The Genius of Apple Computer Retail Stores

Friends and family know I spend Monday mornings at the Apple store. It’s located in the mall and unfortunately, malls are not me favorite places. I’ve shopped enough and I don’t enjoy jockeying for parking spots, but I love Chris, Sean, Debra, Katie, Alan, Dan and a slew of other Apple “Creatives” who’ve helped me become, if not exactly a computer whiz, then something close enough.

I’m a teacher, and whoever trains the Apple staff on how to impart learning should share their technique, because in many places learning just isn’t going well in this country. But back to what the Creatives have taught me: how to make spreadsheets, ebooks, newsletters, slide shows, and all manner of shortcuts for word processing, plus I can do cool things with my iPhone. But, I what I really want to talk about in this piece is civility, because, too many people have forgotten how to be civil; not inside an Apple store.

What’s notable on Monday mornings is how a large group of anxious people pile in — many of them with computer issues that have mushroomed over the weekend — yet civility reigns, because customers know they will be helped in a timely, efficient and courteous manner. People are even patient and courteous to one another.  Put another way, Apple even makes the public behave well.

One reason things work for Apple is because they only manufacture, sell and repair their own products. Unlike other retail computer outlets, Apple Creatives and Geniuses (staff who diagnose and fix problems) don’t have to figure out multiple software and operating systems. They don’t work with computers or devices made by Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Samsung or other manufacturers, so Apple employees know their product.

I read somewhere that Steve Jobs designed his retail stores on the Ritz-Carlton Hotel model, a company known for quality, efficiency and the highest standards of customer service. Every move Apple makes is held close to the vest, but if Jobs indeed studied at the Ritz-Carlton Learning Institute or its Leadership Center, he was a excellent student, because his retail model is a gem. And like the Ritz, Apple charges more, but customers get more.

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