Chautauquans are in store for a tech-savvy upgrade.
A new tech service center opened Monday in the basement of the Colonnade. Chq Tech Squad is an effort to address an increasing need for tech support at Chautauqua Institution, according to Cindy Mando, director of information technology.
“People are always coming and forgetting their cords, they don’t know how to set-up their television, their computer is failing or they get a virus, so there’s been that perpetual need.” Mando said. “It just made sense.”
Mando described Chq Tech Squad as a venture aimed to help streamline and make technology more accessible for Chautauquans.
“We couldn’t say, ‘Oh, drive all the way to Lakewood or Erie, Pennsylvania, for basic things,’” she said.
Services range from hardware repairs, software support — including virus removal, data backup and transfers — to Wifi, DirecTV Now and streaming device set-up. Chq Tech Squad also sells laptops, desktop computers, TVs and tech accessories.
The brick-and-mortar store is open 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Customers can also request house calls from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., according to Mando and Sam Nelson, help desk and hardware administrator.
However, the location of the service center is cumbersome, according to Mando.
“It’s not accessible — you go down those awful steps,” she said. “We do make house calls, so if somebody just needs to call us and they can’t make it to the Colonnade, that’s fine. We’ll get back to them, or we will answer the phone and get them on the schedule.”
Outside of its hours, the service center is available via phone call or voicemail at 716-357-6426, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or chq-techsquad.org.
“Even on Sundays — or whenever — we will have voicemail, and we welcome people to leave messages for us if we’re not in the store and we will get back to them as soon as we can,” Mando said.
Chq Tech Squad’s services are not free — the fee is $80 per hour, with a half-hour minimum.
Because of its recent conception and uncertainty about the volume of people who will use the service, services are restricted to the Institution for its inaugural season; those outside of the grounds are not able to request house calls.
“I have absolutely no idea how well received this will be, but I know over the course of time people ask for (off-grounds house calls) so we’re going to see how well we do with that,” Mando said.