Verizon Enlists Geek Squad to Provide IT Help to SMBs

Best Buy-owned Geek Squad has teamed with Verizon to give SMBs an outsourced IT help desk, so those small shops don’t have to fret about in-house staffing.

Geek Squad recently jumped into the indirect channel, recruiting master agents as part of its distribution strategy. The Verizon deal raises the question of impact on Geek Squad’s channel partner strategy. Geek Squad, however, doesn’t predict negative effects on its new agents.

“The SMB market is a fragmented $542 billion global opportunity that we believe needs to be approached through a portfolio of solutions,” a Best Buy spokesperson told Channel Partners. “Using Geek Squad, Best Buy For Business and mindSHIFT in a variety of different ways to reach these customers is a priority for Best Buy Services.”

Indeed, Best Buy is at a crossroads. The company no longer can rely on its position as a big-box electronics retailer; there’s too much competition from Internet rivals. As a result, Best Buy is focusing more on the business services market, putting its Geek Squad field force to work through indirect and other types of partnerships. The recent upheaval as Best Buy undergoes change, though, has come at a cost the corporation is laying off about 600 Geek Squad employees, although the move should have make little impression on channel partners, as it amounts to about one person per Best Buy store.

“The relationship we’ve established with Verizon is a good example of how Geek Squad is taking things deeper with customers, and finding new ways to reach them,” said George Sherman, senior vice president of Best Buy Services, in a press release.

For its part, Verizon is using Geek Squad to provide around-the-clock technology implementation and support to SMBs across the United States. Verizon is calling its new service IT Help Desk. The carrier envisions firms such as medical practices using IT Help Desk for needs such as tablet connectivity, or retailers looking for assistance with malware removal, for example.

“Our new offering allows business owners to tap into today’s sophisticated wireless and advanced technologies with the peace of mind that trusted tech support is readily available anytime the need arises,” said Janet Schijns, vice president of vertical solutions and channels for Verizon Enterprise Solutions.

All IT Help Desk service levels include 24/7 phone and online support. Advanced support adds services for mobilizing a workforce with tablets and smartphones, and VPN connectivity and support. Premier goes further, with device monitoring and system maintenance in addition to application maintenance. Onsite dispatch also is available if the issue cannot be fixed over the phone or online.

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