Geek Squad


Geek Squad

Infobox_Company
company_name=Geek Squad
company_logo=
key_people=Robert Stephens, CI
foundation=1994
num_employees=12,000+ Geeks
industry=Services

The Geek Squad is a subsidiary of the Best Buy Company and is based in Richfield, Minnesota. Originally founded in 1994 by Robert Stephens, the company offers various computer-related services and accessories for residential and commercial clients. The Geek Squad provides services in-store, on-site, and over the internet via remote access, and also provides 24-hour telephone and emergency on-site support.

The company's services are branded with an American law enforcement and geek theme.

Locations and partnerships

Geek Squad "precincts" exist in all Best Buy stores in the United States, Puerto Rico, Canada, and China, and exist as an onsite only service in England. " [http://bestbuymedia.tekgroup.com/news/section_news.cfm?news_section=1330 Best Buy Asia] ", Best Buy press release. Retrieved on June 2, 2007.] There are also a number of "standalone" locations referred to separately as Geek Squad Stores.These consist of full-time "Winjas" who specialize in PC repair, troubleshooting, data rescue, in-home PC setup, and wireless networking.

Best Buy terminated its partnership with Office Depot in Orlando, Florida, where Geek Squad precincts were located in 10 Office Depot locations. [Tomassi, K. " [http://www.forbes.com/markets/2006/05/31/best-buy-0531markets01.html Best Buy Drives Geek Squad Via Office Depot] ", Forbes online. Retrieved on December 1, 2006.] The brand is also located in select FedEx/Kinko's locations. In October 2006, it was reported that Geek Squad would be launching in the United Kingdom in a joint 50-50 venture with Carphone Warehouse, where today it exists as both an onsite service and a remote repair service. It is now fully operational with onsite services in Greater London, the Home Counties, the South Coast and North West areas of England, and phone and remote repairs undertaken from Tulketh Mill in Preston (Lancashire). [Durman, P. " [http://business.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,9076-2350232,00.html Geek Squad comes to Britain] ", The Sunday Times online. Retrieved on April 4, 2007.]

Total Services

In 2007, Geek Squad officially added Magnolia Home Theater Installation teams as well as Best Buy mobile Installers to the Geek Squad brand. The change was titled, "Total Services" and was aimed towards the combination of major Best Buy services into one cohesive unit. Best Buy mobile installers and Magnolia Home Theater installers have now switched from their previous grey and blue uniforms to grey and orange shirts with grey cargo pants. This change removed all "Magnolia Home Theater Installation" branding and was replaced by "Geek Squad Installer units" instead. This has now allowed Geek Squad to incorporate home theater installation as one of the in home services offered via telephone. All services previously offered are still available; however, the process to set up the appointments has changed slightly (having clients contact Geek Squad for all home theater services). Despite this change, Best Buy appliance installers were not incorporated under "Total Services".

taff

Geek Squad employees are known as Agents and are assigned titles similar to those used by law enforcement authorities and the military: [" [http://www.geeksquad.com/becomeagent/ranks.php Geek Squad Ranks and Titles] ".]

* "Chief Inspector": Leader of all Geek Squad agents and founder of the company. After the Best Buy/Geek Squad merge the Chief Inspector functions as the overseer of the majority of Best Buy's service departments.
* "Precinct Chief": Leader of a standalone store. A managerial position.
* "District Geek Squad Services Manager" (DGSSM): A person responsible for the quality and results of Total Services for a group/district of Best Buy stores in Canada.
* "Deputy Field Marshall" (DFM): Deputy Field Marshals are the conduit between Geek Squad HQ and agents in the field.
* "Geek Squad Services Manager" (GSSM): A managerial position within Canadian Best Buy stores who oversees the sales, branding and operating processes of Total Services within the store.
* "Director of Counter Intelligence" (DCI): Leader of the precinct, a supervisor position. This person handles most complex issues and manages other Agents. Responsible for the day to day operations of in-store locations, enforcing policy and being heavily involved in Home Office sales.
* "Certified Special Agent" (CSA): Sort of the "technical architects" they work in conjunction with the Special Agents to ensure larger scale installations retain scale and scope of project specification. Required to hold a current MCSE.
* "Special Agent" (SA): Services mostly businesses, supporting technology solutions such as VPN' s and server based environments. All Special Agents are required at minimum to hold a current MCP but encouraged to obtain a variety of certifications including CCNA, MCSA and others. This was the title of ALL onsite Agents prior to the Geek Squad acquisition by Best Buy in 2002.
* "Double Agent" (DA): Offer in-home services and some services for small businesses. The 'Double' part of the name refers to the fact that they also train other agents when not performing services.
* "Agent on Deck" (AOD): A store agent that is ready to assist the with in-home services when the DA is unable. When not assisting the DA they assume the duties of a CIA.
* "Counter-Intelligence Agent Senior" (CIA Sr.): An entry-level supervisory position at all Geek Squad locations (Best Buy Precincts, Stand-Alone, & Repair Facilities). A CIA Sr. would be the most knowledgeable technician. Their primary duty is to delegate work, train new agents and insure all repairs are done on time and are proper. Usually the "right-hand man" to the DCI.
* "Counter-Intelligence Agents" (CIA): These Agents are located at Geek Squad Precincts, working at the precinct counter in order to provide customers with computer services and handle most of the repair work on computers, in addition to working the register and helping Home Office in PC and service sales.
* "Counter-Operations Agent" (COA): In store Agents who handle most of the paperwork and customer communication needed to support CIAs.
* "Autotech" (GSA): Offer car installation services in Best Buy store. Such services include speaker, amp, car starter, and alarm installation.
* "Geek Squad Installer" (GSI): Previously Magnolia home theater installers. These agents offer in-home services for the setup and configuration of home theater components.
* "Mission Controllers" (MCs): Technical support Agents identifying customer issues and recommending solutions.
* "Covert Operators" (CovOps): Remote Repair Agents, specializing in handling client software problems over the phone or the Internet.
* "Sleeper": Any Agent who has been honorably discharged from active duty to pursue other jobs. Sleepers can be recalled to active duty at the request of the Chief Inspector.
* "Guidance Engineer" (GE): Engineers who set up appointments and assist the field agents with scheduling emergency and recall services.
* "Cadet": Prior to the Best Buy/Geek Squad merge a Cadet was an initiate in the Geek Squad. After the Cadet had proven himself around the precinct he was given his or her badge and promoted to Special Agent. After the Best Buy/Geek Squad merge a Cadet was an agent in a Best Buy location who was authorized to do follow home service calls. Cadets also served to take simple calls from a Double Agent's schedule when the Double Agent was needed for a more urgent situation. The Cadet position was eliminated from the Geek Squad early in April 2007; However, due to high work loads, many still remain active.
* "Agent Johnny Utah": Agents who fix computers in Precincts over the internet to help alleviate and speed up the repair process. These agents are generally similar to Counter Intelligence Agents and just focus on computer repair. As they use the Internet as their medium, they are unable to do hardware repair.
* "Secret Weapon": An elite team of Agents with extensive field experience as Double Agents, Special Agents, Geek Squad Home Theater Installers, and Autotechs that provide phone and remote support to other Agents while they are on site.
* "Public Defender": Executive agents who deal with escalated customer service issues, as well as provide live video conferencing scheduling and support; currently being tested at select FedEx Kinkos locations for future national roll-out.

Uniforms and vehicles

Dress code for Geek Squad employees consists of white short-sleeve dress shirts, black clip-on ties with the Geek Squad logo pin, black trousers or black skirts, white socks or nylons, and black shoes with the Geek Squad logo imprinted in the sole. This is the uniform for all Counter Intelligence Agents (CIA), Counter Intelligence Agent Seniors (CIA Sr.), Double Agents (DA), Special Agents (SA) and Deputies of Counter Intelligence (DCI). Special Agents, Double Agents, Deputies of Counter Intelligence all receive a Geek Squad Shield after 90 days of service. Recently (2008) Geek Squad began to issue badge numbers to all Geek Squad Agents regardless of their position so that once an Agent enters a shield holding position their badge number reflects their actual service history and not simply their time of entry into a shield holding position. Counter Operations Agents (COA) usually wear black polo shirts that bear an embroidered Geek Squad logo on the chest.

The Minnesota Historical Society added the official uniform to its permanent collection in 2000. [" [http://www.geeksquad.com/about/ Geek Squad History] ".] .

Geek Squad Autotechs and GSIs (Home Theater Installers) wear a grey button-up work shirt sporting the Geek Squad logo on the front and optional certification patches on the arms. Matching pants or shorts are worn as well as a bright orange undershirt. These agents also have the option of wearing a grey Geek Squad hat and/or black Geeks Squad nylon jacket.

Double Agents & Special Agents drive black-and-white Volkswagen New Beetles (dubbed "Geekmobiles") with an orange-and-black company logo on the door. In the summer of 2005, the California Highway Patrol requested that the Geek Squad vehicles be repainted to no longer resemble the paint scheme of their police vehicles (a violation of Californian law). [" [http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d12/vc27605.htm California Vehicle Code Section 27605] "] As a result, Geekmobiles in California bear an alternate color scheme consisting of an all-black vehicle with white roof and running boards.

Due to a number of financial issues, including a large number of parking tickets and thousands of dollars lost for parking garage fees the Geekmobile program was ended in Manhattan New York City Geek Squad Precincts.Fact|date=December 2007

In the UK, Double Agents use the smaller, but just as geeky, Smart cars. However, due to congestion charging, agents operating in the centre of London usual rely on the London underground system.

Process and procedure

Geek Squad in store agents work in a "first come first serve" manner, allowing even service to those in line, regardless of the repair issue. All Geek Squad agents are non-commission and base the repair work on a flat fee system, as opposed to an hourly charge. This allows agents to perform the work without having to worry about time constraints, while still having a guideline so the agent doesn't waste time. This can be beneficial in a situation where a user might have a difficult problem and resolving it requires a lengthy process. In contrast, if someone has a simple, easily resolved issue, the costs remain the same.

Recently, Geek Squad has added the "check repair status" feature to Geeksquad.com. This allows clients to check their computers' repair status online rather than have to call or meet with the agents in person.

Double Agents (in-home Agents) also use the aforementioned tools; however, pricing is higher for services. (typically around one hundred U.S. dollars more than their in-store counterparts). Double Agents offer a "911 repair service", appointment can be made and completed same-day. The Service recently has been changed and now the charge is the original service charge + a $500 emergency fee.

Starting in late August, 2008, Some Precincts offer a similar service with a new "Next-Day" repair service. When a unit is checked in for Next-Day repair, it is bumped to the front of the line disregarding the "first come first serve" rule. Repair on the computer is started immedietly and will be completed by 5PM the next day. If it is not completed by that deadline, the customer will receive their additional fee refunded and the computer will still be repaired ASAP. The additional fee is $150 in addition to the services provided. Not all services can be completed "Next-Day", the client would be informed at the time if the service is not applicable.

Controversy

Winternals lawsuit

In April 2006, the Geek Squad was accused of using unlicensed versions of Winternals software toolset. A judge granted a restraining order on April 12, requiring use of all unlicensed software be stopped, and forcing Best Buy to turn over all copies of Winternals software within twenty days. [" [http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,191593,00.html Best Buy's Geek Squad Accused of Pirating Software] ", FOX News. Retrieved on December 16, 2006.] After settlement, a version of the Winternals software was released to be used by Geek Squad. [" [http://www.winternals.com/Company/PressRelease90.aspx Winternals & Best Buy/Geek Squad Settle Federal Lawsuit] ", Winternals press release. Retrieved on December 16, 2006.]

Peeping Geek lawsuit

In April 2007, a Geek Squad employee was arrested for allegedly covertly recording a 22 year old woman in her shower and later placing the camera phone in her 13 year old sister's bedroom while on a service call. [" [http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,265720,00.html Best Buy 'Geek Squad' Member Accused of Taping Showering Woman With Cell Phone] "] The suspect was arrested the same day on suspicion of using a camera to view a person without their consent and of annoying or molesting a child under 18. [" [http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-geeksuit12apr12,0,6657126.story?coll=la-home-headlines Best Buy, 'Geek Squad' sued over videotaping] "] A civil lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Wednesday, April 4, 2007.

Data theft

The Consumerist.com performed an experiment where they brought one of their computers to twelve different precincts for a simple installation of iTunes. The purpose of the experiment was to identify whether Geek Squad agents would steal pornography and other files from the client when repairing a computer. Through the course of the experiment, the Consumerist.com made their computer log a record of activity while Geek Squad agents installed iTunes. At one of the precincts the computer was brought to, an agent copied personal photos from the client's computer. [" [http://consumerist.com/consumer/investigations/video-consumerist-catches-geek-squad-stealing-porn-from-customers-computer-271963.php Consumerist Catches Geek Squad Stealing Porn From Customer's Computer] "] After the death of porn star Jasmine Grey in a car accident, an employee publicly revealed that his branch had cracked a password to scour her computer for pornography and shared them within the office. [cite news|url=http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/g/a/2008/02/21/violetblue.DTL|title=The Geek Squad's ongoing porn problem: Bloggers catch the tech service pilfering porn and it turns into a local PR disaster:author=Violet Blue|date=February 21, 2008|accessdate=2008-02-21]

Geek Squad in popular culture

* The term "Geek Squad" originated in the movie "Heathers".

* In the TV series "Chuck", the main character works as a member of the "Nerd Herd" at a "Buy More" and drives around in a car similar to the Geekmobile, respectively alluding to Geek Squad, Best Buy, and its Geek Squad cars.

* In the episode "Make Love, Not Warcraft" of South Park, when Randy and the two heads of World of Warcraft take over the demo display at Best Buy, in the background is a sign saying "Nerd Patrol", similar to the logo of the Geek Squad

References

External links

* [http://www.geeksquad.com/ Geek Squad]
* [http://www.geeksquad.ca/ Geek Squad Canada]
* [http://www.geeksquad.co.uk/ Geek Squad United Kingdom]
* [http://www.robertstephens.com/ Robert Stephens - Founder of Geek Squad]


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