When you walk into an Apple store's, you're greeted with representatives in the front, or sales associates that come to your assistance at a push of a button. Customers are free to play around with the hardware or use the display machines to check up on their inbox.
On the surface, it's a pleasant nice casual environment. But it's a meticiously planned to the smallest detail by Apple and executed by its retail employees with little margin for error, as learned by the Wall Street Journal's Yukari Kane, after speaking to current and former Apple Store employees, and reviewed confidential training manuals.
A 2007 employee training manual has the stores' "steps of service" laid out in the acronym APPLE where A stands for "Approach customers with a personalized warm welcome," P means "probe politely to understand all the customer's needs," etc. Employees are even trained on what not to say. "They avoid saying the word, "unfortunately,"" said Kane.
According to the documents, employees must stick to a script when dealing with customers. The "steps of service" involves five letters spelling the acronym APPLE:
- Approach customers with a warm welcome.
- Probe politely to understand all the customers' needs.
- Present a solution for the customer to take home today.
- Listen for and resolve any issues or concerns.
- End with a fond farewell and an invitation to return.
In addition, "If a customer mispronounces the name of a product they are taught never to correct them." There're also strict rules applied to employees. Employees may face consequences if they're late more than three times in a six-month period. And of course, employees face termination if they're caught writing about their employment experiences or about Apple on the Internet.
Despite these strict rules, the sales positions are still popular. On the flipside, these conditions may be those the Apple Retail Workers Union is working to contest, despite the competitive pay offered by Apple Stores in comparison to other retailers.
Apple’s 326 stores generate more visitors in a quarter than Disney’s top four parks get in a year. And it’s annual retail sales per square foot is $4406, nearly $1400 higher than Tiffany & Co.
A video of the interview is available belwo: