Apple’s retail strategy laid bare

Aug 29, 2012 11:42 AM
Filed under Mobility

Staff told what to say, how to act.

A leaked employee training manual has revealed just how strict and regimented the guidelines are for Apple’s blue-shirted “geniuses”.

Tech site Gizmodo reported receiving a leaked copy of Apple's famed Genius Training Manual.

Among the more intriguing revelations, would-be Apple geniuses are required to undergo a 14 day bootcamp involving a mix of technical and customer training, with such programs as “the power of empathy” and “component isolation”. 

The bootcamp allows the workers to attain genius actions and characteristics, including the ability to ‘educate gracefully’, ‘take ownership empathetically’, and ‘recommend persuasively’.  

Apple teaches its retail staff the key to selling involves following the five-word APPLE acronym - approach, probe, present, listen, end. Empathy is key to selling, Apple says in the manual, imploring staff to understand the problems of their customer but never apologise for issues involving the technology or the business.

Staff are also banned from certain words deemed negative. Retail staff are prohibited from saying a computer ‘crashed’ - they must say ‘stopped responding’. The word ‘bug’ is banned; ‘issue’ or situation must be used instead. ‘Disaster’ is substituted for ‘error’.

The iDevice giant also gives its staff lessons in psychology, telling workers to look out for physical and verbal clues to their customer’s nature. The unbuttoning of a coat is listed as openness and nose-rubbing as suspicion.

Apple currently has 14 stores around Australia. Last Saturday it cut the ribbon on a new outlet in Carindale, Brisbane.

The Carindale launch is part of an aggressive recruitment strategy by Apple locally. According to advertisements posted on Seek, the company is gearing up to open three additional new stores in South Perth, South East Melbourne and Canberra.

Of the advertised areas, Apple currently has outlets in Melbourne's Southland, Doncaster and Chadstone and Perth's city centre. A Canberra store would mark its first entry into the nation's capital.

The job advertisements call for inventory specialists able to “take pride in being the logistical champion of the store” as well as “retail genuises.. fascinated by the way things work and the reasons they sometimes don’t".

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