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October 04, 2012

For the Over-50 Crowd, Geek Squad Gains on Family for Tech Support

By Steve Anderson, Contributing TMCnet Writer

It's something of a popular joke among the younger crowd, how they serve as unpaid tech support for those older relatives of theirs who never quite got the hang of running a computer – or a tablet, or a laptop, or anything else like that – but a recent survey undertaken by Geek Squad suggests older folks may be calling the kids less often, and calling Geek Squad instead.

Geek Squad's poll covered right around 700 respondents, and reportedly targeted AARP members, who must be at least 50 to be full members (associate memberships, however, are at last report available to those under 50). The polling discovered that, should a tech support issue arise, their first call is to those patient children, grandchildren and more tech-savvy friends who might be able to fix a simple issue.

Over half of those surveyed said they turned in that direction first and foremost. But 17 percent of those polled didn't turn to relatives and friends first; they turned to Geek Squad, who recently brought out a service specifically geared to AARP members.

The next two solutions, hardware manufacturers and local tech service providers, took a smaller percentage of the response pool.

This is actually an important point to know, especially given the increasing use of technology in all our lives as more and more tablets and smartphones and computers are sold – especially with the upcoming Christmas shopping season – and more of these devices are being used by the over-50 crowd. The poll suggested that Grandma and Grandpa may not be looking for a new tie or a restaurant gift card for Christmas so much as they'd like a new e-reader or computer.

Twenty-seven percent of respondents in the polling were interested in a tablet or e-reader, in fact, with 25 percent hoping for a new computer, and 16 percent both hoping for a smartphone or a television, respectively.

Geek Squad's new program specifically aimed at AARP members, is known as the Geek Squad Tech Support & Guidance program, and it not only provides 24/7 tech support, but provides it at substantial discounts over standard Geek Squad pricing.

The program also includes a "personal shopper" program that gives help in finding those new devices best suited to the caller, as well as set-up and installation of the devices in question, diagnostics and repair services, as well as further discounts on other Geek Squad services – like 15 percent off anything done in the store or at the user's home.

It's a smart move, really; with more older folks becoming technologically aware, they'll need a way to get tech support that doesn't strictly depend on calling the kids or the grandkids. Sure, it's always good that they're available, but they may not always be available right away, so for those who want to get back into the action quickly, having that other tech support option is seldom a bad policy, and should be pretty well received.

It may be surprising to some that the over-50 crowd is getting more into electronics, but with that hardware becoming a larger part of all our lives, seeing them get into the fray and discover the value they offer in terms of entertainment and information really shouldn't come as much of a surprise at all.

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Edited by Braden Becker
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