Five ways Best Buy drives the costs out of the system, sullying Geek Squad CEO Robert Stephen’s vision of superlative computer repair, as told by a former Geek Squad Senior Agent.
- Until recently, I was a Geek Squad Agent. When I saw the “Geek Squad City Tell All” story, I had to write in and give another Agent’s point of view.
I was the Geek Squad Senior at a Best Buy location in Arizona. I worked with the Geek Squad for almost two years before I left to find a less-stressful job. Needless to say, I know the Geek Squad pretty well. Here’s what things look like on the inside…
1. We receive little or no training. Very few Geek Squad Agents have extensive computer knowledge before they are hired. Many Agents are hired simply because the hiring manager liked their personality. What little training we have we get from watching our fellow Agents work or from studying on our own. Geek Squad provides some great training material, but Best Buy makes sure the Agents never have time to read it. That ties in with my next point…
(Photo: irina slutsky)
2. Wonder why our turn-around time is so long?
It’s because we’re either short-handed or Best Buy won’t give us the labor hours we need to repair computers. Best Buy puts a greater emphasis on selling the services than actually performing the services. While Geek Squad gives some very specific guidelines for running the Precinct (at least one Agent working on computers at all times, Agents are not to work on the sales floor, etc.), it never fails that a Best Buy manager will ask the Agents to act as cashiers for the computer department or try to sell internet services in the networking aisle. So when a Geek Squad Agent tells you it will be two weeks before you see your computer again, please know they feel just as crappy about it as you do.
3. We hate our high prices, too.
It was difficult for me to sell a computer diagnostic when the price was still $59, but when the prices jumped (and our precinct received no warning), I almost cried. I knew there was no way I could sell the same service for even more. We hated our prices before, and we know our prices now are even harder to stomach.
4. Best Buy abuses us.
Since I was the Geek Squad Senior, I got to deal with all the angry customers. Some of my worst memories come from being screamed at by 60-year-old men because they don’t want to pay for a virus removal, or their laptop is taking too long at the service center. There were many times when I felt like I couldn’t handle another confrontation with a customer, and when I tried to hand the customer off to my manager, I was denied and pushed right back out there to deal with the situation. Being a very amiable and friendly young female, these were always extremely difficult situations to deal with. When a customer is literally screaming at someone, a manager needs to handle the situation, not an underling who makes 1/3 of their salary…if that.
5. Every store meeting, it’s crammed down our throats to upsell, upsell, upsell.
“Offer a cleaning”, “Attach anti-virus install”, and “Everyone needs a data backup!” are just some of the crap they tell us. While we realize that the majority of the people who use a computer are capable of pressing “Next” on the Norton Anti-Virus install window, we are constantly pressed to “persuade” the customers to purchase these services. Yes, data backups, cleanings, and software installs ARE things the average consumer can do, so if you are offered these services, always remember you CAN say “no”.
I hope this has given you some insight into the job of a Geek Squad Agent. The Geek Squad is a great company, they just chose a poor partner to team up with (Best Buy). If they’d lower their prices and focus more on customer service than selling services, they could truly become a great company.
— BEN POPKEN
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