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Comments

Bob Nies

You must need some social skills training...I've visited six different stores in Florida, New York and California and have had nothing but the best of treatment and excellent help from the Genius Bar... What up with your comments?

I agree, they are the best place to shop!

NoPCZone

My local Apple Store has been great from my first visit on. The staff has always been great, especially at the Genius Bar. Maybe you have come across some "bad Apples", but I think that would be the exception rather than the rule. Come to #11, you will be glad you did.

carpundit

Bob Nies says I need the social skills training because I had bad experiences at the Apple Stores. Yeah, I'm sure that's it. It must be me. I'm really sorry I let the stores down; I'll try to shape up.

NoPCZone: glad to hear you've had a good experience. I love Apple. I want it to succeed.

mg

maybe your treatment was a byproduct of being an asshole to the geniuses. we get it all the time, and we don't go out of our way to bend rules and be helpful to people who treat us like shit.

moral of the story: don't be a dickweed to the person who is supposed to be doing you a service.

carpundit

mg,

That's an amazing response. Listen to yourself. You call me an "asshole" and a "dickweed" and you assume I am the one with the bad attitude.

You're wrong. I was polite and patient and solicitous. The bad attitudes belonged to the "Geniuses" - attitudes a lot like yours, in fact. Thanks for proving my point.

sly

College Student
iBook 500MHz, two AirPort Expresses
Mac User (7yrs) since Editor-in-Chief of HS Yearbook
Converted my sister to iBook G4 800MHz
From Eugene, OR

At Washington Square, Tigard, Oregon

Latest Experience:

It was one hour before closing time. The store only had one other customer when I walked in. There were two Apple employees that night, one Genius and the other was not. They were doing nothing. I waited for three whole minutes before the one Genius acknowledged my presence. After answering my questions, I wanted to buy an AirPort Express audio cable kit with a student discount. However, he didn't believe there is a discount for the item. So I made him check and not to my surprise there is discount. He seemed reluctant to give my the discount even when I showed him my student ID.

The Washington Square store is the only Apple Store I've been to. I've been there on several other occasions. Each time it was not "joyful" but "ho-hum" because of the employees. They should follow the examples of the employees at Nordstrom and even some Starbucks.

Starbucks' coffee is just as good as several other coffee places. Why do I go there? The service!! It was final week and I needed coffee. I got two bottles of Frappucino. As I got on my bike to leave, the two bottles slipped out of jacket and broke in the on the floor. The employee outside came replaced the two Frappucino for free.

I only go to Nordstrom to buy shoes. Sure I can buy shoes at other stores like the iPods, but when I'm at Nordstrom they are attentive and make sure I don't feel invisible.

I can deal with these bad experiences. However, if Apple plan to use the Stores to draw in non-Mac user, they need to retrain their employees.

I think it's all about expectations. When I shop at www.apple.com I don't feel 'ho-hum' because there isn't any expectations of expedient, live interaction of my part. However, there are these expectations at the Apple Store and when I don't get it I feel jilted.

Bogo

Anybody ever consider supporting one of the 170+ Apple Specialist Stores who have made Apple what they are today and stuck with them through their darkest days?

You will most likely find very knowledgeable and friendly staff with competitive pricing.

another mg

I have to agree with the original MG's post, though I will phrase the situation better than he.

On the many occasions I have been to the Genius Bar, many of the patrons there have been extremely surly, contentious, and rude to the technicians. Often, there is a long line and the "appointments" are not taken on time. However, the Geniuses have been extremely conscientious and accomodating as much as the customers have allowed them to be considering the treatment and the circumstances. Often, I see customers with iPods that have been dropped or submerged in liquid fighting with the staff about why the damage isn't covered under the warranty. I truly feel for the technicians. They know a lot more than the run of the mill computer store worker, and bear the full wrath of customers who are rude, unreasonable, and disrespectful.

I work in a similar industry and experience this every day. If you sit back and watch the guys at the Genius Bar over a period of time, I think your opinion of them will probably change.

Dan

While I sympathize with some of the experiences the original poster has had... alot of what you say is not uncommon, but is also not the full fault of the genii either. If you had seen the things genii have top put up with day in and day out you'd be shocked they are able to function at all. Genii are the perverbial whipping boys of the Apple store. Less then 50% of customers who come to the bar are nice customers in my experience. They're huffy, rude, and look down on the genii like they are some little dog that should be making their Mac do tricks. In addition I've seen Genii have their sexuality questioned, many threatened with physical harm, and one even brought to tears by customers. The fact that they continue to do the job in a professional and welcoming manner is a miracle. And frankly I've never seen a Genius treat a customer with disregard who did not treat the Genius like dirt first.

To address your other issue (ie: in-store signage) there is little even a store manager can do to rectify a mislabled product. Apple maintains strict control of signage and store design and instore employees are not allowed to modify designs including signage. If you have an issue with such things you have to take it up with Apple HR.

Rob

I also have to disagree with the original poster. In my experience, the staff at the Genius Bar have always bent over backwards to make things right.

A friend of mine had a major problem with her new Power Mac G5 that was handled in a first class manner by the genius she worked with. All in all, I think they do a far better job than the support/repair staff at any other electronics/computer store I've ever visited.

Now I'll admit that the general sales staff can sometimes be hit or miss depending on the location. But then again, they only pay them like $8 an hour anyway, so I don't expect all of them to be a product genius.

Bob

You can't be that quick to judge the guys. they have a hard job as it is. they are fixing your computer. they have to deal with unhappy customers expecting you to fix your computer on the drop of a dime. yes that is their job to help you and service you but when they deal with over 100 plus customers a day, sometimes you can't help but not to be in the best mood. doesn't matter where you work you have bad days. you get upset and don't wanna deal with people. but these guys are paid to help you, and if you are rude and upset with them then they are going to be breif and frank with you. i have 4 close buddies who are Genii"s and they have a rough job. over the past few years theyir traffic has picked up in the store and they have more and more computers to fix. some of it is out of their hands due to parts not delivered and long hours to try and get the product fixed. they have over 50 plus computers to fix in a week and ontop of dealing with stupid customer questions as well. So you can't base your opinion on one bad visit to the apple store.

Joe Weingarten

Finnaly somene not in fear of telling the truth about the Apple Company owned stores.

bruno dexter

No retail outfit is perfect, and Apple is not infallible. First off, retail is a tough industry with a higher turn over rate than other industries. Second the pay is low, certainly low enough to make affording some of Apple's product difficult if not possible. Thirdly, the Genii are paid, on average, 40% less than the average help desk technician or tier 2 service tech. Many work in excess of 40 hours a week, much of it while standing. They'll see between 20 to 200 customers in a day all with problems that need to be fixed right now.
Many of the Genius bat services are free and there is no set limit to how many times you can access the bar. Besides trouble shooting and repair, I've seen Genii give impromptu training, and even support NON APPLE gear, including one assist on a dell box riddled with virii, in order to get an ipod to sync properly. It is face to face tech support, not a phone call routed through to New Dehli.
Finally, in a recent comprehensive study APPLE retail was ranked first for its stores and customer service therein.
My point - I'm sorry you had a bad experience, you certainly did not derserve that kind of treatment. But, they are human too and prone to mistakes. Please try not to damn all Apple retail employees, many do work hard for the brand.

all around you

I'd just like to hear a more detailed account of what actually transpired, what you came in to ask about, etc. If you yourself were surely, I'm sure we wouldn't hear about it, but a alas, I'd be interested in hearing a more detailed account. Most people I've talked to who have interacted with these guys usually have good stuff to say, I wonder why your experiences were different.

John Daley

Isn't the customer always right?

Dan

The customer is always right when it comes to being served... but not if they become belligerant, violent, abusive, or obscene... all of which I have witnessed customers do with absolutely no reason to act so foolishly. Customer is always right only goes so far, and NO ONE has to put up with some of the things I have seen the genii put up with.

Carpundit

I assure you, Dan, I was not belligerent, violent, abusive or obscene. Maybe my experiences were out of the ordinary. I'd like to think so. As I've said, I like Apple.

Dan

Carpundit,
As someone who has been shopping in Apple stores for years, and worked in one for a while, I can assure you your experiences were the exception by far. Everyone I worked with and have ever interacted with was passionate to the point of obsession with Apple products and was more then willing to pass that on to the customer. In addition they were all extremely professional and friendly peoples, especially the genii. As for your other instances of trouble with Specialists, often you are right, they aren't that much smarter about certain products then the guys at CompUSA individually. Indeed I knew nothing about any of Apple's music stuff, but the thing that you hopefully will witness is the way Apple employees will find the one of them that knows the answer if they can. You cannot expect more for a retail salary and to do so is absurd. No one works retail that has had massive amounts of training into every aspect of computing, which often times customers seem to demand. They know what they know and will branch out to their fellows who might if they don't. You cannot ask anymore then that and expect to still expect their help to be free.

And like I said for signage that is nothing you can peg on instore employees. They would change them if thay could, but they can't.

regular joe

Bruno Dexter, you are so correct. Thank you.

Mabel

I must agree with Bogo, who suggests trying your local Apple Specialist dealer. The one I frequent has been in business in the same location for nearly 14 years, and two of the three sales consultants have been working there for over 10 years. These folks are not $8/hour retail employees! Not only that, but they are well-versed in OS X as well as earlier OS, they can repair and upgrade my old beige Macs as well as the new ones, and they will also honor the Apple education pricing, even though Apple does not reimburse them for that. Sometimes they don't have enough of the latest iPod or iMac or whatever, and that makes me mad because it isn't fair that they work so hard helping their customers and then they get shafted when a new product comes out. But I am happy to wait until they can get stuff, because they have always been good and fair to me.

Will Parker

I can't speak directly to your experience at your local Apple store, but I do have two comments:

1) The Geniuses at the Apple stores here in the Seattle area are unfailingly professional, if not always the most cheerful of souls. As to why that is, see my next point.

2) For computer workers, tech support is the Sixth Circle of Hell. (The Seventh Circle is reserved for network installers.) Support engineers are invariably underpaid, overworked, and underappreciated, whether they actually have any skills to be appreciated or not. How do I know this? Before I 'escaped' to the wonderful world of software testing and unemployment, I spent 12 years being the local 'Mac genius' at various companies.

(Of course, Apple hadn't invented the label or their stores yet, so I was just 'the Mac guy'.)

The main problem with tech support isn't incompetent front-line support people; it's incompetent tech support managers. (Caveat lector - of course I'd say that: I was front-line, not managerial.)

Why? Competent support managers don't hire bad front-line personnel in the first place, or if they find one on staff, they either train them up or boot them.

Competent support managers also know that the best possible result of a tech support incident isn't always a quickly-closed incident, but an incident that is resolved in a manner that provides the best chance that there needn't be a FOLLOWUP.

The problem, of course, is that you need to have enough competent support personnel to do this without making your customers wait. Since that's expensive, there's always a strong incentive (namely, the support manager's boss) to keep support queue short by herding customers through like cattle, whether this is the best course for the customer or not.

Anyone who has done frontline tech support for more than a month knows whether the people above him want support done right or done fast. If the support tech is any good, the latter situation will drive them to despair -- or some other job - very rapidly.

If you really did have a bad experience at the Apple store, you should be talking to the store's general manager. Tell him or her what you expect when you walk into an Apple store -- more specifically, what you expect when you walk into THEIR store -- and what they need to do to convince you to start patronising their store again. Alternatively, send feedback to Apple management at http://www.apple.com/support/feedback/.

Of course, having to do so is a pain in the ass, but it's likely to have a better effect that broadcasting generalizations to us out here in the general mob.

Nancy

I'd also like to hear a detailed account of what was said. Without knowing the specifics of the conversation, it's hard to take your comments seriously. You're calling these people "Hairy Social Misfits." Please let us in on what was said to lead you to this level of anger.

regular joe

Will Parker is also correct. Thank you, Will Parker.

Lyndon

my favourite genius bar question a year or so ago was "so with the new itunes update is there anywhere you can go in itunes to convert from mp3's to aac" . the answer was no you have to reinstall you your music cd's. With that I went home did a select all and delete all 1000 ALBUMS, and started the slow process of reinstalling all my cd's, then one night playing around in itunes, clicked on the tool bar and lowand behold "CONVERT TO AAC." Arghhhhh, It should be called the dumb ass bar.
You learn more googling for a few minutes than in the store.

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