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Virgin coughs up digital tech support for clueless users

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Virgin Group has launched a tech help service that will compete with the likes of DSGi's Tech Guys in the UK.

Virgin Digital Help is the company's first new UK consumer biz in three years.

It was created in partnership with outsourcing outfit Sutherland Global Services, said Virgin.

The service is pitched at clueless Blighty folk, who don't know the first thing about how to get their "digital stuff to work."

Virgin said its tech team would hold customers' hands and guide them through problems with their digital gear. It will offer support in the form of downloadable tools, online and phone help, and home visits.

The media firm also trotted out a no-shit-Sherlock survey that found the majority of the 2,000 UK consumers questioned weren't satisfied with the help they currently receive.

“For far too long, understanding how to make digital technology work has been the preserve of a small, tech-savvy proportion of the British population," opined Virgin Digital Help boss Joel Steel.

"Outside of these power users, people either miss out or spend hours in fruitless frustration. We have launched Virgin Digital Help to get Britain’s digital stuff to work. Now you don’t have to get mad, you can just get help.”

Virgin Digital Help is offering a download tool for users free of charge. It's a basic package that encourages users to run a few scans on their PC. Beyond that - and here's the rub - users will need to pony up a £2.99 per month upgrade fee to fix any problems detected on their machine.

The service offers a few things for free, such as an FAQ section on its website and phoning the tech support team. But getting any help will require a user to cough up some cash to Virgin Digital Help.

Unsurprisingly, other helpdesk players have already weighed in on Virgin's latest consumer biz idea.

Gadget Helpline's managing director Crispin Thomas was quick to accuse Virgin of entering the playing field late.

"I just don't think Richard's [Branson] concept is going to fly, and people don't want foreign based operators. We've just taken our millionth call, I can't understand how an innovative company like Virgin have come into a market so late and with such a poorly priced offering, especially as the Tech Guys and Geek Squad have been struggling in the space." ®

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