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With Microsoft Stores Closed, Employees Deliver Support Remotely

Employees of Microsoft's brick-and-mortar consumer stores are still supporting customers despite the stores themselves being closed since mid-March as a coronavirus precaution.

Many of Microsoft's retail employees are working via remote connections from their homes, according to David Porter, corporate vice president of Microsoft Store, in a March 26 LinkedIn post. He explained that while Microsoft is paying its retail store workers through this period of widespread shelter-in-place orders, it also offers employees weekly bonuses if they opt to work remotely. More than 80 percent took that option, Porter indicated.

The work is done purely online and includes training on software use, such as Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365, but there's also support provided in getting equipment to small businesses to bolster their remote operations. The team doesn't physically set up the equipment, but they'll offer help online in doing so.

Microsoft Store personnel can remotely offer help in five respects, according to a Microsoft spokesperson:

  • Serving small-to-medium business and education customers
  • Providing training to enterprise customers
  • Selling products from Surface to cloud to Microsoft 365
  • Providing customer support for all customer types
  • Delivering virtual workshops for communities

All Microsoft Store locations around the globe have implemented the work-from-home option. Teams is one of the tools they use.

While Microsoft Store employees still sell PCs, they aren't taking advance orders for Windows 10X dual-screen Surface machines at this time, according to the spokesperson. Veteran Microsoft reporter Mary Jo Foley recently found through her unnamed sources that Microsoft isn't planning to deliver any Windows 10X devices this year. These Windows 10X machines, built by Microsoft and its partners, were described as arriving in the fall of 2020 back when Microsoft first unveiled its new Surface PC line in October.

People can contact Microsoft Store support via support.microsoft.com.

"They can also browse available training sessions and workshops from associates on our virtual events page," the spokesperson indicated.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

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