Local startup hopes to peel back technology woes

Two Bellevue entrepreneurs say they are working to erase the unflattering stereotype of the grungy, awkward computer guy once and for all.

Zakk Alumbaugh

Two Bellevue entrepreneurs say they are working to erase the unflattering stereotype of the grungy, awkward computer guy once and for all.

Zakk Alumbaugh and Brock Reed are the co-founders of Peel Tech, an on-demand IT service helping users in Bellevue and Seattle.

“People have these stories of unfavorable tech support experiences,” Alumbaugh said. “We want to create an amazing customer experience.”

The two are the only full-time employees at Peel Tech at the moment, and their business license only went into effect two months ago. The two rely heavily on vetted contractors to do Information Technology work for them in homes and small businesses in the area.

“We’re like an Uber for tech support,” Reed said. “We provide that on-demand consumer and small business tech support and we are able to provide that same-day service right now.”

The two Seattle natives are actually surprised the on-call tech support market hasn’t been mined more.

“We impress customers a lot just by showing up on time and being responsive,” Alumbaugh said. “We want our customers to like you and trust you so it’s not awkward for you to be in their home.”

Reed agreed.

“The bar has been set pretty low,” he said.

Peel Tech is taking a simple approach. Make sure social skills and hygiene of their contractors is up to par, and then avoid any sort of condescension which can turn off potential customers.

“We’re not going to make customers feel stupid because they don’t understand their technology,” Alumbaugh said. “That doesn’t help anyone. We work with a lot of senior citizens who maybe have never sent an email before. We want people to learn.”

Alumbaugh is a 15-year IT veteran working in public and private sectors before going independent several years ago. Reed is an entrepreneur and the de facto IT guy for his family. The two liked the idea of providing on-demand, same-day service.

A customer calls, emails, texts Peel Tech’s number and they will be contacted within half an hour by Alumbaugh or Reed to set up arrangements to resolve any tech issues.

While the company doesn’t have a brick and mortar location, that could be a possibility in the future. Alumbaugh hopes to someday have a “lab” where contractors and technicians can familiarize themselves with new (and old) pieces of technology to become experts.

“One of the biggest things on our plate us how we source people,” Reed said. “How we train people and how we hire people are incredibly important to the customer experience. It’s an ongoing process to manage new technologies and information. We want to be ahead of that curve.”

The two did research on other, similar companies and found the hiring process for contractors appalling, which they speculate is where the stereotypes of IT workers come from.

The process to be an employee of Peel Tech won’t be easy, but will be worth it, the two said.

“We want them to feel like part of the company,” Alumbaugh said. “And will have that ongoing training to keep them up to speed and at the top of their work.”

Peel Tech services starts at $80 an hour, and can do things ranging from as simple as plugging in devices and making sure they work to data management and syncing various Internet devices in the home or business with the cloud and each other.

The company is hoping to partner with computer shops in the future to deal with hardware issues out of the home.

To contact Peel Tech, visit their website at www.peel.tech or call 866-702-7335.

 

Ryan Murray: 425-453-4602; rmurray@bellevuereporter.com

 

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