Competitive, secretive world of Apple Store employees profiled



  • Reply 21 of 27
    richlrichl Posts: 2,213member
    Originally Posted by Le Chiffre View Post

    It should be mentioned that the UK store managers are particularly appalling (speaking from experience having worked at the Regent Street store). They don?t care about Apple, just their bonuses (yes because managers actually get a bonus!

    I've only been into the Regents Street store once with a faulty product and the experience was pleasant. A bit of a wait (even though I'd pre-booked) but the staff were lovely.

    I guess it's easy for a bad manager to get away with being a bad manager in such a popular store though.
  • Reply 22 of 27
    zoetmbzoetmb Posts: 2,491member
    On the important stuff, I've always found the staff at Apple stores to be really terrific.

    My daughter's kid pushed her laptop screen way back and broke the hinges. The computer still worked, but they had to support the screen with a brick. Apple said it wasn't worth repairing- it would be too expensive (I think they quoted $1700). Then the video card died. She brought it in and told them to only fix the video card. She got it back and the entire machine was fixed. She freaked out because she thought they were going to charge her credit card for the full amount. They never charged her a penny.

    My son-in-law had a Mac tower and the power supply died. He brought it in under warranty and they fixed it and it died again. He brought it back and they fixed it again, but again it died. On the third visit, they completely replaced the tower, but by that time, only a newer model was available, so he got a free hardware upgrade.

    I had a problem with the DVD drive in my MacBook Pro. I got an appointment around midnight (NYC). The "Expert" recognized that I knew what I was doing and rather putting everything again through extensive testing, like setting up a guest account and then testing again, he asked a few questions, and I demonstrated how the drive wouldn't play several different DVDs. He took the machine for repair, but warned me I might not have it back for a few days. When I woke up the next morning (about 8 hours later), I already had an email that the machine was fixed.

    When I bought my iPhone, the sales person asked whether I wanted the Apple Care, but I said "no" and that was that. There was no hard sell.

    I think, as with any such situation, if you treat people with respect, you get back respect. There are certainly exceptions where loud, obnoxious people get service they don't deserve, but most of the time, being arrogant doesn't pay. All in all, I'd say that my experience in the Apple Store has been very positive especially considering that while Apple may pay slightly above average for today's retail, it's still crap pay, especially for the tech people, who could make far more supporting Macs in a corporate environment. When I read the stories of horrors and bad management at Apple Stores, I'm always very surprised, but maybe the NYC stores, because they're very high traffic, get better management.
  • Reply 23 of 27
    From the references I see on the net, Popular Mechanics seems to have interesting articles on a regular basis. This makes me think maybe I should subscribe...

    Does anyone have a link to the actual article, and is it online. I know I could go the the site and see, which I probably will, I'm just saying that it would be nice to add an article link at the bottom of the original post.

    Anyway, from my experience, most customers are nice to deal with, but not all. I would think that dealing with the "general public" can be a challenge, to say the least!
  • Reply 24 of 27
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

    "They have a really lenient attendance policy," the writer says. "You have to be late like 15 times before they'll fire you."

    Actually, the policy isn't quite as lenient as the author implies. Apple retail employees can be terminated in as little as 3 late instances, depending on the frequency of the incidents.

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

    "But if you talk to the press or speculate to a customer about the next iPad? That's the end of you."

    True that... Customers always think the retail employees are lying when they say they don't know anything about upcoming product releases. But they aren't. Employees see for the first time, and get trained on new products the day they are launched. At best, they've touched the product 3 maybe 4 hours before store opening.

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

    Speculating about what might be in the pipeline is so dangerous that the writer says employees play dumb and sometimes work to remain ignorant.

    Ummm... no. Apple retail employees love Apple products, and are as up-to-date on the latest gossip as any other Apple-loving consumer. Most that I know read multiple gossip sites but are careful to never let on during customer interactions--so the "play dumb" part is right. The standard answer to any speculative question is: "If it's not on, it isn't official, and I'm not able to discuss it."

    However, in comparison, way more employees are termed for time and attendance than for product speculation. In fact, I've never known anyone to be fired for talking about unreleased products, but about 5% of staff (my guess) get caught on the no-tolerence late policy.

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

    "Its amazing how badly behaved some customers are," the writer said. "I have seen customers have complete meltdowns and get phones exchanged that were like two years old. They scream, cry, curse. And it works. People can be horrible. Sometimes it's like working at McDonald's, with better pay. I've never been treated so badly in my life."

    Clearly someone who's never worked in retail prior to his/her Apple Store stint.

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

    One metric is the attachment rate, measuring how many copies of AppleCare and MobileMe an employee sells compared to the amount of hardware transactions they complete.

    I have no idea at which store this person works, but my experience has been that underperforming in the One-to-One ad-on is the metric that usually leads to chats with management. AppleCare is a cakewalk to sell. MobileMe is a little tougher thanks to Google Docs. It's even more difficult now that Apple is giving away the most sellable feature: Find My iStuff (iPhone, iPad, iPod). Now anyone with an iTunes account can register to find their Apple iOS4 device for free. (Not all devices running iOS4 can take advantage of the free Find My iPhone.) One-to-One, on the other hand, has almost zero appeal to repeat buyers, especially if they don't see the value in the data transfer. It's also a tough sell to budget-conscious customers as well. It's simply a harder service to sell, but one that Apple pushes its sales staff on the most.

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

    "I read some of the crapplestore posts and, honestly, that just wasn't my experience at all. I'm guessing that the store managers make a huge difference..."

    Ya think....? THAT can be said of any company, any store.
  • Reply 25 of 27
    Originally Posted by Le Chiffre View Post

    It should be mentioned that the UK store managers are particularly appalling (speaking from experience having worked at the Regent Street store). They don?t care about Apple, just their bonuses (yes because managers actually get a bonus! Other employees do all the hard work and sell the required percentages of attachments, they don?t care about hardware sales, which most people don?t need. They threaten your position within the company if you fail to meet targets and if you?re a new employee your three month probation is extended to keep you on your toes and even then they will probably let you go). Obviously Apple only hire the best leaders from the UK?s failed or failing businesses such as HMV, Dixons, Zavvi, Borders?.

    The managers and their little sisters are more than happy to strap on their crampons and thrust a piton into a coworkers back to get to the top. The latest one, I hear, has a lust for little cubby boys and is personally seeing to his development within the company while more experienced employees are overlooked. This is just typical behaviour in regard to getting promoted, you either have to sleep with someone above or be someones personal little sycophant.

    I?m glad to be free of that place because I have never felt more under-appreciated or used and tossed aside in my life.

    As another person who worked a the Regent Street store during the summer of '10 I can say that I do agree with you on many of your points. They do treat you, despite what it says in their little handbook, as a resource to be sucked dry and discarded. The turnover in that place was HORRIBLE. Virtually NO training on computer related products. And you got the distinct impression from both management and HR that you were more of a nuisance than an asset. Oh sure, they talked a good game but actions speak louder than words.

    As for attachments, this is the god's honest truth. I remember one particularly HORRIBLE training to teach us how to sell applecare. One of the EU bigshots for applecare came in and trained us on how to sell it whereupon he proceeded to tell us that the more applecare we sold (we get no commission mind you) the better his bonus would be. When someone made a joke about selling 100% applecare he said something like he wished we would do that because he could then retire early. . . he then thought about it and said well perhaps not but he could buy any expensive sports car he wanted. So we were supposed to bust our asses so that he could get a sports car? I think not. On top of it it was a profanity laced presentation which would not have been so bad but for the fact that on the other end of the second floor there were one-to-one trainings going on at the same time.

    Another example of the "need for attachments" was a presentation by a lead who is now an Expert. During this presentation on how to sell one-to-one we were basically told that we could lie. Mind you this was with one of the Managers standing right there (hello GILLI!). What this expert said was that he routinely lied and told people how he had been transformed by the use of one-to-one even though he did not (at the time of the presentation) and never had owned a mac in his life. He also gave us other tips on how to sell the product that involved similar techniques of telling them about how we personally knew folks who this had transformed their lives or that it had transformed our lives even though the vast majority of us did not own a one-to-one membership (we would have to purchase it if we wanted one). Again, that little handbook instructs you to be truthful with your customers at all times.

    Their management is THE WORST!!!!!!
  • Reply 26 of 27
    Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post

    This sounds like nothing new to people who've worked in retail. Ups and down. Hell, that's many industries. I am just amazed at how adult people act like spoiled little brats to get an old iThingie replaced that's well out of warranty. I think I'd be the Ron Artest of retail if I actually worked in that industry. Instead, I work in IT.

    A friend of mine is the business manager at a car dealership. They had a customer who made a huge scene when picking a new car up because the fuel tank was only half full. My friend, the manager, came out and told the man that in his experience if a customer is that much trouble on the day he picks up his new car, he will be nothing but trouble down the road. He told the man he couldn't have the car, and had the staff give him his money back. So the man had to leave the dealership and go explain to his wife why they couldn't have the car.

    The man came back a week later pleading with them to sell him the car. He was never a problem with them again.

    When bullies are put in their place they stop. People raise a big stink and get away with it because that behavior is all too often reinforced.
  • Reply 27 of 27
    I guess I'm harder on store employees than I thought. No, not crying or screaming. But I've never purchased AppleCare, and I never will. To begin with, I was taught long ago to never insure something you can afford to lose. Secondly, the few glitches I've had with Apple products have almost always been inside the normal warranty period.

    If their quality ever drops to the point where AppleCare looks like a "good deal", I will start looking elsewhere for product -- not pay more to be ready for the defects.

    The plan is fine if losing your desktop or laptop would break the bank. But insuring everything you ever buy is a losing proposition in the long run.
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