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The Toronto Sun CareerConnection

Computer service hits the road

By Linda White
Special to the Toronto Sun

As information technology continues to grow, computer downtime or outdated systems can mean lost opportunity and lost revenue. For computer service providers, offering on-site repairs and service is key to staying competitive.

"Downtime in a business is lost money. The sooner a system is up and running, the sooner a business can get back to being productive and making money," says Stuart Stevens, director of technical services with RadioShack.

It has just launched IQ Crew, a team of mobile computer technicians who will initially be serving the Greater Toronto Area. "We have seen similar services and like any company, we don't like to be left behind competitively," says John Adriaanse, vice-president of support operations.

Mobile computer service is aimed at small and medium-sized businesses that don't have an IT department, or at staff members and home compter users needing help with hardware and/or software.

"There's a lot of new technology out there, like wireless networks, voice over IP telephone systems, DVD drives and rewrite DVD drives. Digital products are getting more complex to hook up," Stevens says.

"People know about this technology and want to use it, but don't know how it will interact with other computer programs or are intimidated by it ... Some people just want their computers to work faster or without freezing up."

Radio Shack's team of A+ certified professionals is prepared to tackle any of a number of tasks on-site, including installation and setup, upgrading, repairs, troubleshooting and maintenance of desktops, laptops, printers and other peripherals.

"A lot of people don't want to unhook their computer," Stevens says. "A technician may determine the problem is failure of hardware and may have to take the computer away to be repaired, but they will be able to repair software problems on-site."

Not only must today's computer technicians be able to diagnose a problem quickly, but they also need strong communication skills.

'Great presence'

"We are looking for people who have a great presence with computer users, especially computer users who are frustrated," Stevens says.

"Our target market is people who know how to use computers, but don't know what to do when their computer breaks down. Technicians will help people get their computer up and running and will communicate with them effectively, not just spout out technical jargon that's going to confuse them."

Service is key to growth. RadioShack, for example, also offers Connex-It, a satellite installation team. "When customers purchased a satellite system from one of our stores, they would be contacted by an installation team," Adriaanse says.

"We saw an opportunity to make some revenue while offering a much better level of service with installers who are certified through manufacturers," he says. "These represent employment opportunities through RadioShack that are non-traditional. There's a whole service network behind the scenes."

RadioShack will soon add alarm system installation to its list of services and could soon offer home theatre system service.

To find out more about the IQ Crew, call 1-866-394-CREW.

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