Apple’s huge new Manhattan retail store focuses on customer service before and after the sale

“At Apple Inc’s new store in Manhattan, the smiling ‘geniuses’ and ‘concierges’ standing at attention are as important as the iPods and Mac computers on display,” Franklin Paul and Scott Hillis report for Reuters. “The store, Apple’s second-biggest in the United States, has an entire floor dedicated to customer service and technical help, a key focus for the company and one that has helped drive sales growth.”

“‘What the Apple stores do is give customers a place to come and feel and touch the products, and more importantly, talk to someone who knows the products intimately,’ said Tim Bajarin, president of Creative Strategies, a consultancy,” Paul and Hillis report. “‘That just does not exist well in the PC side. You can’t get a similar experience at Best Buy or Circuit City,’ Bajarin said.”

“Apple stores pulled in $1.25 billion in revenue in the company’s last fiscal quarter, a 42 percent jump from a year earlier and accounting for a fifth of total revenue,” Paul and Hillis report. “There are more than 200 stores in five countries and Apple said in October it planned to open about 40 outlets in the next year, including its first in China.”

“The new store, the third in New York City, has an entire floor for technical support, one-on-one sessions and ‘pro labs’ — free classes on how to use Apple computers,” Paul and Hillis report. “Its 46-foot-long ‘genius bar’ can help 100 customers each hour and the store has 50 percent more space for tech support and education than any other Apple store.”

Paul and Hillis report,” Known for their clean, minimalist layouts, the stores are hailed by analysts as a model for consumer electronics retail.”

Full article here.

I give [Apple] two years before they’re turning out the lights on a very painful and expensive mistake.David Goldstein, Channel Marketing Corp. President, May 21, 2001

33 Comments

  1. BUT WILL THEY COME TO YOUR HOUSE AND SET UP FOR YOU? Give you the basics?

    This is the biggest hurdle to computer newbies. Setting up, especially wireless networks.

    I set up their Mac to be nearly idiot proof, show them how the GUI works and get them surfing the web. This reinforces the GUI training.

    Next I come see them again, update their OS and train them to eMail.

    Next time I come I train them to use iPhoto and put their camera pictures in and so on.

    If Apple can do this, in home training, they will OWN the computer space.

  2. I posted the following on a different thread, but it seems more appropriate here:

    Well, if they’re going to tout their workshops and one-on-one training, they better get a little quality control implemented. I and another employee from our company were considering paying for Apple training and decided to attend a workshop on iWork as a “test drive.” We also hoped this workshop would help us decide whether our (small) company should upgrade to Office 08 or give iWork a try. The workshop absolutely SUC*ED!! The Apple guy started by admitting he didn’t know anything at all about Numbers–which is the main one we were interested in seeing demo’d–then he proceeded to demonstrate that he also didn’t know much about Keynote, though he claimed that he knew that one! He ended up insisting that Keynote couldn’t add page numbering for handouts, as well as other basic functionality. The other employee that attended with me is a Mac newbie who I had recently persuaded to switch. After the “workshop” was over, we stayed around to play around with iWork and, in just 5 minutes, figured out how to add page numbering as well as do all the other things we wanted to see it do. (How embarrassing for an Apple fan!) Needless to say, we’ve put our plans for buying Apple retail training on hold for the time being.
    You know, while the workshops are free, if Apple is going to offer them it should do a good job with them! They project an image about the company. We may give Apple another shot at a different Apple retail store in the area (there are several) in a few weeks. Still, Apple is responsible for all of its own stores–they need to do a little more corporate QC.
    For those wondering why we didn’t just play around with the 30-day trial versions of iWork, it’s because every minute of company time is valuable. Fumbling blindly with an app you’ve never touched before SHOULD be less efficient than a focused workshop/training!!

  3. Pete is on target. Nobody, that means absolutely no one today or ever before, at any of the Dallas area Apple stores can give any useful explanation whatsoever about setting up a wireless network.

    Anyone you talk to has a different answer to your questions and most of the time the answers are clearly given for the purpose of avoiding any follow up such as: “just connect the base station to your modem and following the on-screen directions” – never more useless words ever uttered by any member of the “well trained” group of children wearing the latest color t-shirt.

    What’s worse, call Apple Care and you can hear in the voices of anyone you get on the phone that taletale *sigh* when you say you are calling for help with your network – even if every piece of the network is 100% genuine, Steve-approved, overpriced Apple parts.

  4. The reality is no one has all the answers to fit every situation.

    More often than not, the one asking the questions is the most difficult hurdle to overcome. You have to get passed their resumé and hubris before they finally let their guard down.

    It starts with asking the right questions. Apple’s customer service are not mind readers!

  5. Also, does anyone else think that chick in the Howard Johnson (HoJo) ad that sometimes appears on the right-side of MDN posts is hot as hell? Does she come with the room (uhhhh……pun not intended…….or maybe it was). ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

    I don’t mind ads on this site if she is in them!

  6. @Jake – I agree completely with what you said. Apple training should live up to the standards we expect from Apple and respect the care and creativity Apple put into the product. (I can’t believe the guy essentially said: “I don’t know what I’m trying to inform you about, but I’m willing to waste your time anyway”)

    The problem is that companies hire people to sell (and apparently teach) products they’ve never experienced. Without the experience of needing to do something (in your case, number the pages on a handout), they just don’t get the question. And fresh faced twenty-somethings working retail don’t yet have that experience. Apple would do better training their trainers by giving them an internship using the product they were trying to teach for a month or so before they’re allowed to conduct a class. I mean assignments to a real Apple department making documents, spreadsheets or presentations. They’d learn more, faster, using the product that all the “book learning” they could get. Plus the people who would have to suffer from their initial unfamiliarity would be on the Apple payroll and motivated to help them get more proficient, not a potential customer who might just get dispirited and leave. Just a thought.

    That said, if you’ve used M$ Office in the past, download the iWork trial. You will catch on immediately and not be disappointed. I did last summer. I’m retired now, but I spent the last 15 years I worked using some M$ product on a daily basis. I always had Macs at home and since I retired I’ve been trying to stay M$-free. I was limping along with AppleWorks 6 and really jonesing for a robust, modern spreadsheet. After less than an hour with the trial, I ordered the boxed-set. It is that good and that intuitive. If you’re a struggling young company, you owe it to yourselves to be M$-free if you can.

    PS – if you want to have some fun with and Apple trainer in the future, ask about “Absolute Cell References”

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