Tech-savvy couple launch Geeks@Site for everyday computer users
By JACINDA HOWARD
Federal Way Mirror Reporter
November 16, 2010 · 3:06 PM
Chris Stevenson is something like a guru for folks trying to wade their way through the information technology field.
He and his wife, Alice, launched Geeks@Site in October. The Auburn couple are working with Federal Way’s South Sound Regional Business Incubator (SSRBI) to grow their business. Geeks is primarily a consulting and repair company. Chris and Alice help customers find computer technology that meets their needs and fits their budget. They also provide network consulting and repair. The business is still a start-up, but the couple know the importance of customer service.
“(In) any successful company, you put your customers first,” Chris said.
With plenty of competition in the field, the couple are working hard to prove that quality IT services and products don’t have to come from big box stores or well-known names.
Chris, an IT technician, and Alice, who holds a master’s degree in business administration, are focused on matching customers with the equipment they need to get a job done. The first things Chris wants to know from customers: Why they are in the market for a computer and what they will use the technology for. The point is to find something that will suit a customer’s needs without overselling, the Stevensons said. A fancy piece of machinery isn't needed if a customer is only going to be e-mailing and word processing, for instance.
Put another way: “Why buy a Ferrari if you’re only going to the grocery store?” Chris said.
Geeks@Site doesn’t just recommend products and complete repairs. Chris is available to accompany a customer, for $65 an hour, while the customer shops. Instead of relying on a salesperson, the customer can turn to Chris for advice. The Stevensons can recommend viable alternatives to big name software products.
“It’s not selling the customer a whole bunch of stuff,” Chris said. “It’s finding the right equipment for the right customer.”
Throughout the process, Chris and Alice actively try to relate to customers. Geeks uses everyday language to explain IT features. This helps communication flow, puts customers at ease and makes them feel empowered.
Daunting jargon — such as core processor, RAM, gigabytes and hard drive — can overwhelm and confuse a customer. It can also make a customer feel meek.
“A lot of times, IT guys can be very intimidating,” Alice said.
The couple knows this from experience. Chris worked as a computer technician for a competitor for eight years. He saw numerous customers get swindled by a salesperson.
“I saw people getting ripped off left and right,” he said.
He and Alice had always thought about opening a business of their own, but didn’t seriously consider the option until recently. The couple acquired a business license in 2009. They didn’t do anything with it though until Chris was laid off not long ago.
Geeks@Site has landed a few customers and continues to work with the SSRBI to improve the business. Once the Stevensons move on from the incubator, they plan to set up shop in Federal Way.
“We are firmly planted in this community,” Alice said.
For more information, call (253) 217-4832 or e-mail email@example.com.Contact Federal Way Mirror Reporter Jacinda Howard at firstname.lastname@example.org or (253) 925-5565 ext. 5052.