Apple’s fast-growing global retail empire built on stellar customer service

“Apple has seen the future, and it is about customer service,” Reuters reports.

“On Thursday, Apple opened its largest U.S. store, a building in Boston with a glass and steel facade that a senior company executive said reflected Apple’s plan to expand retail its ventures at home and abroad,” Reuters reports.

“‘These stores have served them very, very well and really raised the bar in terms of technology customer service,’ said Michael Gartenberg of Jupiter Research, a technology consultancy,” Reuters reports.

“In its financial quarter to March 29, Apple’s store sales jumped 74 percent, to nearly $1.5 billion,” Reuters reports. “Average revenue per store in the quarter reached $7.1 million, up 48 percent from a year earlier. Meanwhile, quarterly operating profit at the stores more than doubled, to $334 million.”

Reuters reports, “Ron Johnson, Apple’s head of retailing, said Wednesday that an international retail presence would be an important driver of future sales. ‘Today, Apple is about 50 percent international revenue and about 50 percent in the U.S.,’ he said. ‘We increasingly want to get our retail presence out in the other countries.'”

“Apple’s latest filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission show that the company operated 208 stores at the end of the quarter,” Reuters reports.

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Linux Guy And Mac Prodigal Son” for the heads up.]

17 Comments

  1. Having been to stores both in New York City and elsewhere, I will say that our stores tend to give you less attention than most others simply because there are so many New Yorkers. Even so, Apple Stores are some of the best shopping experiences I’ve ever had. Giving every sales associate a credit card scanner so they can check out the customer they’ve just been helping is one of the best things Apple has done.

  2. Simply the best customer service I’ve ever had. I took my daughters macbook back for a fix, after the second go around, they gave her a new computer. It was a significant upgrade, and 2 weeks out of warrantee.

  3. So typical of Apple. Their retail experience is so dramatically different from everything else, it is obvious why it is successful. Treat your customers like your best clients. It is actually quite simple.

    Keep them building, Apple and we’ll keep coming. Now, if we could only get a few more stores in New York City… These three are always very crowded. If you want to see a Genius, you need to make an appointment two days in advance; if you show up, prepare to wait for 6 hours in the store. A midtown store could help a lot (and an Upper West Side as well, while you’re at it).

  4. No doubt that the service you receive in the stores is the best in the industry. Unfortunately, some of the store managers are too fixated on selling customers attachments such as AppleCare and .Mac.

    Those same managers also need to learn on how to make the customer satisfied.

  5. i’ve enjoyed 5 different Apple stores, and even when i was given incorrect info about a product, i was given a refund, and helped to get exactly what i needed. i still need to return my 2.5 year old iMac for a new DVD burner, and was told take my time; it’s waiting at the store. No rushes, no push, just take care of the problem. This is what makes The Apple Store, and Apple so great.

  6. Store needed in Boise, ID. Third largest met area in the northwest still without a store. Maybe we should tell them there are a lot of gays here ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” /> Haha, that’s a stretch.

  7. The Apple stores are fantastic. I had a ‘switcher’ friend who is in retail like myself, he went to one of the Apple stores and was astounded at how many people were in there.

    He knew he wanted a Macbook and could not believe that from the time he walked in, to the time he walked out with his new Macbook, it was just over 5 minutes. Blew him away that he was looked after as quickly as he was.

    He said the experience even got better, by the time he got home an hour later, plugged in and connected, there was a welcome on his Mac, and the opportunity to complete a store survey right there.

    To say the least he indicated this was one of the best retail experiences he’s ever had. And he’s been in retail for over 20 years.

    There has been lots of talk here lately though that they aren’t paying their Associates enough, I hope they get that straightened out. Besides the hardware and environment these people are their biggest asset and should be paid accordingly.

    They have proven their profitability in the retail space in a big way, providing I think the highest dollars per square foot in retail, and the experience is what continues to drive it, I’m sure.

    I forget who it was that said they would be shuttering the first Apple stores a year after they opened. Wrong!

  8. @makemineamac,

    “I forget who it was that said they would be shuttering the first Apple stores a year after they opened. Wrong!”

    That someone would be just about everyone.

  9. Here is my story from today.

    My managing director purchased an 8GB iPod Touch for me as a present last year which was amongst the very first to the hit the UK. Sadly, whilst his unit has always worked flawlessly, mine was a bit of a lemon – consistently locking up, especially when fully charged.

    I contacted AppleCare last year and reported the problem, but – more by luck than design – we felt we’d isolated the problem. Sadly that optimism was misplaced and the unit was pretty much useless, however – because I had other more important fish to fry – I deferred getting the unit replaced until I could bear it no longer.

    I contact AppleCare again last Thursday and re-iterated the issues, explained that I was an IT pro who understood and had executed the recommended remedial steps: I was immediately told that, as I’d done everything that was recommended, I had two choices – allow Apple to pick up the unit and analyse the fault (a process that might take 7-10 days) or make an appointment for The Genius Bar assuming I had a nearby Apple Store.

    Seeing as I have an Apple Store nearby (Bentalls Centre, Kingston), I elected for that option and asked if I could have an appointment today. I was informed that they couldn’t book more than 48 hours in advance, but if I called back Saturday and quoted my call reference they’d book me in.

    Sadly I was busy all through Saturday and AppleCare doesn’t seem to be open on Sunday so I called the Store directly and was lucky enough to find someone who understood my issue and booked me in despite the fact they’re not supposed to take bookings over the phone.

    Arrived this morning at my allotted slot, was constantly apologised to because they were running a little late on my slot, was eventually seen (only ten minutes late), the problem was confirmed within five minutes and fifteen minutes later I walked out with a new iPod touch complete with the January software update. (my thanks to Rycharde).

    So a seamless experience whether dealing with AppleCare’s offshore (Indian??) call centre or the bricks-and-mortar store and a satisfied customer without even having to produce a receipt or an invoice of any description.

    In short, the way customer service used to be when I was growing up in the Sixties and Seventies. Genius indeed.

  10. Sometimes, the sales reps get a little too much though. A customer being asked 6 times in 10 minutes if he needs any assistance qualifies. It’s better than never being asked though, but still annoying.

  11. Oh, this is the guy:

    “Count David Goldstein, president of the Dallas-based growth-strategy consulting firm Channel Marketing Corp., among the critics of Apple’s retail plans. “It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever for them to open retail stores,” he says.

    “Apple will turn the lights off within two years and will have a very bad and expensive experience,” Goldstein adds.” This from 2001.

    And MCCFR, I don’t think their call centre is in India. They were going to move operations there – they sent an initial team of people over, but decided I think it wasn’t in their customers best interests.

  12. makemineamac…

    I used to live in West London and my mother was born in what used to be called Calcutta, so I’m pretty certain I can spot an Indian sub-continent accent and it’s not the only one I’ve encountered on this issue.

    I recall the abrupt u-turn on the call centre to which you refer, but maybe iPod AppleCare calls are being routed to India , whilst higher-value, more technically diverse calls relating to iPhone and Mac are routed to other centres.

  13. Service even better than I’d hoped.
    When my iPhone lost touch sensitivity on part of the screen, I called Apple after trying all the recommended remedies. Was given an appointment at a local Apple Store for that evening. I showed up, was asked about the troubleshooting steps, and received a new-looking iPhone replacement in minutes. No rehashing the troubleshooting, no questions about abuse. No hassles at all. Just, “Here’s your new iPhone.”

    I walked out thinking, “Damn, they’re good,” and confident that my AAPL shares would soon be over $200.

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