It’s no accident that Apple’s retail empire has grown into a $12 billion+ business.
It’s run as a strict operation, with specific guidelines on how employees can and can not talk to customers, according to The Wall Street Journal, which took a look inside Apple’s retail stores.
We read through the report and dug out the best details here:
- Employees are not supposed to sell products, just help customers. A quote from the training manual: “Your job is to understand all of your customers’ needs—some of which they may not even realise they have.”
- Apple uses the acronym APPLE to explain its basic philosophy: “Approach customers with a personalised warm welcome,” “Probe politely to understand all the customer’s needs,” “Present a solution for the customer to take home today,” “Listen for and resolve any issues or concerns,” and “End with a fond farewell and an invitation to return.”
- Here’s how Apple employees are told to talk to customers: “Listen and limit your responses to simple reassurances that you are doing so. ‘Uh-huh’ ‘I understand,’ etc.”
- Any employee who is 10 minutes late three times in six months is toast. But, if you want to call out an hour before your shift, you can do that 15 times every six months, according to our own source on the matter. This is a rolling policy, too, says our source. So, you can be late 6 times in last 6 months of the year if you were on time every day for the first 6 months.
- Apple employees don’t have sales quotas, but they are strongly encouraged to sell Apple Care and one-to-one support.
- New employees get a weeks worth of training. It’s 5 days, 40-hours a week, learning about Apple gear. Some employees, like Genius bar staff, get longer training sessions. Most employees are true believers in Apple products already, so it’s not too hard to train them.
- Employees can’t correct mispronunciations of Apple products. It would be condescending and rude to the customer, so let them call iPod Touches “iTouches” all day long.
- A Genius Bar employee gets $30 per hour, the sales staff gets $9-$15 per hour. It’s rare that anyone starts on the sales floor and ends up in a higher corporate position within Apple.
- Apple’s departing SVP of retail Ron Johnson called the “Joint Venture” program, which is aimed at enterprise customers, one of the “pillars” for the next decade of Apple retail in a meeting recently.
- Steve Jobs is still very involved with the stores. When he was having a liver transplant, someone that visited him said he was looking at blueprints for future Apple stores.
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