Genius training manual details banned words for Apple employees

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 70
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member


    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.

  • Reply 2 of 70


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

  • Reply 3 of 70
    stompystompy Posts: 322member


    Gizmodos Training Manual


     


    Do Not Use         Avoid             Use


    Stole                  Bought           Found


                                                   Acquired

  • Reply 4 of 70
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,901member
    stompy wrote: »
    Gizmodos Training Manual

    Do Not Use         Avoid             Use
    Stole                  Bought           Found
                                                   Acquired


    Brilliant! ROFL
  • Reply 5 of 70
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member


    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?

  • Reply 6 of 70
    How to tell when you're dating an Apple genius. He or she starts conversations with: "Maybe we can stop-responding-out some time."
  • Reply 7 of 70
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,401member


    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$$. 

  • Reply 8 of 70
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    I love how "freeze" is a banned word. Trying to avoid sounding like I guess, Windows Gurus :lol:

    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.
  • Reply 9 of 70
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,972member
    jragosta wrote: »
    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.
  • Reply 10 of 70



    #next_pages_container { width: 5px; hight: 5px; position: absolute; top: -100px; left: -100px; z-index: 2147483647 !important; }
    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.


     


     


     
  • Reply 11 of 70
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,972member
    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.
  • Reply 12 of 70
    tylerk36tylerk36 Posts: 1,037member


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

  • Reply 13 of 70
    boga3boga3 Posts: 2member

    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$$. 



     

    #next_pages_container { width: 5px; hight: 5px; position: absolute; top: -100px; left: -100px; z-index: 2147483647 !important; }

    Poor puppy, Im sure PETA would hate to hear about those annoying paper cuts from this kind of Gizmodo drivel


    #next_pages_container { width: 5px; hight: 5px; position: absolute; top: -100px; left: -100px; z-index: 2147483647 !important; }

     
  • Reply 14 of 70
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    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.
  • Reply 15 of 70
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,972member
    Duplicate post
  • Reply 16 of 70
    boredumbboredumb Posts: 1,408member


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

  • Reply 17 of 70

    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. 

  • Reply 18 of 70
    pendergastpendergast Posts: 1,358member
    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
  • Reply 19 of 70
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,090member
    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.
  • Reply 20 of 70
    maltzmaltz Posts: 117member


    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.

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