Microsoft Stores launch SMB Zones to support small businesses

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Microsoft has announced today that all of its retail stores across the US, Canada, Puerto Rico, and Australia now have dedicated zones for small and medium-sized businesses. The new SMB Zones will provide business customers tailored resources including access to Answer Desk advisors, business sales specialists, and personal training. Both SMBs and Microsoft Partners will also  be allowed to use the areas to host training or networking events.

Here’s a complete list of the services to be offered in the SMB Zones:

  • Business Sales Specialists – Business sales specialists help guide local business owners and entrepreneurs with their technology needs whether it’s in-Store or on-the-ground at the business.
  • Answer Desk: Advisors at the Answer Desk help small and midsized businesses keep their devices running smoothly. They are on-hand to answer technical questions, make recommendations and offer full service and support on all software and hardware. In fact, they’ll answer questions and attempt to fix PCs, tablets or phones free of charge, regardless of what device you have or where you bought it – it’s like having your very own helpdesk and IT support right in our Store.
  • Surface Membership: A subscription-based program, Surface Membership provides Microsoft Stores’ small and midsized business customers with in-Store, online and phone support, one-on-one personal training, financing, member discounts and more. Small and midsized business customers can now take advantage of lower monthly rates, reduced buyout fees and additional in-Store support with our updated Surface Membership model.
  • Personal Training: Specialists educate customers with tutorials about Windows devices, Office 365, OneNote, Skype, OneDrive and more. Personal trainings are available for $49 for one-hour or $99 for one year of unlimited use.
  • In-Store Events: Microsoft Stores regularly host networking events, workshops, trainings and seminars on topics like “Quick and Easy Online Advertising” and “How to Stay in Touch With Customers” led by both Microsoft and industry experts.
  • Hosting Events: The Community Theater is available at most Microsoft Stores for partners and businesses to host trainings or networking events, free of cost.

Additionally, Microsoft is also launching a new leasing program called Accelerate Your Business. According to the blog post:

This new leasing program is designed to simplify the decision-making process and ensure business owners have access to the latest in business-grade devices, warranty options, and best-in-class in-Store and online training and support.

The Redmond giant currently has over 100 retail locations worldwide, and this new initiative will be a nice complement to the Microsoft Technology Centers that already help business customers to learn more about the company’s offerings. Let us know in the comments if the addition of new SMB Zones makes Microsoft Stores a more attractive destination for your business.