My trusty iMac (from 2008) decided to not play ball earlier this week. It was way outside Apple’s warranty (even Apple Care) – by over a few years – but trying to fix it was beyond me and I needed help from Apple. A call through to the local Apple Store (in the Bentall Centre in Kingston) and they advised that they had no Genius appointments that day but to come in with the iMac and they would see what they could do.
When we got to the store we spoke to one of their guys who said all the iMac tech team were busy all day with no slots, but to hold on and he would see what they could do. A very friendly iMac Genius then came to have a look and ran a series of quick tests on the iMac. As typically happens in these situations, everything worked fine and the iMac passed all the tests. A number of restarts were done – where the problem had been before – but all working fine.
The guy took down all the details of the problem as I’d seen it and advised that I could leave it there for them to take a more detailed look (which would probably take a few days) or take it back home and see how I get on (which I did and typically again the problem has re-occurred and I’ve booked to go back in tomorrow).
But, the whole point to this post is the exceptional level of service that Apple provided here, going way beyond what they were obliged to do, going out of their way to help as best they can, to listen to the customer and check and test accordingly, to offer options when the standard response (booking a slot for that day) was a no-goer and doing all of this in a friendly professional manner.
This level of service is what makes Apple so great and why people – like me – will now go back and go nowhere else. It is exceptionally good service and yes you do pay a premium for Apple products but this is one of the major reasons why; it’s not just a great product, you’re buying it’s a full service experience.
It’s not the only reason of course, there are 3 reasons generally why you are willing to pay extra for a product or service. These are:
The quality of the product
The level of service received
The overall experience of using the product or service
These 3 are the major drivers to creating loyalty for you business and Apple yet again are are leaders here. Fingers crossed that my visit tomorrow fixes the problem once and for all.
Apple have done it again. A nice post from Cult of Mac on plans by Apple to improve their Genius Bar services…
Very simple really – change the tables to get more customers in. I don’t doubt they’ll also bring in more Genius staff to help. Bigger tables with more customers and the same number of staff won’t work – and Apple know that. See my earlier blog post – “How simply should it be?” – that talks about keeping things simple at Apple and it’s part of the culture there and it works. Great services, great technology, great products and the rest.
This table layout change is another great example of this approach. It’s easy to do, very simple and won’t cost much, but the impact on the customers will be huge and very positive – more great service. The Apple Store at the Bentalls Centre in Kingston has done something similar recently but expanded their store at the same time – clearly not always an option. But they’ve now got more tables, with quite a few of these new long ones, lots more staff and the kids’ tables. These stores where they’re testing the new layouts minus the kids’ tables, should think again. The kids love them and they work. Kids are kept quiet, so parents can browse and interact with the Genius staff more (and yes ultimately buy more Apple goodies) and the kids are playing with great apps on the iPads so very quickly learn to love iPads and Apple and become little fan people in their own right. Genius! Getting the next generation into good service from Apple – now that’s long term investment planning at its best.
The challenge – as the Cult of Mac post rightly points out – is providing this improved great service when space is a premium. How do they do it? I’ll tell you how – as they’ve done in Kingston here, have less space geared to selling products, as bizarre as that sounds and more geared towards service. It works. People coming into Apple shops have a good idea what the products are and want to see and play with them – the big ones (like iPads and iPhones and iMac and MacBookAirs). Not so much the accessories that take up lots of space.
Does this approach work for you? Is it about service for retailers like Apple or do you prefer the PC World, Curry’s type approach of products, products, products everywhere and hardly any staff who’ll stop and listen?
On a side note, what do you call more than one (Apple) Genius? Genius’s? Geni-i? Guru’s? One to Google…