Genius training manual details banned words for Apple employees

“Details from Apple’s training manual for Genius Bar employees have been published online, revealing how the company teaches its workers to read customer body language, and how words like ‘crash’ and ‘hang’ are not to be used,” AppleInsider reports.

“The company’s confidential information was published on Tuesday by Gizmodo, which referred to the employee workbook as “psychological training” designed to ensure that customers are happy. In particular, Apple Geniuses are told to focus on empathizing with customers and employ what are called the ‘three Fs:’ feel, felt and found,” AppleInsider reports. “In one example, Geniuses are told how to respond to a customer who feels a Mac may be too expensive for them. The employee is advised to employ the three Fs, saying ‘I can see how you’d feel this way. I felt the price was a little high, but I found it’s a real value because of all the built-in software and capabilities.'”

AppleInsider reports, “Also included in the employee manual is a list of things Geniuses are not allowed to say.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Genius training manual details banned words for Apple employees:

Brow·ett·ize   [brau-eh-tize]
verb (used with object), Brow·ett·ized, Brow·ett·iz·ing

to monkey with success, usually in a cheap and ignorant way; to reinvent the wheel; to fix what isn’t broken; to screw the pooch; to attempt to empire-build with disastrous results, then face widespread public humiliation

brow·ett·i·za·tion, noun
brow·ett·ized, un·brow·ett·ized, adjective

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After being Browettized, Apple Retail touts numbers – August 20, 2012
Apple newbie John Browett brings Dixons to Apple Retail Stores – August 17, 2012
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Tim Cook emails UK customer: John Browett’s role isn’t to bring Dixons to Apple Retail – February 1, 2012
Eyebrows raised over Apple’s hiring of Dixons CEO to run Apple Retail Stores – January 31, 2012
Apple hires Dixons CEO John Browett as new retail chief – January 31, 2012

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Apple’s retail juggernaut is magical and revolutionary in its own right – May 25, 2011
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How Apple’s Steve Jobs is revolutionizing Manhattan retail – May 08, 2007
Fortune: Apple Inc. is America’s best retailer – March 08, 2007
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  1. MDN – irrelevant ‘take’. These manuals may have been in place for years. And I’d have been disappointed if Apple’s retail employees WEREN’T taught basic public relations.

    Go simper elsewhere.

    1. Exactly. There are ways to word things that make people not panic when there is a problem. Any good IT needs to use those because people’s lives are in their computer and it’s a very emotional thing—even if it sounds trivial to us, that EVERY photo of their dead dog Pooky might have been accidentally trashed. A personal computer holds more than dry data and documents, it’s also memories and very emotional suff people are connected to. And people still don’t back up their drives, so problems are very traumatic, but true.

  2. God forbid a tech company show decent customer assistance. Walk into best buy or att and notice the atrocious customer service and tell me that they couldn’t use a little instruction. Tech geeks are not people persons so a little guildence goes a long way.

  3. I was hoping for something a little juicier. For example, a genius cannot use words or phrases like, Fsck off, go buy a PC as yer too stupid to own a Mac, Ya wanna feel my mouse, No maam, the screen is black because it is NOT TURNED ON..AAARGH.

  4. The fastest, and most certain, way to ruin a business is to appoint an accountant as CEO. Qantas used to be a great airline, but successive accountant CEOs have nickelled and dimed Qantas staff and their frequent fliers for years, and driven them to other airlines, like Virgin Australia and Virgin Atlantic. Qantas is now losing market share and money having trashed the Qantas experience and focusing entirely on price. If Tim Cook pursues this approach in his stores he will trash the Apple brand, and people will fall out of love with Apple and drift to other products. I often spend time in an Apple store just to browse and try the latest equipment – because I can, without being pestered by sales staff. If that changes I won’t go there any more, and a close relationship will become more distant. The fracas over the aborted changes in the retail stores has already damaged Apple’s brand – bringing it down to the “ordinary” retail experience. Lose the magic and you will lose the ability to charge a premium. Apple will then look like a pricey Samsung… Qantas attempted to shift their customers to their low-cost Jetstar subsidiary. But, in reality, their well-heeled customers went elsewhere, leaving Qantas with just the bargain hunters and a ruined brand. It would be sad to see Apple make the same mistake.

        1. Sales, accounting, corporate mentality, same thing. I left the Byte Shop in 1985 because they had sold to company to Pacific Telephone, one of the RBOC’s. My reason was that the suits were taking over. Within 3 years, PacTel had lost 111 million dollars ruining one of the finest retail computer sales organizations bar none.

    1. I hope you are not saying Tim Cook is an “accountant.” He’s the operations genius, who made the design genius of Steve Jobs (and Jonathan Ive) into reality.

    2. Thank you @sunbeamrapier. Putting a ‘Bean Counter’ in charge is equivalent to putting a marketing-moron in charge. The effect is fundamentally the same:

      1) No comprehension of creativity and entrepreneurship as THE driving force of business.
      2) Disrespect for the customer. They are treated as just another number or measurement category.
      3) Disrespect for the employees who don’t schmooze with them properly. Morale is killed dead, resulting in plummeting productivity.
      4) No viable vision of the future. Short term thinking, long term disaster. Hello Kodak!

      This is one strain of the self-destruction disease killing modern business and turning it into laughable, dysfunctional biznizz. 😯

  5. What exactly is the scoop here? That Apple retail wants to ensure it’s employees are equipped to take care of it’s customers?

    BTW – this is almost the exact same training as it was in ’02 – As mush as I too love to participate in Browett bashing, this isn’t an example of it.

    1. You are correct sir. The manual has nothing to do with poralle Browett. The crap that he has pulled stands on its own legs. But please feel free to bash Browett at will. because that piece of shit deserves all the abuse we can give him. Get him out of there Cook!

  6. Gizmodo is at it again. They weren’t content with buying the stolen iPhone 4, now got their hands on confidential Apple information and publish it online.

    I know you’re paying attention Samsung and Microsoft! Go ahead and copy it for use on your totally original stores!

  7. Apparently no one here has worked in retail before. There are similar forms of training in most high end retail stores. You should see what the training is like in luxury automobile or watch sales are like. Some of the training concentrates on getting a partner to separate the wife from husband, because she isn’t going to like him looking at a $3000 watch (which is cheap for a luxury watch). The trick is to get her off to the side looking at something for herself.

    My point is this kind of social engineering is in no way unique to Apple Stores.

  8. My son and myself were told that we were not to “play” with certain floor models in the Chicago Apple Store… Nothing will kill a sale faster than being given what I considered to be a lecture in front of other customers. I’m still an Apple supporter and eventually purchased elsewhere, but it definitely set a mood which curtailed any purchases that day.

  9. These aren’t new policies and have nothing to do with John Browett, the current head of retail. The manual is constantly being tweaked and changed but the core concepts remain the same: Align yourself with the customer against the problem. Fix the problem if possible. Customer is satisfied. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

    The golden rule in Apple Retail is something along these lines: “Profit is our reward for delighting our customers.”

    And that’s exactly as it should be.

    1. I wish my last Genius Bar experience was as upbeat as it should have been.

      I had am iMac with a recurring video problem. The first time they couldn’t find a problem. The second time a S.M.A.R.T. test indicated my HD was about to fail. The Genius told me it was probably the cause of my video problem. They replaced it. It didn’t fix the video problem. The third time they kept it overnight and ran a prolonged test on it. No problem found.

      The fourth time, after a casual exam, I was told they would have to keep the Mac for an extended period (they had a backlog of work) to check the logic board. If it needed replacing, it would take at least two weeks to get a replacement and fix it.

      I told them I would be leaving in a week for a three month trip, that my warranty would expire in the middle of it, and that I had no means of picking up the Mac after it was repaired. Neither I nor they were keen on the idea of having my Mac sitting in their store for three months.

      They told me I could bring it in after I got back and it would be fixed as a warranty repair, even if it was a logic board issue and even after going off warranty, because they had a record of the Mac being brought in and the issue not being resolved.

      When I got back, I was told it was probably a logic board issue and wouldn’t be covered. When I repeated what they told me the last time (about three months prior and six weeks before my warranty ran out), I was told they had no record of the problem (the video issue) I had specifically brought it for almost half a dozen times.

      My advice to anyone going to a Genius Bar is get anything they tell you in writing.

      1. I’m sorry to hear that. If I were you (and if this was fairly recently) I would contact AppleCare phone support or ask to speak to a manager at the store.

        For what it’s worth, you don’t really need to have anything in writing. Just ask for a case number. If he can give you that, the record must be saved in the system.

  10. MDN: Brow·ett·ize

    I can’t help but: BWAHAHAHAHA!
    -> Notice how the ‘Fire Browett’ poll jumped another 10 points today. If I wasn’t soaked to the gills with experiences of BAD marketing-moron behavior, I’d almost feels sorry for him. The guy is dangerous.

  11. wow.
    what a manual, except that Gizmodo does not upload manual.

    still, if it gets out it will create a furor against Apple.
    but little do people think. Everyone else does it!
    that is capitalism/marketing.

    it’s like bitching about Apple due to Greenpeace, when all competitors are at least as guilty, but focus is on Apple. or like Apple does all the R&D & spending & thinking & innovating (not necessarily inventing) yet all bitch when the highest expectations are not met i.e. next: the iPhone5, whilst everyone else are lazy f’s crying over spilled milk i.e. Samsung. the point is, Apple is never good enough – sales tactics included. why is it so wrong when Apple does it, but ok when other do?

    still. capitalistic marketing greed can go to far. it’s ugly & annoying, invasive. my 1st eery feeling reading the headlines on this & seeing some screenshots of handbook, is that Scientology techniques are used. who knows. it’s scary, but is it typical public relations techniques or more manipulative? that is the question.

    then again, we control our minds. whichever brainwashing techniques are used, it’s our choice in the end, to fall for it. is Apple selling harder than ads with subliminal messages? not really.

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