I’d like to share some exciting news related to Microsoft Stores and how they help and support business owners and entrepreneurs. The over 100 retail locations in the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico and Australia and microsoftstore.com play an important role supporting businesses and the channel partners that support them through a variety of networking and learning opportunities related to the latest technology that can help grow their businesses.
Microsoft Stores now have dedicated SMB Zones that feature hands-on access to business-grade technology and technical guidance tailored with business owners and entrepreneurs in mind. Partners can take advantage of SMB Zones as a great space to connect with their customers and showcase the latest Microsoft products we have to offer as well as their own value-added services.
In conjunction with the SMB Zones launch, the Microsoft Stores team took a hard look at the changing needs of its customers and have implemented the Accelerate Your Business program. This new leasing program is designed to simplify the decision-making process and ensure business owners have access to the latest in business-grade devices, warranty options, and best-in-class in-Store and online training and support.
Both of these programs underscore Microsoft’s commitment to local entrepreneurs, business owners and Microsoft’s partner community. Furthermore, the new SMB Zones and Accelerate Your Business program help to build out a strong set of existing resources that small and midsized businesses can take advantage of every day, including:
- Business Sales Specialists – Business sales specialists help guide local business owners and entrepreneurs with their technology needs whether it’s in-Store or on-the-ground at the business.
- Answer Desk: Advisors at the Answer Desk help small and midsized businesses keep their devices running smoothly. They are on-hand to answer technical questions, make recommendations and offer full service and support on all software and hardware. In fact, they’ll answer questions and attempt to fix PCs, tablets or phones free of charge, regardless of what device you have or where you bought it – it’s like having your very own helpdesk and IT support right in our Store.
- Surface Membership: A subscription-based program, Surface Membership provides Microsoft Stores’ small and midsized business customers with in-Store, online and phone support, one-on-one personal training, financing, member discounts and more. Small and midsized business customers can now take advantage of lower monthly rates, reduced buyout fees and additional in-Store support with our updated Surface Membership model.
- Personal Training: Specialists educate customers with tutorials about Windows devices, Office 365, OneNote, Skype, OneDrive and more. Personal trainings are available for $49 for one-hour or $99 for one year of unlimited use.
- In-Store Events: Microsoft Stores regularly host networking events, workshops, trainings and seminars on topics like “Quick and Easy Online Advertising” and “How to Stay in Touch With Customers” led by both Microsoft and industry experts.
- Hosting Events: The Community Theater is available at most Microsoft Stores for partners and businesses to host trainings or networking events, free of cost.
Before I close, I wanted to also note an upcoming Microsoft Store event on Thursday, Sept. 22. Carol Roth, entrepreneur, author and CNBC contributor will host a live-streamed event at the flagship Microsoft Store in New York City to discuss how small business owners can use technology to solve problems and move their business forward. Register here and tune in online starting at 4 p.m. ET to hear from Carol and other small business owners.