My Apple store experience.

A number of times in customer service workshops I have been told about the Apple shop way of doing things.  As a result of my daughters iPhone having a cracked screen I went with her last week to meet with “a genius”, as that is what they are called at Apple stores.  To work out the lay of the land, I rang what I thought was the phone number of the shop, it went to the shopping centre’s help.  They gave me the number.  I then found that for technical help it went to a central Apple help that wasn’t staffed at time of call.  I tried again to work the phone answer system and go through to someone at the store and worked out one has to, preferably, go to the apple website, find on the website your  preferred store, and book your time with “a genius” for a free 10 minutes of consultation and diagnosis.  It took some time to find and place this booking on the website, but it was done.  Nothing available until 4 days time, so booked in advance for Friday night with late night shopping.

When Friday came we raced in on a wet and storming night.  Fought over getting a parking spot in the crowded carpark.  Raced to shop and got there 5 minutes late for our appointment.  When you enter the shop it is open, sparse, IKEA like.  Big wooden benches very open plan.  All available young Apple employees engaged with clients so I dove on the first available free one.  They direct me to “the one with a green iPad”. We waited our turn.  We were directed to the waiting bench at the back of the store with others.  We waited about 10 minutes and then a nice young light American accented chap talks, assesses, troubleshoots, advices, quotes, and then it is back to us to proceed if we want to, and it would be ready in 5 minutes at a cost, or, back up the phone, look at alternatives and come back.  We made an appointment for the next Friday to allow for backup.

Returned the next week knowing the drill, and parking in a much more accessible less crowed spot, and found far less people in the shop.  It is the start of a long weekend which might account for this.  Directed to “the one with the green iPad” and it is the same genius that we dealt with last week.  He remembered us, directed us to the bench, and within minutes was attending to us as he knew the background.  Within a short time frame we were done and leaving the shop with a new phone replacement for the old cracked one paid for as out of warranty.

So as a customer embracing and testing this model I found once you knew the drill it was good.  Finding out how to work the drill was not initially intuitive for me, but at least in the physical shop you were directed appropriately through customer support via real people.  On line I had no idea, and was directed via a phone call and customer intervention which via the initial automated phone service was not intuitive.  It would have been an interesting exercise to have tried to tackle the website without the phone knowledge.

There doesn’t appear to be written instructions or much signage for guidance it is all via their customer service people.  They do seem to be good at making good initial contact, assessing the situation and working their iPads with one hand to input the required data to hand onto the appropriate person.  Interesting. Oh, and no counter or check out.  All paid for via a portable device on the bench where we were serviced.  All very slick.

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