Samsung takes on Apple’s Genius Bar with ‘care centers’ at WeWork

Samsung thinks it can do Apple’s “Genius Bar” experience better, and it’s teaming up with workspace-sharing outfit WeWork to make it happen.

When you have a problem with your iDevice, you probably Google it first, or ask a friend. If you’re still flummoxed after that, you might schedule an appointment with a Genius if there’s an Apple Store within driving distance.

The South Korean tech giant wants to do things differently, and as a result is piloting a new “care center” where folks can get help with their Galaxy Note 8 or whatever Samsung device they’re having problems with, Fast Co Design reports. The centers will be located at WeWork locations, the idea being that if you need to wait for help, you can use the facilities to get some work done or simply relax and enjoy a coffee.

To start with, Samsung is opening service centers in three WeWork locations, in Detroit, Miami, and Williamsburg in New York City.

Most Samsung premises are currently located inside Best Buy stores, though Mick McConnell, VP of design at Samsung Electronics America, believes the tie-up with WeWork could offer the best solution for resolving issues with Samsung devices.

According to Fast Co Design, Samsung will be properly embedded in the three WeWork locations, with the setup comprising a Miesian black steel and glass box and nearby spaces featuring Samsung workstations and videoconferencing systems. WeWork subscribers will  be free to use the Samsung facilities.

Both companies could gain from the partnership — if Samsung customers who visit WeWork like what the location offers, they could end up signing up to use the facilities on a regular basis. And if WeWork users can find out more about Samsung’s offerings, the tech company could win over more customers.

At this early stage, however, Samsung customers will only be able to obtain so-called “tier 1” support, in other words, help and advice on how to use their mobile device. Staff can also organize the mailing of a device if it needs fixing at a workshop. Higher level support, such as replacing vital parts for phones or other Samsung machines, could come later depending on how the trial works out.

McConnell told Fast Co Design that he came up with the idea for the WeWork initiative after being kept waiting at one of Apple’s Genius Bars for 90 minutes.

“Service is a hassle,” McConnell said. “I know I’m going to have to take time out of my day to do it.”

The Samsung executive explained that if he has to use valuable time to sort out an issue, at least with WeWork he can “sit in a conference room, make phone calls, and do work, as opposed to sitting in a busy room with a bunch of angry people.” Not that everyone waiting for a Genius appointment is angry, of course.


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