Microsoft Gurus coming soon to enlighten you at retail

Well, the news has hit publicly, so I can now talk about the coming of help at retail in our new Microsoft Gurus.  No, not that Guru

I just twittered about the new technology help coming to a major computer store near you. The "Microsoft Gurus" were announced today (as noted here on MSNBC, A little late, I say, but better late than never: based on my own Labour Day customer experience at Best Buy and a local Apple Store, this can’t come soon enough:

"I was prompted to visit after I read Matt Richtel’s article in the Times, in which Geek Squad management said that their "agents have one thing over Apple and Microsoft engineers. We spend most of the day talking to people."

As Tom Pilla (he’s our general manager of corporate communications) said today…

The world’s largest software company plans to have 155 "Microsoft Gurus" in U.S. stores by the end of the year, and expand based on the project’s success… These gurus will be answering questions about PCs and Microsoft products, as well as giving demos of how the company’s products work together — help designed to get them thinking Microsoft.

Having tested the concept around the country and in Europe over the last year, we will deploy these customer service representatives at major retailers including Best Buy and Circuit City.  It will be interesting to see how hey fare along side the personal shopping assistance being offered at one major retailer

The new Retail Experience Center on the Microsoft Campus in Redmond, Wash. is designed to learn about and improve the experience consumers have selecting and purchasing Windows PCs in retail stores.As noted today on Microsoft Presspass, we’re working with our major retail partners and PC makers to improved and enhance the customer experience "with Windows at every touch-point" including…

  • rolling out Windows-branded sales environments and store-within-a-store concepts at major retailers,
  • Major PC manufactures including HP, Dell, Sony and Lenovo are working with Microsoft to enhance key areas of the PC experience, including speeding up startup and shut-down time and sleep and resume speeds;
  • has been revamped and will point consumer to specific Windows products and experiences that deliver.

Bill Veghte said…

“We must deliver a world-class shopping experience that aligns with the brand promise and our online presence. That is why we are working with our key retail partners to make the process of evaluating, selecting and purchasing PCs with Windows as simple and informative as possible.”

As noted on the Presspass site for Windows, early pilots with retailers have included branded "store-within-a-store" displays, with some featuring trained Microsoft "Gurus" to assist PC buyers, similar to the Nordstrom model of "personal shoppers, where the focus is more on informing and supporting the customer than on the actual sale.

Initial feedback on Gizmodo was a bit harsh, exclaiming that Gurus "are kind of like Apple Geniuses, only a lot less useful."

Really? Have they met one?

An eagle eyed commenter on Gizmodo saw a job listing for Microsoft Gurus, noting the locations where they were needed, including California, Washington DC, Florida, Massachusetts, Maryland, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, Virginia and here in Washington state.

Tags: Gurus, Microsoft, Vista, Windows.

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