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Circuit City Unleashes "firedog" Custom Install/IT Service

9/06/2006 08:01:00 AM Eastern

Richmond, Va. -- Circuit City has rolled out firedog, its much-anticipated service brand under which the CE chain will market all of its IT and newly-launched home installation offerings nationwide.

The company had previously provided in-store, online and limited in-home IT support under its IQ Crew test banner, and announced plans in April to add home installation services. CEO Phil Schoonover said at the time that the install element would provide “high-quality installation at affordable prices,” and would be staffed by a mix of in-house and outsourced tech crews, with employees deployed in primary markets and third-party providers serving secondary and tertiary markets.

Currently the firedog force stands at “4,000 strong and growing” a company spokesperson said, split equally between Circuit City employees and third-party providers. “We see a benefit to the flexibility and expertise provided by good third-party partners,” he noted.

In its decision to market all of its labor services under a single, comprehensive brand, Circuit City differentiates itself from Best Buy, which currently employs the Geek Squad brand for PC support and provides custom install services through its Magnolia Home Theater operation.

Beginning this month, firedog in-store and in-home PC support will be available through all 632 Circuit City stores and home theater installations will be available within 25 miles of Circuit City locations. To that end, branded fixtures, SUVs and uniformed personnel have begun appearing at stores baring the firedog logo, which features a stylized dog jumping through a hoop. The logo symbolizes “the brand commitment to do whatever it takes to get the job done for customers,” the company said, while green was chosen as the dominant color because it “often signifies ‘go’ or ‘on’ in electronics.”

The firedog departments will vary in size and location within stores, and will not displace any inventory, the spokesperson said. Their installation dovetails with the rollout of a new home entertainment format to more than 500 stores this autumn featuring extended plasma display walls, home theater vignettes and revamped audio demo rooms.

In-home service rates run from $160 for PC virus and spyware removal to upwards of $900 for mounting a flat panel TV and connecting a basic home theater system. The company also offers a menu of in-home “convergence services” such as hooking up a media center PC to a TV and home entertainment system ($160), and set-up and training on digital cameras and MP3 players ($150 each in-home, $50 each online). Circuit City will also install and repair equipment that was not purchased through the company.

The program is supported by a dedicated Web site, www.firedog.com, and a toll free phone line, (800) f-i-r-e-d-o-g.

In a statement, Marc Sieger, Circuit City’s senior VP for services said, “When it comes to the music they hear, the shows they watch and the computers they rely on, Americans are living a ‘digital life.’ Some people are comfortable with using and integrating digital technologies, but it is not second nature for many consumers. Our mission with firedog is to provide a one-stop offering to help people solve problems and optimize their experience with the electronic devices they use every day.”

Added Schoonover in a statement, “We chose the name firedog because it evokes the kind of qualities we intend our technicians and installers to provide: helpful, friendly, knowledgeable and reliable. When it comes to improving consumers’ relationship with technology, we want firedog to be your ‘best friend.’”

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