Apple will soon be making improvements to the way Genius Bar appointments are handled. The week of March 9th will see U.S. Apple Stores convert to a new program called “The New Concierge,” to replace the traditional walk-in Genius Bar appointments.
This new program, spearheaded by Retail Senior Vice President Angela Ahrendts, moves away from the classic appointment model. Instead, a customer describes the issue to an Apple Store employee, who inputs the issue into an updated iPad application. Using a special algorithm, the application provides the customer a wait time based on issue priorities. For example, a customer seeking an iPhone screen replacement will automatically be placed higher in the queue than a customer seeking help with a minor iCloud issue.
The customer will provide a phone number, which Apple will send three separate text messages to. The texts will consist of:
- An initial text message to confirm the Genius Bar request, and provide an estimated wait time.
- A text message informing the customer that it’s time to start heading back to the Apple Store.
- A final text message telling the customer that their Apple technician is ready to help, and informing them of where the tech can be located in the store.
The new system would be the most significant change to Apple Store operations in quite awhile. The new system will likely result in less crowding in the Apple Store, as it allows customers to make an appointment, leave to run errands or shop, and then return when it’s time for their appointment.
Apple has successfully tried out the updated process in select markets on a limited basis in recent months.
In the short term, Genius Bar appointments made online will remain the same, and will not use the text message system used for walk-in appointments.
The new Concierge system is just the latest in a series of changes under Ahrendts, who has already introduced new employee attire, and has been involved in plans to sell and guard the new Apple Watch much like jewelry stores sell and protect their high-end merchandise.