Is outsourcing a better option for in-home tech help?
While Amazon and Best Buy have started up services that send employees out on-site to help set up smart TVs or install and configure IoT services, some big tech companies are outsourcing it.
Samsung, Google and other tech companies have begun working with Puls (formerly CellSavers) to bring an experience patterned after Apple’s Genius Bar into individual residences, according to CNBC. The in-home solution provider relies on freelancers for its technicians rather than full-time staff. Technicians offer free in-home demos and charge between $30 to $200 for repairs and installations.
In mid-August, Puls closed on $25 million in funding from an investor group that includes Red Dot Ventures, Samsung Ventures, Maverick Capital, Kreos Capital, Sequoia Capital and Carmel Ventures.
“While tech products are becoming smarter every year, it’s getting harder to configure or fix them,” said CEO and co-founder Eyal Ronen in a statement. “We’ve cracked the code on how to deliver same-day service that’s seamless to the customer, rewarding for the technician, and scalable as a business.”
Other competitors in the outsource tech space include Enjoy, run by former JC Penney CEO Ron Johnson, as well as HelloTech and Eden.
Puls claims that its software can streamline such problems by matching the skills of individual technicians to the problems faced by a given residence, ensuring the right technician with the right tools is sent out, according to CNBC.
Samsung already has a well-established relationship with Best Buy, which is rolling its own team of in-home tech advisors. Samsung Experience shops have been one of the central features of Best Buy’s turnaround over the past few years.
Google, meanwhile, seems to be embedding itself with Walmart by making thousands of items available via its voice-activated feature, Google Assistant. And while there have been no announcements to indicate Google leveraging Walmart as a base for IoT device maintenance or services, such a brick-and-mortar presence could provide advantages in competing with Amazon.
- Google and Samsung are using this start-up to duplicate Apple’s Genius Bar — in your house – CNBC
- Will smart homes be sold in living rooms? – RetailWire
- Will the Walmart/Google voice deal give Amazon’s Alexa a run for its money? – RetailWire
- Will Samsung’s recall issues ruin Best Buy’s Christmas? – RetailWire
- San Francisco-Based CellSavers Rebrands as Puls and Raises $25 Million to Expand its Instant Services for Smart Devices – Puls
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Rather than build their own tech service teams, does it make more sense for retailers to outsource in-home demos, installation and repair for smart-home devices? What are the advantages and disadvantages of vendors partnering with outsourced services of this kind?