Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Into enemy territory . . .

I'll give Apple kudos for one thing - they really know how to make a person feel good about themselves. I spent 45 minutes in an Apple store today so I could meet with an "Apple Genius" to get my iPhone swapped out. I knew it was a hardware issue but they wouldn't swap the iPhone unless I took it to the store for a "genius” to look at it. I admit I still find that irritating . . . but I understand why . . . it is a consumer product.

The first thing I noticed was how neat and clean the store was and how well it was laid out. There are plenty of people working there too. I was greeted by a nice girl in an orange t-shirt that said "concierge" on it. She took my name and invited me to browse around while I waited for my genius appointment. I was offered help from a "specialist" twice - they wear light-blue t-shirts. Neither was pushy and they didn't hawk around me the entire time I browsed. My name was called and I was helped by a "genius" wearing a dark-blue t-shirt. I don’t know why but I really liked them color coding employees . . . maybe I’ll do that too!

The genius was helpful and I can’t tell you the number of times he said something that was complimentary. He told me my troubleshooting was sound, he said I was good with technology, he said I make good decisions, etc. All these were worked into the conversation and not just blurted out awkwardly. I was really starting to be a little embarrassed. All the while he was double checking everything I had already done to get the iPhone working with a Wi-Fi network. In the end he agreed the Wi-Fi side of the phone was dead and offered to swap it out . . . of course I agreed. Total time with the genius was about 20 minutes.

Every employee I came in contact with (4 total) treated me like they were there solely to help me . . . even though the store had plenty of customers in it. I was never rushed and not talked down to. They all seemed to really like working there. When I ask questions about products the specialist didn’t make something up if they did not know the answer – they admitted not knowing and proceeded to look it up for me.

If Apple keeps this up . . . Windows is dead. It might take 20 years but it will happen. I cannot tell you the number of times I have had a Microsoft employee talk down to me about something. I actually left that store wondering if there were ways to start integrating Apple products into my IT environment.

I have to give them kudos for something else . . . they really know how to run a store too.

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