Franchise Tech Support

So I just thought I'd have people (Logan and Wendell) weigh in on franchise tech support chains.  Specifically the guys at Geek Squad, the biggest in the land.  

Anyone with positive or negative experiences, maybe some story to share?

Personally I don't think I'd ever need to bring a computer there, but there was a time before I learned how to work on computers where they saved my butts.  Without going into too much detail, a computer died and I needed the data off the drive for class the next day and they were able to show me how to recover myself using an external environment.  Since then that external environment has saved many friends and classmates.

Now I can't say I think I would ever need their help, but I still believe they are a positive influence on the world of computing.  

So how about everyone else?  Do you share my sentiment or some other opinion?

The problem with Geeksquad is that it can be incredibly hit or miss. With it, in my eyes, being mostly miss. I know people personally who work at Geeksquad and doing amazingly wonderful and helpful things for people. The problem is they usually do it at the potential expense of their employment with the company. They're not supposed to do these wonderful helpful things because they don't earn the company any money. Sadly a lot of the horror stories of Geeksquad are simply because the management is pressuring the workers into selling packages and upgrades and such. Most of these people want to help but they also don't want to lose their jobs.

Yeah, like Crayzieman said, Geek Squad is hit or miss.  Their hiring practices are limited, and generally ignored at most locations.  I know this more than most, because, much to my shame, early in my former IT career, I was once a DCI (Deputy of Counter Intelligence) with the Geek Squad.  It was just their cutesy name for Supervisor.  I had a badge and everything.  Besides myself, I had 3 guys qualified to work in IT.  Certs, training, experience etc.  One guy was a network admin/IT supervisor at a major corporation in the area and worked Geek Squad part time for the employee discount.

That was great.  The problem is, I had 15 "Agents" in my department.  So that's 12 that weren't qualified at all.  Most were just people who couldn't cut it on the sales floor (which is ironic since part of the job was supposed to be selling Geek Squad services both at the counter and on the floor), and one was a girl who my manager thought was cute.  She could barely even check her e-mail let alone diagnose computer issues.  Yeah.  I had no say in who was hired or transferred in my own department.  It was maddening.

All the unqualified people I just trained to do the basic shit.  Install software, run scans, send stuff in for warranties, basically anything they could do off a check list.  Sure, if they had a brain in their heads they would pick up some basic skills, but they were mostly only good for busy work and I didn't have the time to do any in depth training.  So the heavy lifting was left to the 4 of us who could handle it, and 70% of my time was spent dealing with other responsibilities.  So that left most of it to my 3 qualified techs (2 of which were part time).

So yeah.  It was a completely hit or miss proposition for our customers.  The 4 of us couldn't check every computer that came in or interact with every customer, so there were plenty of times when customers got less than stellar service.  This seems to be the norm at most Geek Squads I interacted with as well.  A couple guys who know what they are doing who just got there by luck, a few who are relatively competent with low to mid level stuff, and a bunch who are glorified scan monkeys, and routinely screw that up.  And yes, you are pressured to sell services (necessary or not) and high margin software while ignoring lower margin software.  

Some precincts did this to a T, others tried to balance it with what the customer actually needed (which is what I tried to do).  My basic rule for my guys was that if it was a problem that could be fixed in 5 minutes or less at the counter, then it was free.  No point charging them for something that simple.  Advice on how to handle the problem themselves was cool too, as long as it was relatively simple, the customer could handle it and you warned them of the dangers before hand.

So like I said.  Hit or miss.  You might have a good experience, you might not.  Really depends on who you happen to interact with, and what type of precinct their DCI ran.  Now if you'll excuse me, I need to sleep off all the Jack Daniels that was forced down my throat at the bar tonight.  Night night.

I should probably mention that yes... I work at Geek Squad for one of my jobs.  I deal with a lot of technologically illiterate people in my work, and while I'm no NSA level tech repair person, I'm easily capable of fixing almost any problem I encounter.  And same goes for nearly everyone who works in our precinct.  

I didn't want to initially state that I work for them, partially to avoid coloring responses, and partially because I'm not sure if I'm limited in some fashion from talking about our inner workings to the outside world.

I work as what's called an OA [Operations Agent] I touch or deal with in some fashion every computer that passes through our doors.  I work with the public, mostly in coordinating the return of computers and devices and checking over everything that comes back from servicing.  And I think that we are largely a good force in the world of computing.  

That said, our precinct out ranks all the others in the region by an order of magnitude, so maybe that's biased. 

I would still be interested in hearing more opinions and stories from the public.  Maybe if Logan or Wendell have advice for us at geek squad, we could improve ourselves, or maybe a Geek Squad Covert Operative will notice this and I'll get fired... who knows.


Enough said.

I've only had one experience with geek squad near my house. They were pretty nice and courteous but I got the feeling that I knew more about the stuff that they were trying to explain to me than they did.

Now I'm not sure if the service people dell sends over to your house count as a franchise tech support but I've had a repair tech who came over to fix my Alienware (bought before I really got into computers) who was trying to install the mainboard backwards. When I told him he was like oh hahaha I knew that was trying to see if you knew that *facepalm*.

Ha, I remember that.  The report came out around the time I was with Geek Squad (or at least it went viral around that time).  The video was passed around the forum and brought up on conference calls.  Most of the DCIs had a good laugh about it, while quietly lamenting that depending on who was working the counter, it was a problem that could have easily been overlooked at their precinct.  The BS charges on the other hand were something that would likely only happen at the most incompetent or shadiest stores.

Whoo, drunken over share lol

Yeah, our DCI has basically said that any system that can be easily opened, must be, before it can be checked in.  Usually in the back room so the OAs and ARAs can look it over.