Verizon Goes Geek Over SMBs

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) is teaming up with BestBuy's Geek Squad to offer IT help desk support to small-to-medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and their employees on a round-the-clock basis.

The Verizon IT Help Desk service addresses hardware and software issues. It's being sold in four flavors and billed on a monthly, per-user basis. (See Verizon, Geek Squad Team Up for SMBs.)

Verizon turned to the Geek Squad to be able to quickly start a service that provides whatever level of support that the employees of an SMB require, including everything from device assistance, PC repair, security, malware removal, applications support and troubleshooting, VPN assistance and backup and restore, depending on the level of service contracted. Verizon will even dispatch Geek Squad technicians to resolve issues onsite.

"This is designed for businesses that want to use sophisticated applications and devices but don't have an IT staff to support them," says Sorangel Borges-Canigiani, manager of product marketing and development, Medium Business Solutions for Verizon. That includes a broad swath of businesses with 1,000 or fewer employees, she adds, and potential customers don't have to be Verizon telecom customers to take advantage of the offer.

Employees of the business call directly into the Verizon IT Help Desk to get the assistance they need, depending on what level of support their company has chosen to buy.

Verizon is not the first telecom player to tap this market -- AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) actually jumped in four years ago with its AT&T Tech Support 360 service, which also offers IT support to SMBs. That service has been "extremely popular," says an AT&T spokesman, and has grown at a double-digit annual rate.

But cable operators aren't offering this kind of service yet, even though they are targeting SMBs to provide them with other services.

In the battle for SMBs, the ability to help a business adopt technology that can increase productivity and then keep that technology running smoothly is a competitive advantage.

In launching its service, Verizon cites IDC research estimating the SMB market for IT is worth almost US$542 billion in 2012, with much of that spent on software and services.

Verizon's IT Help Desk can include managing servers for a business as well, even cloud-based servers, Borges-Canigiani says.

— Carol Wilson, Chief Editor, Events, Light Reading

shygye75 12/5/2012 | 5:27:38 PM
re: Verizon Goes Geek Over SMBs

Geek Squad as your SMB troubleshooters? That sounds like more than a bit of a stretch, given GS's less than stellar reputation for solving basic consumer technology problems.

Flook 12/5/2012 | 5:27:36 PM
re: Verizon Goes Geek Over SMBs

That's been my experience too with the not-so-geeky GS.

shygye75 12/5/2012 | 5:27:28 PM
re: Verizon Goes Geek Over SMBs

Companies that are now agonizing over "customer experience management" continue to put that customer experience at risk by deploying discredited cost-saving schemes like customer service outsourcing.

krishanguru143 12/5/2012 | 5:27:28 PM
re: Verizon Goes Geek Over SMBs

I agree and disagree.  In many cases, the consumer goes to where the price is the cheapest and then they either complain about what they bought or the customer service they received.  In many cases, the customer got exactly what they paid for, it just wasn’t what they wanted.  You can’t have top notch service at bargain basement prices.  You don’t go in and buy the econobox vehicle and then receive luxury car service when you take it in.  That is what the customer would like, but their expectations are out of line.

krishanguru143 12/5/2012 | 5:27:28 PM
re: Verizon Goes Geek Over SMBs

Do you mean like; we’ll just reimage the machine?  I’m sure that will go over great on a server or desktop that has sensitive files that are essential to the business.

I’ve never used GS and never will.

GS offers the same service as that of BB though.  Since GS is a subsidiary, that is no surprise.

krishanguru143 12/5/2012 | 5:27:27 PM
re: Verizon Goes Geek Over SMBs

There is hardly any truth in advertising.


There are many ways to do something but usually there are three main ways; good, fast or cheap.  Some companies go the good route, some go the fast route and others the cheap route.  You have customers go to the company that went the cheap route, but where does that leave the company that went the good route?  They have to cut costs someplace.  The customers that went to the company that went the cheap route are usually not happy with the service they receive but they did what they paid for.

shygye75 12/5/2012 | 5:27:27 PM
re: Verizon Goes Geek Over SMBs

As a customer of a Tier One network operator, I can testify with absolute certainty that the quality of my customer experience has deteriorated dramatically over the past decade. That operator has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on marketing campaigns that trumpet its service and customer care. That's a fundamental disconnect.

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