
    #10
  11. As long as SouthWest Airlines does not get in the consulting biz, don't
    worry.

    Best Buy has had service for years...they have just purchased a shiny new
    sign for the mobile folks. The Geek Squad should open up some doors for
    tech types to cut their teeth.

    Last I remembered they were around $60 in Georgia. With most folks in
    Southern GA billing $25-$75/hr for on-site support, there really was not
    much competition.

    Granted, I have known some folks to have been "paid" with grilled meals and
    sporting tickets before...YUM! There is nothing like a grill cooked (sorry
    vegetarians and vegans) filet mingon with grilled asparagus right before a
    University of Georgia football game. Not to mention that it is a safe way
    to camp out, if a motorhome is considered camping, and have fun.
     
    Bob Christian, Aug 23, 2005
    #11
  12. Beoweolf

    Loopback Guest

    Geek Squad is not the only "new player" in the block, there are Geeks on
    Call, Concerto Networks and I recently read a press release from Staples
    which said that they are also going to be offering "computer services" to
    their small biz customers.

    Geeks on Call and Concerto Networks are franchises, in fact I met the CEO of
    Concerto a few months ago in South Fl, a friend of mine is looking into it,
    they are expanding rapidly, in the US and internationally in places like New
    Zealand, Australia, and Spain.

    Cheers,

    loopback
    MCSA, Network+, A+
     
    Loopback, Aug 23, 2005
    #12
  13. I read Ben Smith's take on this, and I agree with alot of what he had to
    say. An infrastructure can make a difference here, but I suspect not much.

    Like Ben said, Geek Squad will get an army of people for $10 an hour that
    don't know what they are doing, and customers will rail against the big name
    that does the job, because it takes infinite patience and infinite finesse
    to talk to the yokel in their own house and explain to them that they are
    stupid. Anyone capable of this level of patience and finesse should really
    be working for a corporate vice president, not at Bernie's house replacing a
    used hard drive for $10, and they will leave the situation as soon as
    possible, creating a high turnaround.

    Other areas have this same problem, telephone tech support at big companies,
    for instance. Anyone with real skills sees the nightmare right away and
    makes a run for it.

    From personal experience... I myself once tried to run a home consulting
    business. "User Friendly Computers" was the moniker. For $25 I'd come out to
    your house and spend an hour trying to help you with your computer problem.

    At that point, I wasn't nearly as skilled as I am now, and that's why I
    tried it. Also, computers weren't like they were today, this was mid-90s.
    No, not the 1890s, but from my POV, might as well have been.

    Most of the problems I ran into were from people who weren't sophisticated
    enough to replace defective parts or fix minor software problems. Some were
    OS reinstalls that would take more than an hour. I wouldn't have all the
    parts or all the software.

    There were other reasons why it failed on my level, some being my fault,
    being the one guy trying to save the world, where it might not for the big
    chain.

    I couldn't warranty parts, so I had a couple of customers I lost money on
    when things from the factory were defective, and they wouldn't pay me to put
    it in twice. Arguments that I didn't know what I was doing when the customer
    really just didn't get it that you can't unplug this when the computer is
    on, and there was no 'supervisor' I could refer them to to get them off my
    back. Calls at all hours of the night because I ran it from my home phone...
    'I'm on call all the time for free'... Fvsking nightmares.

    Other problems in trying to get them to pay for software. They want an
    install of Windows 98 but they don't want to pay for it. This, of course, is
    a crime, Pappy -- but sonny, why won't you just help us out here, we don't
    have a lot of money. And they of course disagree that their computer is too
    slow or too old to do the job they want it to.

    Real issues with getting them to understand the problem, and getting them to
    pay. Maybe having the right legal documents behind you and a support staff
    can make a difference. I doubt it.

    I suspect some members of the Geek Squad may live out some Pulp Fiction
    moments and have to get medieval.

    In short, no real money in going to Mom and Pop's house in the boonies and
    trying to get them to buy a replacement floppy drive for their 286 with Win
    3.1. "Why's it so slow? Can't you fix that? Where'd you get that horseless
    carraige?"

    Best bet is to get them to bring their machine into the shop. Then it's an
    auto mechanic scenario. Closer to McDonaldization than you'll ever get on
    the home front. I really believe that the environment here sets the tone and
    that a customer at their house is going to be much more difficult to deal
    with and much more demanding. If you have the option, avoid this at all
    costs, unless you have insurance and enjoy hating life. If you have a choice
    in finding another kind of job, do it. Get some genuine skills that are
    difficult to find and learn to market them. I'm still working on that part,
    but I've learned the hard way, so maybe you won't have to.


    Microcephalic S. Bob
     
    /* Microcephalic S. Bob [MCSBNGP+++ #7.13.86.42.1, Aug 23, 2005
    #13
  14. Beoweolf

    Guest Guest

    I guess it makes sense to agree with Ben. :eek:)

    *wipes brown-nose, and scuttles into the ether*

    m0rk
     
    Guest, Aug 23, 2005
    #14
  15. Beoweolf

    kpg Guest

    That's funny. My first month doing this I had two customers
    pay me in deer meat. Well, it all goes to food anyway.

    No I ask for gas instead.

    kpg
     
    kpg, Aug 23, 2005
    #15
  16. Beoweolf

    Jtyc Guest

    Doesn't the deer meat provide both?
     
    Jtyc, Aug 23, 2005
    #16
  17. Beoweolf

    FrisbeeĀ® Guest

    Sorry for piggybacking, kpg, but I must have missed this post...


    UGA? UGA???? You guys SUCK! Gators gonna CHOMP you this year.

    Also, does your pee smell funny after you eat asparagus? Mine does. I
    understand it's a genetic thing.
    Mmmmm venison. My sister once had some venison made up into ring balogna
    and then made the mistake of telling me about it. I ate the whole friggin'
    ring in one sitting.
    That's a dangerous thing to request. Did you bring a gas mask?
     
    FrisbeeĀ®, Aug 23, 2005
    #17
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