Thursday, September 10, 2009

An Apple Store Policy Worth Copying

Tonight was my first encounter with the Genius Bar at the Mac store. Heck, it was probably the first time I walked into a Mac store with any sort of purpose at all.

Having experienced it, I have to say, the Genius Bar is, well, a genius idea. Give people fair access to smart employees for their help is an absolutely no-brainer idea. Why doesn't Best Buy do this? Heck, why doesn't Nordstroms or Home Depot do it? Sure, the notion that every employee in your store is ready to help is a great concept, but in reality, having specialists who's only job is support, not sales, is really valuable.

But this post isn't about the Genius Bar. I've only been their once, for all I know, it's a terrible idea.

This post is about another practice I ran into tonight. Here's how it played out:

  1. I walk into the Apple store, dazed and confused looking for the Genius Bar
  2. The place is a buzz with activity, but after a few seconds I make my way back to what looks like a bar where smart folks would hang out
  3. Of course, the bar is surrounded by existing customers - and it hits me, I don't really know what I'm supposed to do next
  4. Then, to my left, an Apple employee asks me how she can help me, and checks me into the Genius Bar

What was cool about this experience was that the person ready to help me wasn't behind the Genius Bar, but was in front of it. As soon as I got close, she could detect my dazed and confused look, and could jump on me. Not only wasn't I forced to interrupt some existing conversation between a customer and tech, but I didn't even have to say anything to get someone's attention.

This idea of putting employees in a strategic, though unlikely location, seems like an exceptionally smart move. I don't know if I got lucky with this, or if this is Apple policy. Either way, I like it.

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