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Apple CEO Tim Cook allegedly defends new SVP of Retail amid criticisms - Page 2

post #41 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by markcu View Post

Tim Cook obviously has never visited on of the Dixons/Currys Stores.....shame..

Guys like Tim don't go to retail stores. They have their help do that for them.
post #42 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alonso Perez View Post

My experience has been that British managers are surprisingly tricky to work with. The cultural gap is much greater than anyone at first appreciates.
I was below them and not above them as Cook is, but senior US managers in my organization had similar issues.
Unless either Cook has real experience working with British executives, or Browett knows how to communicate with Americans, this could be a more difficult match than it first appears. The reason it's tricky is that British and Americans executives with little prior experience may think they understand each other, but they really don't. The fact that Browett appears to have little if any US retail experience is another concern. Americans and British do not shop the same way.

Spot on. Not for nothing did Churchill (IIRC) say the US and UK were "two nations separated by a common language." It's recorded that during WW II, Eisenhower and his crew nearly had a fight with the Brits because of the way "table" is used as a verb. You see, in British English, "table" means to bring an item on an agenda forward for action; in American English, it has the opposite meaning.

Also, Britons think differently than continental Europeans, in my experience. Sales is a dirty job at times, and technical people 'n geeks tend to forget that.

Quote:
Having said all that, the guy is probably very smart and if he is flexible and willing to learn, may be able to adjust quickly and prove his worth. Like anybody in a new job, he should be given some time, at least a year, before anyone comes to conclusions. But from outside, the choice does look a little odd to me.

Again, spot on. The guy didn't get into the biz school he got into by being stupid.

After browsing some of the online Dixon's presos out there, I can understand why Tim Cook hired the guy. He talks a good game, and has the numbers thing down. That would appeal to Tim.

For me, the question remains: Will he grok Apple? I'm not sure. He could well turn into one of those transplanted Brits who grow crazy wild in the SoCal sunshine. Or he could flame out spectacularly. But I fully agree he needs a year in the gig before anyone comes to conclusions.
post #43 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by markcu View Post

The current state of the Dixons/currys retail chain should have said more than enough about this guys ability to manage a large retail operation....let alone an international retail operation.

The service provided at these outlets can best be described as consistently appalling. There is an extremely limited product knowledge available on the sales floor, and more often than not questions about products are not answered or simply plain wrong.

It is extremely worrying that one of the reasons this guy has been selected is because of his 'service focus' I would suggest that an exec fromJohn Lewis or Marks and Spencers would be more in line with the apple brand..

I can only imagine that apple were really scraping the barrel if he is the best they found....and i'm basing this opinion on the spectacularly poor performance his current brands demonstrate in the areas of service...

Tim Cook obviously has never visited on of the Dixons/Currys Stores.....shame..

didnt the last retail guy come from target, the wal mart wannabe with red instead of blue?

tim cook came from compaq, one of the worst computer makers out there

everyone else at apple came from somewhere else
post #44 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kibitzer View Post

The comments so far take no account of this guy's international educational background. Dummies don't get into or graduate from Cambridge and Wharton. Also, let's hear what some of his business colleagues have to say about him. There should be some business writers chasing down this aspect of the story now.

Nobody is saying he is dumb, and in any case it's not that hard to get into Cambridge if you started out in the right social class.

The point is, does he get it? The corporate world is littered with retail executives who went to good schools, yet most retail experiences stink.

Do recall that Jobs never graduated from anywhere. By the time an executive hits this level, his academic background is of no relevance. What counts is what he is done, and especially what he is done in a field related to what he was hired for.
post #45 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alonso Perez View Post


The point is, does he get it? The corporate world is littered with retail executives who went to good schools, yet most retail experiences stink.

If his legacy of PCworld/Dixons/Currys is anything to go by, then no...he doesn't.

I have never met him, so I have no idea if he is smart or not.

Apple store (in my view) put service as their number 1 priority. This helps differentiate the brand.

PCworld/Dixons/Curry do not. They are often publicly slated on British TV as valuing customer service as their lowest priority... I fail to see how this can be an attractive quality for a man about to take such a position at apple. I also am at a loss as to how Tim Cook can't know this..
post #46 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Damon View Post

After browsing some of the online Dixon's presos out there, I can understand why Tim Cook hired the guy. He talks a good game, and has the numbers thing down. That would appeal to Tim.

And from Macrummors: "Browett has, however, been considered by some to be a rising star in retail after serving time leading operations at supermarket chain Tesco and then taking the reins at Dixons in 2007."

So it looks like Browett is another spreadsheet guru. If he and Cook bonded over anything, it was operations, not customer experience. International expansion is challenging from an ops point of view, so maybe Cook is thinking about that.

Not sure what this means for the store experience. We'll see.
post #47 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alonso Perez View Post

And from Macrummors: "Browett has, however, been considered by some to be a rising star in retail after serving time leading operations at supermarket chain Tesco and then taking the reins at Dixons in 2007."

So it looks like Browett is another spreadsheet guru. If he and Cook bonded over anything, it was operations, not customer experience. International expansion is challenging from an ops point of view, so maybe Cook is thinking about that.

Not sure what this means for the store experience. We'll see.

Thats a good point..if Tim wants someone to look after store operations then he may be a good choice....let's hope he's not allowed anywhere near customer service/experience training.....
post #48 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by markcu View Post

The current state of the Dixons/currys retail chain should have said more than enough about this guys ability to manage a large retail operation....let alone an international retail operation.

The service provided at these outlets can best be described as consistently appalling. There is an extremely limited product knowledge available on the sales floor, and more often than not questions about products are not answered or simply plain wrong.

It is extremely worrying that one of the reasons this guy has been selected is because of his 'service focus' I would suggest that an exec fromJohn Lewis or Marks and Spencers would be more in line with the apple brand..

I can only imagine that apple were really scraping the barrel if he is the best they found....and i'm basing this opinion on the spectacularly poor performance his current brands demonstrate in the areas of service...

Tim Cook obviously has never visited on of the Dixons/Currys Stores.....shame..

Electronic retailers (other than Apple) have razor thin margins, so it's no suprise that customer service is lacking. They can't afford it. Apple can. Retail competition is severe when numerous stores are selling the exact same products, hence compete they compete on price. This is especially true for stores carrying price-sensitive products or value brands. That attracts customers that chiefly want lowest price and not interested in value added services. Stores that sell premium products tend to attract customers who will pay more to get more, because they value the added services & support.

I don't think Apple wanted to hire someone coming from a similar retail strategy. That might result in changing Apple's current strategy since he might believe some things should be done differently. Apple's retail strategy is already in place. It doesn't need any changes. It just needs to be maintained and replicated. Don't need anyone bold. Rather, someone who can execute. Somebody that will listen to his staff instead of controling everything his way. A flashy, renown executive might feel like he has to continue to be bold to uphold his notoriety. Hence, not live in the shadow of Ron Johnson by making his own mark.
post #49 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by NapyBlue View Post

Would Steve Jobs have defended his decision? NO!

I had no concerns about the appointment of Browett until Cook found it necessary to defend the decision. Now I not only have concerns about Browett but more importantly whether Cook is qualified to be the CEO of Apple. When Jobs died he should have willed his cojones to Cook.

Jobs responded regularly to both the media and individuals who e-mailed him with comments or complaints.

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post #50 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by paxman View Post

The (legitimate) concern here is: can a British ex CEO of Dixons GET Apple? For anyone who has stepped into a Dixons store the obvious answer is Hell No. Dixons and Currys are like low end Best Buys. And customer service? Probably on par with BB or aittle below. You know, expert advice consists of the 'expert' reading the box and then delivering the killer - "if it doesn't work you can just bring it back"

Consider that Apple may just want this guy to expand Apple Stores into the UK and European market because he lives there. It does not suggest that he's expected to implement his own views on store organization or customer service. I'm very confident that the process of establishing Apple Stores is well documented with extensive guidelines developed by Ron Johnson.

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post #51 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Turley Muller View Post

Electronic retailers (other than Apple) have razor thin margins, so it's no suprise that customer service is lacking. They can't afford it. Apple can. Retail competition is severe when numerous stores are selling the exact same products, hence compete they compete on price. This is especially true for stores carrying price-sensitive products or value brands. That attracts customers that chiefly want lowest price and not interested in value added services. Stores that sell premium products tend to attract customers who will pay more to get more, because they value the added services & support.

I don't think Apple wanted to hire someone coming from a similar retail strategy. That might result in changing Apple's current strategy since he might believe some things should be done differently. Apple's retail strategy is already in place. It doesn't need any changes. It just needs to be maintained and replicated. Don't need anyone bold. Rather, someone who can execute. Somebody that will listen to his staff instead of controling everything his way. A flashy, renown executive might feel like he has to continue to be bold to uphold his notoriety. Hence, not live in the shadow of Ron Johnson by making his own mark.

More excellent points.

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post #52 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Consider that Apple may just want this guy to expand Apple Stores into the UK and European market because he lives there. It does not suggest that he's expected to implement his own views on store organization or customer service. I'm very confident that the process of establishing Apple Stores is well documented with extensive guidelines developed by Ron Johnson.

Yes, but at his level you'd hope to get someone who has a track record of SOMETHING good, and innovation, not just of implementing someone else's vision. How will he be able to successfully expand the Apple stores anywhere when his standards clearly are hopelessly low. Hopefully Apple will give him the canvas and support he always wanted. Hopefully he'll look back at Dixons with embarrassment.
post #53 of 55
If you could indulge me one cross-post, here's something I encountered today at an Apple Store and the feedback I gave. How do the roaming purchase processors handle counter queues for people that just want to get something and go?

***

My experience was alright. But however, for the second time in the past few months, there was a disgruntled customer who was waiting quite a while for just one person at the register.

For Perth Apple Store, I think this needs to be rectified ASAP. In Australia at least, people expect quick and efficient service at the counter when they want to pay for something. Australians prefer to take their time where possible, but also when they need to they expect efficient payment at the counter if they just need to get something and go. Particularly in the CBD where there are pressing work matters.

The "roaming" handheld purchase systems are okay, but they don't seem to be able to cover people waiting at the payment counter. Yet again since my last visit, there was only one or two people at the payment counter busy processing a customer's payment. A gentleman just left an Airport Extreme at the counter and walked off after a few minutes, and someone else waiting had to wait while I got served because a roaming payment processor/ specialist asked me what I wanted.

I hope this clarifies the situation. Please address this issue as I do want to see Apple become more successful in Australia, particularly Western Australia which has the largest opportunitiy for growth in Australia, at least in 2012.
post #54 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by nvidia2008 View Post

If you could indulge me one cross-post, here's something I encountered today at an Apple Store and the feedback I gave. How do the roaming purchase processors handle counter queues for people that just want to get something and go?

***

My experience was alright. But however, for the second time in the past few months, there was a disgruntled customer who was waiting quite a while for just one person at the register.

For Perth Apple Store, I think this needs to be rectified ASAP. In Australia at least, people expect quick and efficient service at the counter when they want to pay for something. Australians prefer to take their time where possible, but also when they need to they expect efficient payment at the counter if they just need to get something and go. Particularly in the CBD where there are pressing work matters.

The "roaming" handheld purchase systems are okay, but they don't seem to be able to cover people waiting at the payment counter. Yet again since my last visit, there was only one or two people at the payment counter busy processing a customer's payment. A gentleman just left an Airport Extreme at the counter and walked off after a few minutes, and someone else waiting had to wait while I got served because a roaming payment processor/ specialist asked me what I wanted.

I hope this clarifies the situation. Please address this issue as I do want to see Apple become more successful in Australia, particularly Western Australia which has the largest opportunitiy for growth in Australia, at least in 2012.

Our apple stores don't have payment counters. The roamers are it. The apple store is not my kind of store (well, aside from the products they sell I mean )
post #55 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by l008com View Post

Our apple stores don't have payment counters. The roamers are it. The apple store is not my kind of store (well, aside from the products they sell I mean )

OK thanks... I wonder how the roamers are able to cover everyone in time. That's quite a trick.

To post back on my experience, the Apple Store I mentioned above called me back in the evening on the same day when I bought the AppleCare for iPad and filled out the online survey form.

What's going on is this:

In Australia, for a few decades now, a little while before the West gorged itself on credit cards, there started a proprietary Australia-wide system called EFTPOS. It's basically a debit-card + ATM card system that all merchant terminals handle. So payment options are always the three in Australia - cash, "credit"(or debit) ie. Visa/MasterCard/etc and EFTPOS.

The Apple Store called me back and the guy (Shane) said that the counters are actually for EFTPOS. This is because the roaming-thingies only take cash and credit card transactions, presumably since they are Apple HQ USA-based. At this stage, the counters are supposedly only for EFTPOS.

This explains it, but it's a bit of a glitch in the Apple Store Australia-wide system.

The people lining up at the counters may not know if you pay by cash or credit anyone can take your order. As per all other non-Apple stores around the world, you line up at the counter if you want to pay and just go.

In the five minutes I was waiting, and with the guy in front of me waiting, and the last time I was waiting at the counter, at no stage did someone actually tell me or the guy in front of me or the guy behind me that you can be processed by anyone if you are paying by cash or credit.

Shane was fairly good, he acknowledged that this should be communicated better and seemed stressed but overall very professional.

I don't recall a sign at the counter, which one would assume a big sign would be helpful eg. "EFTPOS ONLY - For Cash Or Credit, just locate any friendly Apple Retail Staff". Of course, being Apple, even the Store Manager can't just type it up in Word, print it out on A4 and stick it somewhere.

So the counter is a bit of a liability, because it automatically "attracts" anyone to it, also due to its very central location within the Perth Apple Store (and presumably other Apple Stores ~ other aussies please comment) and looking and acting as a cashier counter. A regular joe or jane would just pick up a box and walk to the counter. Macs, iPhones, iPads would be handled separately by a Specialist first, mainly off-the-shelf stuff is the issue.

Now the other thing that's interesting is the statistics:

http://www.apca.com.au/Public/apca01...ats_CardVolume
http://www.creditcardfinder.com.au/p...tatistics.html

In the past several years, it appears EFTPOS transactions still outweigh credit card transactions by about 3:2**. However, in value in 2009 EFTPOS transaction amounts were 11.3 billion dollars per month and Credit spending was 17.8 billion dollars per month.

Shane mentioned that most customers to the Apple Store (as one would assume) would use credit cards. He felt that Apple is working on a roaming terminal thingy that does EFTPOS as well.

But again, at the end of the day, I think the first strategy is deflection ~ ie. the counter is way too obvious, customers don't know it's only needed for EFTPOS, and in most cases if you tell them to use a credit card they would whip it out fairly quickly. Because EFTPOS is essentially a direct-debit system for the Apple Store you'd imagine you would use a credit card, though perhaps there has been a backlash against credit... If you pay bills using credit cards for example you can get hit by a $2 or $3 "fee".

OK, end of summary.


**This could be because in convenience stores and petrol stations you can get "cash out" during an EFTPOS transaction, saving ATM trips and fees
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