Wal-Mart to offer consumers tech-support services

In a new challenge to Best Buy Co., Wal-Mart Stores is selling a new support service to help shoppers set up consumer electronics in their homes.

The chain began rolling out the service this month through a third-party contractor, N.E.W. Customer Service Cos., and is making it available through all of its U.S. Walmart stores in time for the holiday season.

The services available range from helping with basic television installation, to setting up a home theater, wireless router network or a home office computer network.

The service includes a preliminary consultation and a tutorial after installation is completed.

In an e-mail to Reuters, Best Buy said Wal-Mart's entry to home delivery and installation services via third-party contractors might be "sufficient" as consumers don't expect the discount chain to "specialize in technology to the same degree" as Best Buy and its tech support task force, Geek Squad.

"Geek Squad helps people with their PCs, TVs and other tech gear no matter where they bought their devices, so Wal-Mart customers can feel confident they can still depend on Geek Squad for tech support," said Best Buy spokeswoman Paula Baldwin, in the Reuters report. 

Best Buy said last month it would hire more staff for the U.S. holidays and was betting that services such as its Geek Squad repair assistance would give it a competitive edge.

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