Despite Vague Value Prop, Best Buy Launches $200 Annual Tech Support Initiative
As someone who pretty consistently covers the custom integration world, I want to say, with full discretion, it will be hard not to pick on Best Buy's latest venture in mimicking home integration. What I mean is I see professional every day in the industry trying to uncover the correct combination of words and ventures to secure recurring revenues with their clients - while actually adding a massive amount of value.
So let's start with the basics.
Riding the coattails of their rebrand publicity, Best Buy is using the time to announce 'Total Tech Support,' a $200 annual subscription that is powered by Geek Squad. The benefits, according to the omnichannel giant, offer "unlimited support" for any technology or appliance in your house, regardless of where you bought it. They offer online, in-store, and in-home support, with a "discounted" $49 fee to get tech support to your home. That $49 trip covers smart home peripheral installation, TV calibration, appliance installation, and a slew of other minor tech inconveniencies. Included in the base $200 subscription are free data transfers, car audio installation, virus removal, other menial tasks like email setup and software installation, and the obscurely named "Level 1 Data Recovery."
But, where's the beef?
Integrators and private retailers have been investing in solutions like this for a while, finding success in offering a tiered level of services to their clients. Everything from network monitoring to full-blown on-site support for larger gatherings can be found for otherwise reasonable prices. Although showing that value tangibly to customers can sometimes be tough, there is value to both the client and the installer when the service works.
And to our industry's credit, Best Buy is acknowledging the system works. In all there research, they have decided on these services, at this pricing model, to court the general consumer. You can almost use it as a tolerance point and education tool for clients on the fence about your own managed services. They also prefer a bulk payment to the monthly one - making it too late to back out if a client doesn't see benefits - then charges an additional fee to roll the truck. It makes sense, but it's also not doing a ton of justice to the industry model.
However, my biggest gripe might be that it still gives a pretty substantial monetary edge to Best Buy. Realistically, paying a few hundred dollars a year might not be a big deal to some people, but the general consumer can be hesitant to begin coughing up extra dollars bills. The value prop plainly isn't there for a lot of these services.
In turn, that might damage the reputation of an RMR model in the long run as it leaves consumers jaded. That being said, Best Buy is big enough to afford the consumer blowback, cash out on those who subscribe and feign ignorance to the long-term damage it could have on the private industries venture into managed services.
But, to be honest, they were never really interested in your success anyways.