It’s Black Friday, you’ve been simultaneously anticipating and dreading this day. There’s good news though, if you’re planning on visiting an Apple Store today, it just may turn out to be a better experience than you’re anticipating.
Adding staff for the holiday season is not unusual in retail. What is unusual is how America’s most profitable retailer, The Apple Store, trains its employees to communicate with customers to reduce the stress and frustration of shopping on Black Friday and other busy retail days.
Apple specializes in what they call “resetting internal clocks.” Apple specialists are taught to acknowledge the customers presence, even if they can’t help them yet. Customers are acknowledges, placed in a queue, told how long it will be before someone can work with them, and checked on every few minutes. They also personalize the experience by using the customers first name.
As a former employee of an Apple retail store, I got to experience the Black Friday experience first hand. They were simultaneously some of the craziest, and yet, most enjoyable hours of my working life.
From the time the doors open, customers poured in. All specialists, managers, and in some cases, geniuses would make sure to acknowledge customers, make sure they knew they would be helped, and if unable to help them personally, tried to make sure other employees knew about the customer, and in the process made sure the customer knew they were valued. (This was before the queue system Apple Stores currently use in such situations.)
One way Apple tries to help customers get in and out of the store quickly, while making sure they get what they wanted, is the Express table. Apple places popular items such as iPods, iPads, MacBook Pros, and etc. and mans the table with specialists armed with EasyPay devices. The specialists can then grab the items, scan them, take payment from the customer and send them on the way with what they came for, hopefully happy and looking forward to their next Apple retail store experience.
Mr. Forbes describes his recent experience in a busy Apple Store at the above link. It’s an enjoyable and informative read.