Eliminating home-office tech headaches: My Computer Works

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Luke-againA pioneer of remote computer-repair service, Luke Ford founded My Computer Works (MCW) in 2005, and by 2014 the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based company was generating $4 million in annual revenue with 70 employees. MCW has achieved growth every year since its launch — even during the recession — and Ford has never had to downsize his staff.

Ford’s inspiration for MCW struck in the mid-1990s when he was a sales executive at IBM. “My wife and I were trying to set up our desktop computer with AOL, and we almost killed each other because neither of us are technically oriented,” he says. At the time, IBM provided remote support for corporate clients’ mainframes and mid-range computers, and Ford envisioned a similar service for consumers. A realistic visionary, however, Ford knew he must wait for computers to become more entrenched in U.S. households before he could scratch his entrepreneurial itch.

Fast forward to today: MCW targets the SOHO (small office/home office) market, solving technology problems for real estate agents, CPAs, graphic designers and a score of other professionals who rely on their computers but don’t have a technology staff to turn to when issues arise. MCW services span the gamut from removing viruses and spyware infections to configuring software to installing new applications.

In the past couple of years, MCW has added onsite repair to its offerings, which now generate about 20 percent of its revenue. Other recent innovations include support services for Android and Apple smartphones and mobile devices. The company is national and has customers in every state — and it recently signed an agreement with Geek Team Asia, a Singapore-based technical support company, to provide remote services in Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong.

MCW stands out from competitors in a number of ways:

Developing proprietary software to manage its call center. The software performs a dynamic analysis to evaluate the customers’ various computer products, repair history and service level agreement to ensure that the service agreement is met and which available technician is best equipped to address the issue.

Hiring only U.S. technicians, with the majority residing in Arizona’s Maricopa County.

Offering not just repair services, but also education. “We help people use the technology that’s in front of them, whether it’s a software application or understanding a mobile device,” Ford says.

A passion for customer service.
“We don’t play a time game where technicians are rushing through calls to get to the next customer,” Ford says, noting that he receives thank-you emails on a daily basis from happy clients. “Our technicians are incented to be efficient, but also to make sure the customer’s satisfaction exceeds expectations.”

Another differentiator, when it comes to hiring, Ford is more concerned about aptitude and attitude than experience. “We look for people who have a real passion for computers and technology, and then train them how to be excellent technicians,” he says. “We believe that if you really love something, you’ll excel at it.”

Proof that this works? About 50 percent of MCW’s new business comes from referrals or existing customers who add on more services. What’s more, the company’s turnover is almost nonexistent, Ford says, which not only reduces training costs, but helps with consistency and teamwork.

Although Ford would like to see revenue higher, he’s proud of MCW’s track record for job creation. “When I started the company, creating new jobs was part of my motivation,” he says. “I’m a University of Arizona graduate, and it bothered me that there weren’t more opportunities for graduates in our state. Yet the gratification from creating jobs far outstrips any expectations I may have had. It’s a real pleasure to feel that you’re giving people a place to work and thrive despite the burdens presented by the economy.”

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Second-Stage Rockstars

Because second-stage entrepreneurs are so focused on their businesses, their contributions often go unnoticed by the media, policymakers, economic developers and community stakeholders. With that in mind, celebrating growth entrepreneurs and communicating their value is part of the foundation’s entrepreneurship mission, which it carries out in a variety of ways.

Among these is Second-Stage Rockstars, a series of online articles that examines the ongoing impact of second-stage companies. These stories chronicle not only second-stagers’ economic growth, but also how they may be transforming their industry, creating empowering workplaces or excelling as corporate citizens. Below are some recent Rockstars; others can be found in our archives.