Apple store employee: iPhone battery replacement is a mess

“Apple was quick to rectify the ‘random shut down’ issue affecting some iPhones by offering in-store battery replacements for affected customers,” Luke Dormehl reports for Cult of Mac. “Unfortunately, it seems that already-busy Apple store employees aren’t too happy about it.”

“According to a longtime Genius Bar guru, given that each replacement takes between 20-45 minutes, and staff are seeing 15-30 replacements per day, it’s quickly adding up to ‘more than we replace,'” Dormehl reports. “It would be one thing if this was only affecting employees, but customers are also bearing the brunt of it due to lengthy delays and other challenges.”

Dormehl reports, “‘There is no real plan on how to actually get these done,’ the Apple store employee told Business Insider. ‘Most stores are short-staffed, and they book us too much for appointments, so Geniuses are taking two to three appointments at a time. But we have these [battery replacements] come in nonstop.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple Stores, especially this time of year, are generally clusterfscks that are best avoided at all costs. And that’s from us; we usually get excited to go to the Apple Store – any Apple Store.

Now, we’re not retail experts, but imparting that impression to your customers doesn’t seem like the soundest retail strategy to us.

SEE ALSO:
Apple offers free battery replacement for ‘very small number’ of iPhone 6s units with unexpected shutdown issue – November 21, 2016

20 Comments

  1. Idea: Bite the shipping costs bullet and have ALL of these devices RUSH shipped to one well-staffed location for immediate battery replacement, then RUSH shipped back again.

    There has to be a better plan in the system for catastrophic problems than dumping an impossible workload on the geniuses. This is how to ruin employee morale, not to mention customer morale. Been there, hated that.

    1. Or distribute the same staff that would be at this rush location, to the various stores.

      No matter how fast, a rush shipping out of the physical store, even within the same city, will still take longer than the hour or two wait if it’s done in-house. My own 6s battery was replaced and ready for me after an hour.

  2. I experienced this first hand. When I learned about the battery replacement program, and confirmed that my iPhone 6S was effected, I scheduled an appointment at the closest Apple Store, which is about 30 miles away.
    I arrived for my appointment about 10 minutes early, and had to wait 10-15 minutes past my appointment time before an employee was available. He confirmed the serial number on my phone, and then said that they’d call me back when they had a battery available.
    Needless to say, I was a bit surprised. After all, the appointment was to *replace the battery*, not for an employee to simply look at my phone and confirm that I typed in the correct serial number. I wasted about 2.5 hours of my time just for an Apple Store employee to confirm a serial number. The employee told me that they’re having everybody make two visits for the battery replacement program, as they’ve had issues with people miss-entering their serial numbers in Apple’s program web site. There was no mention of this when I scheduled the appointment, nor on the battery replacement program web site. I raised a complaint with Apple Customer Service, and the rep I spoke with there said that he had never heard of something like this before, that if an appointment to replace a battery is made, a battery should be on hand.
    It seems that Apple, the company, is performing less and less well by their customers these days. Between apparently poorly planned out service programs, improperly staffed stores, and product lines that are sorely out of date, it makes one wonder what happened to the company. It seems that the “bean counters” are in charge, and simply looking to maximize profit over all other considerations. I’d expect this from Microsoft, not Apple.

    1. I had the exact same experience, and was told the same by the geniuses. On the plus side, however, I came in on this past Monday (when the store went to “Christmas early hours”) at 8 AM, and was out by 8:40 with a new battery.

    2. I’ve posted my similar bad experience here at MDN before.
      Replacing the phone is faster for Apple, but sucks for the user, since the “Restore from Backup” leaves all kinds of things wonky and requires a lot of work to get a complicated set of apps/accounts/etc up and running properly.
      Guess which one they did for me, after making me come back after my first appointment because “we don’t have batteries in stock”?
      Ugh.

    3. I didn’t book an appointment, just went in and got put on the walk-in standby list, which was over 2 hours long. Didn’t waste me any time, I just walked around the rest of the mall.

      They confirmed the problem and ordered in a replacement, which took a week. Amazingly they said I didn’t need to schedule a followup appointment for the actual replacement. Sure enough I walked in and within 5 minutes a tech took in the phone, said it’d be ready in about an hour, and it was.

    4. My experience *exactly*. Wasted an hour in travel time only to be told “we don’t know what you’re coming in for and no battery is available.”

      Out of curiousity, I booked a genius bar appointment after my battery came in. To do so, you have to go through multiple screens and type in a reason why you’re coming.

      But if you book your appointment coming off the battery replacement site it doesn’t ask for any of that. Any reasonable person would assume that Apple had communicated all the info you just typed in and sent that to the store. Nope.

      Store employees told me they are indeed overwhelmed. They are very apologetic about the mess, and their powerlessness to rectify things. And you think Apple would ship extra extra batteries in the very least.

  3. Sounds like my Thursday night 8:20pm (hardly any times available which sucked finding in itself) appointment is going to be quite the adventure. Then again it will be nice to not have my iPhone shutdown at 45%

  4. And they’re paying Angela Ahrendts tens of millions each year for this?

    Yes, I know long gone are the days when Apple stores were staffed with fans of Apple products who were extremely knowledgeable and most of then were people that had been personal users of Apple products for many, many years prior to working at an Apple store.

    But, it seems it has gone from employees who are just moderately trained individuals from the general population to devolving into a barely operational system.

    1. Not too many battery replacements on raincoats and scarves. She just doesn’t have a frame of reference.

      There are all sorts of third party, walk-in battery or screen replacement vendors in major cities that can have you on your way in 20 minutes. Apple should be at least that good. Opportunity missed.

  5. You know, if Apple made iPhones with an interchangeable battery that is user accessible, you could walk in get a battery and walk out.

    But Jony doesn’t like seams on his designs, so there are no battery compartments on Laptops, iPads or iPhones.

  6. ‘Most stores are short-staffed, and they book us too much for appointments, so Geniuses are taking two to three appointments at a time. But we have these [battery replacements] come in nonstop.’”
    I was a genius for about 6 years. Taking care of more than one customer at a time was the norm. It wears on the customer and I doubt that it’s good for employee moral.
    Mobile device appointments (10 minutes), computers (15 minutes). Seriously???

  7. If you need a battery replacement and no battery is in stock, you get a slip with your info on it called a SNR. You will be notified when the part is in. You simply bring the slip back with your phone, check in with an employee and your phone goes in for repair. No need to make a new appointment which puts further stress on you and the system.

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