Great piece in the WSJ yesterday about the secrets of Apple stores.
I found these 5 “secrets” that the WSJ uncovered most interesting:
Sales Associatates “Don’t Sell”
…sales associates are taught an unusual sales philosophy: not to sell, but rather to help customers solve problems. “Your job is to understand all of your customers’ needs—some of which they may not even realize they have,” one training manual says. To that end, employees receive no sales commissions and have no sales quotas.
Soft/Comforting Language Used
The store’s confidential training manual tells in-store technicians exactly what to say to customers it describes as emotional: “Listen and limit your responses to simple reassurances that you are doing so. ‘Uh-huh’ ‘I understand,’ etc.”
Former Geniuses say they were told to say “as it turns out” rather than “unfortunately” to sound less negative when they are unable to solve a tech problem.
Strict Rules On Performance
Apple employees who are six minutes late in their shifts three times in six months may be let go. While there are no sales quotas, employees must sell service packages with devices, according to former employees. Those who don’t sell enough are re-trained or moved to another position, depending on the store.
Back on the sales floor, new hires must shadow more experienced colleagues and aren’t allowed to interact with customers on their own until they’re deemed ready. That can be a couple of weeks or even longer.
Keith Bruce, 23, who worked at an Apple store in Virginia for three-and-a-half years until December 2009, says he was told the sales floor was a stage where he should focus on things he can do, rather than things he can’t. If a customer mispronounced an item name, he was forbidden from correcting them because that would make them feel patronized.