Why Genius Bar appointments always seem to start late

Posted:
in Genius Bar edited August 19
In a long and detailed thread, an ex-Apple retail employee who helped launch Apple's in-store Concierge system details exactly why and how appointments made for support at in-store Genius Bars never seem to start on time.

Customers can repair their iPhone at home, but at a high cost
Customers can repair their iPhone at home, but at a high cost


In a very long Twitter thread, user "Dr. Bread Pitt" details the Concierge system, the forces surrounding the Genius Bar, and how the system can break down under the strain of retail guest responses and other factors. First and foremost, Apple appears to over-book Genius Bar appointments, assuming up to 40% of service-seekers won't show up for the appointment.

This is further compounded by employee sick calls, and emergencies. Additionally, what's needed by the customer may be misdiagnosed by time, where an appointment that needs more time may be misfiled in Apple's Concierge system, leading to further delays.

Ever wonder why you've been sitting, waiting at an Apple Store for what feels like forever for a Genius Bar appointment that's already way past your scheduled time? Let me share a little 1/

-- Dr. Bread Pitt (@drbreadpitt)
And, on top of all this, the twitter thread details the need for Genius Bar employees to "multitask." Specifically, they are being asked to build business leads, sell AppleCare, sell iPhones, and discuss Apple's educational offerings as well.

Human errors are also a problem as well. A customer can approach an Apple employee in the store who is often "surrounded and stressed out" that they are there for the appointment, and they may not be checked in properly -- or at all.

This compounds the problem, and causes not just their own wait time to be extended, but causes problems with the schedule as a whole when a manager has to expedite service for the customer.

For employees, he lays out some suggestions for the Concierge system as well. Employees can long-press on a button to tell the system that an appointment couldn't be offered for a customer for many reasons. This in turn sends feedback to Apple telling them that the system couldn't meet demand.

The thread details what he'd like to see from customers as well. Specifically, how they should interact with employees at the store, or phone support.

"Many times they are just trying to do the best they can with limited resources and overwhelming amounts of waiting customers," the thread says. "The system they use is made to just get people in, it's not as efficient at keeping it organized."

Furthermore, he reiterates that not everybody in the company has every solution for a customer. So, as always in retail, patience is a must.

"So please be patient, please understand the challenges the technicians face, please make the right types of appointments, please ignore Tik Tok videos, please go online when you can and please remember that these people all just want to help you as soon as they can" concludes the thread.





While not addressed in the thread, there are also steps that a user should take before arriving. Your devices should be prepared for the trip, if possible.

When you arrive, the employees will ask you whether you've got backups, whether you have your Apple ID details, whether you've unpaired the Watch, and so on. All the way through they are hoping you'll say yes because otherwise this is going to take a long time -- and extend waits in the store

Assuming you're prepared with backups, not only will you make their job easier, you'll get out of there faster. You'll get out of there knowing that no matter what happens, your data is both safe and is going to be immediately available for you to get back to work.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 19
    I assume "always" is intended as hyperbole, because my (admittedly few) appointments have started on time, or even a bit early.  And almost every time I've gone, the tables at the Genius Bar have been full.

    I guess that could partly be due to the market I'm in.
    edited August 19 doozydozenwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 19
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 17,913member
    That’s because Apple stores are a friggin free for all.  Employees and customers everywhere….doing everything at the same time.  There is no “Genius Bar” anymore.  You check in, then sit down like you’re waiting at the dentist.  Then, a random employee comes up, looks at your device, and whisks it away to the back to fix it. He or she comes back…usually with a fixed device, and you can’t imagine what they did back there.   Then the same person is taking returns, going to the back to retrieve your new device, and checking out people buying things like iPhone cases. It’s a mess and has been since it started.  I miss the actual check out and Genius Bar counter.  
    lkrupppulseimagesgrandact73darkvaderwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 19
    "Seem to"? Or they do? What does the actual data say?

    Someone surely must have it somewhere -- I am surprised that AI didn't ask the company for a comment.
    FileMakerFeller
  • Reply 4 of 19
    Hasn’t been my experience at all.

    I have had a handful of Genius Bar appointments a year, as long as Apple stores have existed, and can’t remember the last time I waited noticeably past my scheduled time.
    doozydozenwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 19
    I've generally been pleased with in-store response times.  Had to wait a few minutes once or twice.   Got to chatting with other people waiting.  Fixed a couple of problems with other customers. 

    I've worked retail in the past -- most consumers/customers are great and patient.  It's the entitlement 10% that make life hard on the rest.  Just being in the same room with whining Karens of both genders is stressful, and like any mob mentality, one jerk brings down others.  It's a pity Apple frowns on another customer taking Karen's Centris out of his hands and beating him to the floor with it while explaining System 9 isn't going to play World of Warcraft, suck it up and buy something made this decade.

    So -- no, I've no complaints about my in-store appointments.
    doozydozenwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 19
    I’ve experienced long wait times and the majority of the customers at my area Apple Stores are almost entirely made up of entitled windbags. 
    doozydozendarkvaderwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 19
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,553administrator
    "Seem to"? Or they do? What does the actual data say?

    Someone surely must have it somewhere -- I am surprised that AI didn't ask the company for a comment.
    We did.

    The data I have suggests that the average genius bar appointment starts 14 minutes late. The data also suggests that major markets like DC Metro, NYC, London and so forth have much longer waits on the average.
    edited August 19 muthuk_vanalingambageljoeytwokatmewdoozydozendewmepulseimagesdarkvaderwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 19
    Cant say thats my experience at all.

    Have been seen early most of the time and issues resolved with great professionalism 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 19
    chadbagchadbag Posts: 1,800member
    I'm the one usually a few minutes late checking in.  I live 23 or so miles away and sometimes traffic has more snarls than usual.  Anyway. It's on me.  

    I usually have to wait a small amount of time after check in but have no complaints.  I've talked wuth other waiting customers and when the Apple person shows up they spend all the time needed.  


    twokatmewdoozydozenwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 19
    Welcome to modern slavery!
    darkvader
  • Reply 11 of 19
    dewmedewme Posts: 4,545member
    The good news is that when you finally do get served, even if a few minutes late, you are probably going to get a technician who has a pretty good idea about how to get you on the path to a resolution. This beats the heck out of phone based support, shipping your product back for service,  or trying your luck with someone who isn't specialized in Apple products.

    The preparations listed in the article are all good advice. The only thing I'd add to the list is "Don't cop an attitude" when engaging with the Apple technicians. They are just trying to do their job. They also seem to have some discretion about whether they will charge for certain repairs or replacements. Being nice and respectful can only help your cause.
    CluntBaby92watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 19
    sdw2001 said:
    That’s because Apple stores are a friggin free for all.  Employees and customers everywhere….doing everything at the same time.  There is no “Genius Bar” anymore.  You check in, then sit down like you’re waiting at the dentist.  Then, a random employee comes up, looks at your device, and whisks it away to the back to fix it. He or she comes back…usually with a fixed device, and you can’t imagine what they did back there.   Then the same person is taking returns, going to the back to retrieve your new device, and checking out people buying things like iPhone cases. It’s a mess and has been since it started.  I miss the actual check out and Genius Bar counter.  

    The reality is that unless you've got something that's covered under warranty, you're MUCH better off going to an unauthorized provider.  They're actually better equipped to fix software issues because they don't have to toe the company line and they can support issues you've got with 3rd party software and hardware, and in many cases they can actually fix your hardware when Apple can't or won't.

    And in many shops, you can just walk in and talk to a technician, you're not dealing with crazy appointment systems, you're not dealing with a wild free for all atmosphere, and you get treated like a person, not a number.
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 13 of 19
    sdw2001 said:
    That’s because Apple stores are a friggin free for all.  Employees and customers everywhere….doing everything at the same time.  There is no “Genius Bar” anymore.  You check in, then sit down like you’re waiting at the dentist.  Then, a random employee comes up, looks at your device, and whisks it away to the back to fix it. He or she comes back…usually with a fixed device, and you can’t imagine what they did back there.   Then the same person is taking returns, going to the back to retrieve your new device, and checking out people buying things like iPhone cases. It’s a mess and has been since it started.  I miss the actual check out and Genius Bar counter.  
    You need appointment to get help. This is the most efficient way to fix a problem. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 19
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,453member
    "Seem to"? Or they do? What does the actual data say?

    Someone surely must have it somewhere -- I am surprised that AI didn't ask the company for a comment.
    Even if they did, as Mike says, do you really think they'd get anything in response?
  • Reply 15 of 19
    Theses Geniuses now never fix anything either!   Now, they do no longer exchange for “new” but only refurbished!  Battery replacements are no longer done either.  They just are now customers service with very little skill and are taught to say: “Cannot be fixed”!  :/
  • Reply 16 of 19
    macguimacgui Posts: 2,243member
    My last visit was just before the pandemic lockdowns began, so I have no idea what the Genius Bar is like now.

    Has been quite good, with only one short delay, as I recall. So zero complaints from me. My complaint though small is with the whole check-in system at this store. It's the same thing for the Genius Bar appointment or to buy something. They want to know why you're there and then assign you to a rep to help you buy whatever. All well and good if you're there to buy but not so much if you want to browse.

    My local store did away with the actual "Bar". After checking in, a 'genius' comes out and finds you amongst the crowd (there's always a crowd) based on a physical description of you taken by the  check-in crew. That's worked surprisingly well for me.


    watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 19
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,553administrator
    Theses Geniuses now never fix anything either!   Now, they do no longer exchange for “new” but only refurbished!  Battery replacements are no longer done either.  They just are now customers service with very little skill and are taught to say: “Cannot be fixed”!  :/
    For at least the last 12 years, they've exchanged when appropriate based on a number of factors for refurbished service stock. And, they absolutely still do battery replacements in-store.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 19
    Theses Geniuses now never fix anything either!   Now, they do no longer exchange for “new” but only refurbished!  Battery replacements are no longer done either.  They just are now customers service with very little skill and are taught to say: “Cannot be fixed”!  :/

    I just had my battery replaced last week.  And "replaced" is the accurate term, as I got my phone back, not a replacement.

    Are you sure you went to an actual Apple Store?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 19
    jcs2305jcs2305 Posts: 1,307member
    Hasn’t been my experience at all.

    I have had a handful of Genius Bar appointments a year, as long as Apple stores have existed, and can’t remember the last time I waited noticeably past my scheduled time.
    I have waited every time... Here in the PA where I am, there isn't another Apple Store within 40 miles.. It's always a mob scene. No big deal to me as they always take good care of us, but they are always busy as Sh**!

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