Best Buy has announced the nationwide expansion of Total Tech Support Powered by Geek Squad, a subscription-based technology troubleshooting and support service that the retailer said will cover all of a customer’s electronics and appliances, according to a Best Buy blog post.
The service costs $199.99 for a full-year subscription, which includes "unlimited" technology support for services and devices administered by Geek Squad staff in-store, by phone, 24/7 online or through the Best Buy Home app. The subscription cost also includes installation of Internet security software on up to three devices. Subscribers are also eligible for discounts on in-home services like TV mounting, appliance installation, computer setup and connected home device installation, select hardware repairs, and future purchases of most Geek Squad Protection and AppleCare service plans.
The retailer said the nationwide availability of the service comes after it was piloted in certain markets over the past several months. During the pilot phase, Geek Squad pros helped "230,000 people set up, trouble-shoot or fix their technology more than 400,000 times," the blog post stated.
The expansion of this service couldn’t come at a more important time competitively for Best Buy, as Amazon reportedly has been considering competing directly with Best Buy's Geek Squad and recently launched new home security services with that aim in mind. Tech retail start-ups b8ta and Handy have also partnered on a similar pursuit.
A subscription-based service also seems like a great way to get individual consumers and households to think of Geek Squad as their own personal IT department, something which could make them use the services more often, rather than occasionally to address one-off problems like a laptop getting a case of ransomware.
That in turn, should only strengthen their bond with Best Buy. Years ago, the connection between an electronics retailer and a technology helper service seemed logical, but of limited value. It didn't seem likely that Geek Squad would ever tie in to Best Buy's core business. Earlier this month, a new marketing campaign even made it seem that Best Buy was de-emphasizing the role of "expert service" as part of its brand image. Yet now, the connection between selling products and services seems more obvious than ever, and so is the value of it, as retailers focus less on the sale of one product off the shelf and more on enabling a richer experience for the customer and building a long-term relationship.