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Genius training manual details banned words for Apple employees

post #1 of 69
Thread Starter 
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.

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.

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."

Also included in the employee manual is a list of things Geniuses are not allowed to say. Geniuses can say that an application "unexpectedly quits" or "does not respond," but are not allowed to say that the software "crashed." Similarly, there can be a "condition," an "issue" or a "situation," but not a "bug" or a "problem."

The purpose of the strategy is not only to make the customer feel good, but also has legal justification. The manual states that AppleCare legal counsel has defined certain terms that "should be avoided when discussing product issues with customers."

Genius


The handbook also gives Genius employees a basic understanding of human body language. Users who are frustrated may have tightly clenched fists or may kick at the ground, while a more accepting customer may move in closer to speak.

Publication of the manual comes as a new survey has found that Apple's highly regarded customer support and technical assistance personnel helps to drive sales of the company's products. A poll conducted by the NPD Group found that nearly 60 percent of Apple customers said they are more likely to purchase another product from the company following their experience with the company's technical support.
post #2 of 69

Who would want to visit the rump of the industry that is Gizmodo? And why am I not surprised that they're the ones leaking this (and highlighting things they feel emotional about)?

 

I'm against a few of the things that Apple offers as 'alternatives' in these scenarios. They just feel… off, really.

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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post #3 of 69

I love how "freeze" is a banned word. Trying to avoid sounding like I guess, Windows Gurus lol.gif

 

 


Tim Cook using Galaxy Tabs as frisbees

 

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Tim Cook using Galaxy Tabs as frisbees

 

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post #4 of 69

Gizmodos Training Manual

 

Do Not Use         Avoid             Use

Stole                  Bought           Found

                                               Acquired

post #5 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by stompy View Post

Gizmodos Training Manual

Do Not Use         Avoid             Use
Stole                  Bought           Found
                                               Acquired


Brilliant! ROFL
From Apple ][ - to new Mac Pro I've used them all.
Long on AAPL so biased
Google Motto "You're not the customer. You're the product."
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From Apple ][ - to new Mac Pro I've used them all.
Long on AAPL so biased
Google Motto "You're not the customer. You're the product."
Reply
post #6 of 69

It's hard explaining technical issues to people, you need to be able to use whatever words they know. And this is not a list of jargon to avoid, it's precisely because people do know the words, and they have a negative connotation, that they are being told not to use them. Which party was Apple in that "1984" commercial again?

post #7 of 69
How to tell when you're dating an Apple genius. He or she starts conversations with: "Maybe we can stop-responding-out some time."
post #8 of 69

Well, it's obviously working based on the high customer-satisfaction rating by consumers.  Is there a problem with it?

I'd read the article by Gizmodo, but I used the article to wipe my dog's a$$. 

post #9 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by logandigges View Post

I love how "freeze" is a banned word. Trying to avoid sounding like I guess, Windows Gurus lol.gif

It's not a banned word. It is suggested that they should AVOID 'freeze". The 'banned' words are crash, hang, and bomb.

Gee, you can't even read the silly Gizmodo attacks on Apple properly.
"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
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"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
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post #10 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

It's not a banned word. It is suggested that they should AVOID 'freeze". The 'banned' words are crash, hang, and bomb.
Gee, you can't even read the silly Gizmodo attacks on Apple properly.

I'll tell you what I told Tallest Skil, don't feed the FNTs. Let them wallow in their own stupidity. They'll soon learn to make a concise argument and provide links when needed.
"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
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"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
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post #11 of 69

what about "spinning beach ball of death?"  Is that in the playbook?

 

Side note:  The logic board on my MBA (2011) failed last week.  Took it to Apple and - despite the fact that my MBA is no longer under warranty and I don't have AppleCare - they fixed it for free.  I was stunned.

 

 

 
post #12 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by Santoanderson View Post

How to tell when you're dating an Apple genius. He or she starts conversations with: "Maybe we can stop-responding-out some time."

Except that maybe is an avoid word in the dating manual.
"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
Reply
"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
Reply
post #13 of 69

Do Not Use.  Umm Try to avoid oh no Use instead shit!

An Apple man since 1977
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An Apple man since 1977
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post #14 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by sflocal View Post

Well, it's obviously working based on the high customer-satisfaction rating by consumers.  Is there a problem with it?

I'd read the article by Gizmodo, but I used the article to wipe my dog's a$$. 

 

Poor puppy, Im sure PETA would hate to hear about those annoying paper cuts from this kind of Gizmodo drivel
 
post #15 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by Caanan @ No Vacation Required View Post

what about "spinning beach ball of death?"  Is that in the playbook?

Side note:  The logic board on my MBA (2011) failed last week.  Took it to Apple and - despite the fact that my MBA is no longer under warranty and I don't have AppleCare - they fixed it for free.  I was stunned.


 

That was my experience. If you're polite and reasonable and if their search of your history shows that you don't abuse the system, they often go WAY beyond what is required.

My iPhone 4 fell in the pool last year. After drying it out, it worked for a while and then started dropping calls and having other problems. I went to the local Apple Store, fully intending to pay the $200 replacement fee for a refurb and they simply swapped it out at no charge. And that was one of the few times that I didn't get AppleCare for a mobile device.
"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
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"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
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post #16 of 69

Just for a moment there, I thought I was reading "Scoopertino"...

post #17 of 69
Quote:
Side note:  The logic board on my MBA (2011) failed last week.  Took it to Apple and - despite the fact that my MBA is no longer under warranty and I don't have AppleCare - they fixed it for free.  I was stunned.

 

Thought I'd try my hand at the whole Troll nonsense...

 

 

You're obviously lying.  You must be an Apple plant.  Posting positive images of a company that nobody cares for.   Apple is doomed, I tell you. 

post #18 of 69
How is this news?

I'm sure every customer service center has training that emphasizes what to say, how to say it, and what not to say, etc.

APPLE IS THE ONLY ONE WHO DOES THIS OMG
post #19 of 69
Not are what the big deal is with this manual, gizmodo is making it out type of smoking gun.. Of some sort. I completely age with the advice in the handbook, and if I was Apple I would do the same thing. What the hell does 'crash' and 'freeze' mean anyway? Non-responsive is more technically correct.
post #20 of 69

I taught myself a lot of this kind of stuff on my own when I worked at a computer store in college.  If your customer is upset with their computer, or worse, with you, you're simply not going to be able to help them effectively.  People skills used to calm them down and diffuse the situation are key before you begin actual trouble-shooting, or your questions will only serve to frustrate them further.  They don't want to be "sold", talked down to, blamed for their device's problems, or any of the other negative things people tend to experience when shopping for technology.  And that's even without any thoughts to brand image, etc, which of course is also part of the job of any Apple employee.

 

My methodology almost exactly mirrored the Genius guide... make sure they know that you understand their frustration and that you're there to help them relieve it.  Then start trouble shooting, treating them as a partner in solving the problem.  If there really is a problem with the device, do what you can, within reason, to resolve it.  If the problem lies with the user, educate them without making them feel stupid or that they're the only ones who have ever had this problem, because they almost certainly are not.  Explain the situation without using jargon (analogies are often helpful here) and show them how to avoid the problem in the future.

 

Also, think outside the box.  Back up a step or two and make sure that they're really using the right tool for the job.  Are they trying to use tables in Word to layout large tables because that's what they know?  Suggest they give Excel a try and then import it into Word, if they even have to use Word at all.  That sort of thing.  Sometimes solving their problem isn't just showing them what they think they want to do, but actually making them aware of a better way to do it in the first place.  But never force the issue.  You've shown them a better way, but if they REALLY want to use Word, it's their computer, their software, and their time.  Always respect that.

 

But I digress...  I don't see this document as manipulative on the part of Apple.  I think it's a guide to assist people in the best, most effective way possible while at the same time making sure Apple is cast in a good light.  Nothing wrong with that, imo.

post #21 of 69

Not to be outdone, Sammy released it's own training manual. Sadly it's a copy of the actual Apple manual with "Samsung" written over the Apple logo with a sharpie.

post #22 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by Santoanderson View Post

How to tell when you're dating an Apple genius. He or she starts conversations with: "Maybe we can stop-responding-out some time."

 

5 Popular lines to us when breaking up or picking a fight to break up with that same Apple Genius :

  1. "yeah, I'm not all all looking for a relationship right now. I am really trying to build up my social network of friends right now and I'm sooo glad I met you!
  2. "I just don't feel that there is enough room in your life for me, Siri and Apple blog trolling"
  3. "I don't think it's ok to recite lines from Steve Jobs (the book) during our intimate times"
  4. "It's not you, it's me. But mostly you!"
  5. "I secretly think Apple should make their iOS Free. What do you think?"

 

 
post #23 of 69

Another amazing scoop from Gizmodo - zzzzzzzzzzz

post #24 of 69
All this will be irrelevant once Cook and Browett get rid of all that pesky "customer satisfaction." No need to be helpful once the mark has handed over the cash.
My Android phone is the worst phone I've ever owned.
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My Android phone is the worst phone I've ever owned.
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post #25 of 69

Somewhere Samsung is updating their training manual with new unique details.

post #26 of 69

Banning the use of commonly used and understood terms, such as crash and bug is beyond moronic. Imagine if a doctor did that - sorry you have lung canc... oh I mean, your lungs have stopped responding.

 

Plain language is incredibly important, and to deliberately avoid using it is disingenuous to say the least.

post #27 of 69
Originally Posted by knightlie View Post
All this will be irrelevant once Cook and Browett get rid of all that pesky "customer satisfaction." No need to be helpful once the mark has handed over the cash.

 

Oi. Don't drag Cook into that unless we've proof of it. It's all on Browett, last I checked.

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
Reply

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
Reply
post #28 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by kotatsu View Post

Banning the use of commonly used and understood terms, such as crash and bug is beyond moronic. Imagine if a doctor did that - sorry you have lung canc... oh I mean, your lungs have stopped responding.

 

Plain language is incredibly important, and to deliberately avoid using it is disingenuous to say the least.

 

Banning the use of IMPRECISE language is the idea.  What does "Crash" mean?  Kernel panic?  Did an application unexpectedly quit?  Or just stop responding?  The whole computer or just one application?  I could go on.  Avoiding common, highly-vague terms helps focus in on the problem faster - and that's good for the customer and the genius.

post #29 of 69

is this so wrong of me?

 

having read this article, now all I want to do is go to my nerest Apple Store and see how many 'forbidden' words I can get the staff to utter.....I'll be back with the results lol.gif

post #30 of 69

Standard Operating Procedure in upscale restaurants. If a waiter says "crispy" he means "fried." If he says "briny" he means "salty." If he says "it's interesting" he means "I wouldn't order it but my boss says to sell it."

post #31 of 69

As much as I laugh at the typical Gizmodo hawking of confidential Apple secrets, this is a pretty cool read.

 

So... to become awesome at customer service, you understand people and psychology, and you employ means of making interactions positive and memorable.

 

"Crash" does not make people feel good about the experience, so ban it. Wipe it out and replace it with stuff that actually helps.

 

Maybe I'm the only one, but I don't think of these kinds of things as spin. It's more like "people are going to love our company, and we're going to do it by going down into our language and frame how the customer sees us in a different and better light." Read up: THIS is how you get people to care about your technology company.

post #32 of 69
Originally Posted by Robbox View Post
is this so wrong of me?

 

having read this article, now all I want to do is go to my nerest Apple Store and see how many 'forbidden' words I can get the staff to utter.....I'll be back with the results lol.gif

 

I was thinking about running down the list of "expressed emotions"… 'kicking at nothing', 'blank stare', and so forth. lol.gif

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
Reply

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
Reply
post #33 of 69

Doesn't sound like they consulted George Carlin on this one.

 

Crash, Freeze, Hang, C***, C********, M*********** and T***...

post #34 of 69

I took an iphone 4 in and was willing to pay the 150gbp to get the replacement but they couldn't charge my card so told me its my lucky day and gave me the phone for free, I will always buy apple now.. 

Ok i admit it i'm a Fanboy, and my opinions are alway's biast towards my love for apple
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Ok i admit it i'm a Fanboy, and my opinions are alway's biast towards my love for apple
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post #35 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maltz View Post

 

Banning the use of IMPRECISE language is the idea.  What does "Crash" mean?  Kernel panic?  Did an application unexpectedly quit?  Or just stop responding?  The whole computer or just one application?  I could go on.  Avoiding common, highly-vague terms helps focus in on the problem faster - and that's good for the customer and the genius.

 

     Yeah, like the alternatives they offer for "crash" are so much more precise!!  

 

     BTW, I did Apple support through a 3rd party for about 30 months and I always had to watch what words I chose. Sometimes it just gets to be silly.

post #36 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by Caanan @ No Vacation Required View Post

what about "spinning beach ball of death?"  Is that in the playbook?

 

Side note:  The logic board on my MBA (2011) failed last week.  Took it to Apple and - despite the fact that my MBA is no longer under warranty and I don't have AppleCare - they fixed it for free.  I was stunned.

 

 

 

 

In years past, that had always been my experience with Apple, but I thought that as they became a much bigger company, they were actually avoiding that kind of service and simply "playing by the book".

 

I may have told these stories before, but some years ago, my daughter had her laptop and a baby on her lap and the baby pulled the screen back and broke the hinges.   The screen still worked, but had to be supported.   Apple said it wasn't worth fixing - would cost well over $1000.    Then the video card died.   She brought it in to have the video card replaced and was expecting to pay for that, but not to have the hinges fixed.   Apple fixed the entire thing for free.   

 

My son-in-law bought a G4 tower in which the power supply died on several occassions.   Apple replaced the power supply each time, but on the last visit, he told them that he would expect a new machine if it failed again.   It did fail again but by this time the G4 tower was no longer available.   Apple gave him a G5.

 

When I got my first iPhone, I was having problems with it.   Apple ran a diagnostic and claimed nothing was wrong with it (although I could have swore I saw the diagnostic did come up with something wrong).   In any case, they replaced the phone anyway.

 

Under warranty, I was having problems with the DVD player in the laptop.  It would play CDs, but would frequently fail on DVDs.   I brought it in and the "genius" quickly realized that I knew what I was doing so he didn't spend a lot of time re-diagnosing the issue.   He took the machine in for a replacement drive but warned me it might take 2-3 days.  I begged him to do it faster (I dropped it off about midnight).    When I woke up later that morning, I already had a phone-mail message that the machine was ready for pickup.

 

So all of those events made me love Apple very much.   They came through every time.

 

But right now, after loading Mountain Lion, I'm experiencing both the battery life issues and the freeze issues.  And while I did receive a call from Apple on the battery life issue, it doesn't look like Apple is doing much about either issue, since the .1 release didn't  help.  I'm hoping the .2 release fixes these issues.    If it does, I'm willing to forgive.    If it doesn't, Apple will have killed my faith and I've been a customer and/or developer since the Apple ][ days. 

 

That's what scares me about these language mandates.    It's fine to be positive with customers and to use consistent language, but language shouldn't be used to avoid real issues.

post #37 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Who would want to visit the rump of the industry that is Gizmodo? And why am I not surprised that they're the ones leaking this (and highlighting things they feel emotional about)?

 

I'm against a few of the things that Apple offers as 'alternatives' in these scenarios. They just feel… off, really.

 

Thirty-seven years ago I was in the retail business selling big ticket products  (church organs both pipe/electronic) and my employer sent me to a Dale Carnegie course called "Selling Your Price in Today's Market." Nothing has changed. As a salesman you need to inform/convince people to pay the price you are asking, especially if your products and prices are premium. Explaining how paying more up front will save money in the long run and provide a better ownership experience is key. People willingly pay more for what they perceive as a superior value. I see nothing wrong with that approach. Soothing ruffled feathers is no vice either. The majority of us cannot do without our automobiles even for a short time and we get really cranky really quick if our mechanic can't fix it that day. Same goes for computers.

post #38 of 69

Geniuses need a training manual?

The state is nothing more than a criminal gang writ large.

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The state is nothing more than a criminal gang writ large.

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post #39 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Oi. Don't drag Cook into that unless we've proof of it. It's all on Browett, last I checked.

 

I'll not bet on that... 

post #40 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Oi. Don't drag Cook into that unless we've proof of it. It's all on Browett, last I checked.

 

I'm concerned that's not true. I hope you're right, but I'm now not convinced.

The state is nothing more than a criminal gang writ large.

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The state is nothing more than a criminal gang writ large.

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