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Best Buy has invested 50,000 hours training employees to help consumers make sense of Windows 8

Published Nov 12th, 2012 11:06AM EST
Windows 8 Confusion

With its new Windows 8 operating system, Microsoft (MSFT) has brought a complete overhaul to the Windows platform that includes an emphasis on the Metro user interface and touch capabilities. The changes to the operating system represent a shift in the PC industry as tablets and smartphones enter into the mainstream. Consumers who have used older versions of Windows for years, however, are facing uncertainty when upgrading to Windows 8. Microsoft and its retailer partners understand this and are investing heavily to educate consumers. According to Forbes, Best Buy (BBY) has spent more than 50,000 hours training its employees to become Windows 8 experts.

“When customers go through an OS transition, they want to touch and feel the product,” said Jason Bonfig, merchant vice president for computing at Best Buy. “They want to be able to talk to someone who is knowledgeable, who can ask them questions, and match them with the products that best meets their needs.”

Best Buy didn’t train all of its workers, but rather specially selected Geek Squad consultants and employees designated as Microsoft Advisors. The company has also set up Windows 8 “Experience Tables” at its locations that are staffed with these specially trained employees.

“We’ve trained employees to take on the spectrum of questions—from basic to advanced,” the executive said. “Our employees are also trained to understand the new features of Windows 8 that will bring the most value to our customers.”

Early consumer reviewers of Windows 8 have been favorable thus far. One user claimed that the operating system was “easier to learn than expected,” while another praised the experience despite Windows 8 having “a bit of a learning curve.” Another report found that the new operating system was boosting Microsoft’s brand image among consumers, putting the software giant at a two-year high.