Stores Are 5-Star Hotels

November 24, 2007

Apple has tried to pattern its retail stores after “the feeling of a five-star hotel,” according to Sr. V-P Ron Johnson, quoted in an Associated Press article about the development of the stores. “It’s not about selling. It’s about creating a place where you belong,” Johnson told reporter May Wong. In previous interviews and statements, Johnson has likened the stores to libraries. The AP story details how the cash register counters have disappeared, replaced by employees with portable computers, and how the new Concierge employees guide visitors to the right location. The story concludes, “The stores are ‘the front face for Apple now,’ Johnson said. ‘And we’ve got so many new customers that we really have to help them understand our services.’

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Howie Isaacks November 24, 2007 at 1842

I think it’s great that the Apple Stores now have the new concierge position. When I was a Mac Genius at Willow Bend, I worked very hard to maintain the vision that was set forth by Ron Johnson. I’m glad to see that there is a resurgence of this philosophy at the Apple Stores. I was worried that it might have begun to fall off.

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Thomas Pindelski November 24, 2007 at 2011

Undistilled, pure BS.

My wife and I just spent 10 minutes in the Burlingame CA store (a few miles from Cupertino, for goodness sake) trying to find a clerk to take our money. Another few while the clerk tried to find our receipt which was printed below a table she had to access on hands and knees. Comically inept – the sort of arrogance (“we have to help them understand”) that puts great businesses under. Chic masquerading as customer service.

When I go into a retail store I expect a check out counter with a register so that someone can take my money. Fast. Apple needs to relearn that before trying to change the retail model for the worse. It’s worked for a couple of millenia without this kind of idiocy.

5 Star? Maybe the fellow writing that should try a night at the Ritz.

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GeneMG November 25, 2007 at 1830

Just because it’s been that way for “a couple of millenia” (which is false, incidentally) does not make it right.

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Mark Wilson November 26, 2007 at 0002

The point that I agree on is that this time of year it is very common to be in a line just to check out. If you can’t find a sales person or an obvious line to get checked out, how do you know when you will be done. How do you know that you are being waited on in turn. Maybe the sales people walking around with their hand held devices (is there an official name for these things?) keep missing you. You are trying to buy an iPod protector while some one else is looking at a computer. Do you get passed over? A customer should never even get the feeling that they are being passed over.

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HLEWIS4375 November 26, 2007 at 0525

As a wheelchair-bound Mac owner I was very excited about going into the new mac store in my area. Unfortunately, I found that all of the software was up on a wall well out of my reach and I needed to search someone out to help me. After ten minutes of looking I did find an employee to fetch me the software, but he seemed uninterested in the product. I really doubt I will be going back to the mac store as I see no real advantage.

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JoeB November 26, 2007 at 1313

Geeez. Cry me a river guys.

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Former MG November 27, 2007 at 0706

Apple (store managers) have a habit of hiring a few unprofessional type people to sprinkle about the store for whatever reason, though I have my suspicions.

These folks were usually Mac Specialists, but I have seen a few Mac Geniuses that fit that description and gave very little good customer service.

Now if one is a Mac Specialist, one is most likely a college student and will go on to other jobs after the Apple Store.

However, if one is a Mac Genius and leaves the Apple Store for the corporate world, an even more professional attitude and appearance is in order.

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