Monday, September 06, 2010

Friends Don't Let Friends Use Geek Squad

Yesterday I got a very interesting "tech support" call. My ex-wife called in a complete panic. A friend of hers accidently deleted all of her data from her laptop.

[Please insert comments about backup strategies, ex-wives, friends who are stupid, and whatever else is on your mind.]

As a rule, I don't answer my phone. She knows that, so she texted me to tell me that she has a computer emergency. So I called her back. She explained that her friend (I'll call him Doof-Boy. That's not his real name.) accidently deleted 13 GB of critically important data that was not backed up.

[Stop it. I know that takes awhile and there's a big "cancel" button up the whole time. I didn't ask whether Doof-Boy did this on purpose.]

Anyway . . .

When I finally got the Ex on the phone, she said she couldn't get ahold of me so she was driving to Best Buy to have the guys at Geek Squad take a look at it. Oh My Gawd.

My heart stopped. I was almost in a panic. "You can't do that" I found myself saying. "The only thing they ever do to fix a computer is format the hard drive, re-install the operating system, and tell you you're screwed. For $300. Please don't take the computer to Geek Squad."

Now I admit I am biased. First, I'm in the technology business. So of course my crazy skills cannot be denied. In my mind, no one else can solve a problem as good as me. Okay, ego addressed. Move on.

But, second, I hear lots of stories about Geek Squad. In the first years or so that they have been formatting hard drives because a driver wouldn't load, I've heard nothing but complaints about them. 100%. I know someone must be happy with their services, but I've never met that person.

I have heard hundreds and hundreds of stories about people who are dissatisfied with G.S. And I have never heard one single person defend them or talk about how happy they are. You know, a spontaneous endorsement goes a long ways.

I have had a lot of bad experiences with various products and services. But there are always defenders. For example, if I tell about AT&T's absolute stupidity over my DSL upgrade at my old house, someone is likely to chime in that they have AT&T and love it.

When people like something, they chime in. "Yeah. But we had a problem last year and they fixed it really fast." Spontaneous. Not really an endorsement as such. Just a casual comment in support. And every once in awhile you'll get a raving review.

But not with Geek Squad. Now maybe, in response to this post, all the happy customers for G.S. will come out of the woodwork and post their great stories of success. But in the real world, I just hear one story after another about how all their data was lost.

So . . . just so you know the end of the tale. The data was too large to be stored in the recycle bin. But I had set aside a large part of the C: drive for previous versions when I set up the machine. So I was able to recover the data in short order.

I would like to think the G.S. would have done the same thing, but I have zero evidence to believe they would.

Maybe they're not the worst tech support on the planet. But I literally felt a chill at the thought that someone would rely on them for critical data services. In my opinion, every singe computer shop on earth is better qualified.

Important Lesson: Geek Squad Will Take Your Customers

My Ex and I were married for 19 years. She knows what I do for a living.

But she was going to take her computer to Geek Squad. Probably drove past six computer stores to get there.


Because they have mind share. They have a big, national brand. They have clean shirts and they are located inside of a big, respectable store.

I can't imagine a small business relying on G.S. for anything.

But then I couldn't imagine that an intelligent individual would go to them either.

The world is changing.

[Final Note: Ex left here instructions to drive straight to any store she wants to buy a backup hard drive. It will probably be Best Buy.]


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1 comment:

  1. Amen!

    My father-in-law took his computer to a local chain "data doctors" because his computer could not access SSL sites. He knows full well what I do however did not want to "bother me" (he is very a considerate man). They said they needed to wipe and reinstall. I told him to grab his computer and basically run! I had it resolved in 5 minutes.

    I let my friends and family "bug" me about these things so as to save them from a very bad experience.

    What has come from it is that it inspired me to add our residential offerings as we get requests from employees of the businesses we manage because they like us so much.

    John Albee
    Active Computing, Inc.


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