• WSJ Reveals Apple Retail Operation Secrets



    The Wall Street Journal has obtained what the publication calls "confidential training manuals" that are providing some insight into the "secrets" behind Apple's retail store operations. The WSJ has also sifted through recordings of store meetings and employee interviews to reveal some of the top-secret ongoings related to Apple's retail presence.

    The report finds that Apple exerts intensive control of how employees interact with customers. The WSJ also uncovered elaborate "scripted training" for on-site tech support. Speaking to the detail-obsessed mentality of Apple and its executives, the WSJ says - not to anyone's surprise - that the company gives extraordinary consideration to "every store detail down to the pre-loaded photos and music on demo devices."

    Employees are ordered to not discuss rumors about products, technicians are forbidden from prematurely acknowledging widespread glitches and anyone caught writing about the Cupertino, Calif., company on the Internet is fired, according to current and former employees.
    As of a 2007 training manual, Apple outlines its "steps of service" in the acronym APPLE - a manual that is still in use. Among the ingenious tips: "Approach customers with a personalized warm welcome," "Probe politely to understand all the customer's needs," "Present a solution for the customer to take home today," "Listen for and resolve any issues or concerns," and "End with a fond farewell and an invitation to return."

    Beyond the excruciatingly detailed training Apple gives employees with regard to the words and emotions that should be expressed to customers, Apple is being seen by some today as a veritable tyrant when it comes to cracking down on employee tardiness. According to the report, Apple employees who are "six minutes late" in their shifts three times in six months may be let go. Additionally, sales reps "who don't sell enough" are either re-trained or demoted or shipped off to another store.

    The Wall Street Journal says more people now visit Apple's stores in a single quarter than the 60 million who visited Disney's four biggest theme parks all of last year. Much of the company's success in terms of its retail strategy can be traced back to the work of Ron Johnson, Apple's chief of retail operations - a man who, as we learned yesterday, is leaving Apple to become CEO of JC Penney this fall.

    Source: WSJ
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