By Lisa Johnston
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PC customer support provider YourTechOnline.com is looking to align with computer vendors and start offering online classes for consumers to take advantage of the emerging Web-based PC repair market.
YourTechOnline.com has spent the past seven years building what founder Steve Wandler calls a tier-two support system that he believes is a viable option for vendors that either don't have the technical ability for Web-based support or that might want to offer their consumers another option for when their PC's warranty expires.
"I consider this an emerging market. We grew 400 percent last year," Wandler said, adding Toshiba Canada recently agreed to refer its customers to Your-TechOnline for support.
Outside of PC repair YourTech-Online has started offering online customer training, some for free some with a fee, to teach people some basic PC fixes, Wandler said.
Like Dell and Hewlett-Packard, YourTechOnline has customer service agents who, with the owner's permission, remotely access a consumer's computer to fix software based problems. These can range from spyware removal to helping others buy and install Microsoft's Vista operating system.
YourTechOnline offers five plans starting with a 30-minute package for $49 up to 180 minutes for $179. The minutes are available in per package increases in 30-minute increments. There are also $99 price plans for curing specific computer ills, such as general PC maintenance and virus removal.
Wandler said he started the company in 2000 because he needed help with basic computer problems, but he did not have a one-stop shop available. He described his operation as being similar to a customer's local car mechanic. His support personnel work from their home and are spread across the United States and Canada so there is always someone available even if there is a problem at the company headquarters. For competitive reasons Wandler would not say how many techs he has on staff.
YourTechOnline only handles software issues, but Wandler said if they detect or suspect the problem is hardware bases the tech will suggest a solution and help the customer fix the problem. The company only handles Windows-bases systems.
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