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  • 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
    This article was originally published in forum thread: WSJ Reveals Apple Retail Operation 'Secrets' started by Michael Essany View original post
    Comments 11 Comments
    1. exNavy's Avatar
      exNavy -
      "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."

      I'm NEVER late to work, going on 25+ years so what. People who are late 1 second deserve to be fired instantly in my not so humble opinion. Unless you were in an accident, your house is on fire or you had to go to the hospital, you have no excuse for being late. Some retail companies will fire you on the spot if they see your cell phone in your hands while on the clock. As it should be.

      I wonder what those apple stores are like that are the dumping grounds for those who are horrible sellers?
    1. ramicio's Avatar
      ramicio -
      There is no excuse for being late to work, much less without your employer knowing you may be late. People should be at work 5-10 minutes before their shift. BUT they should also be paid for that time they are there and getting ready. If you must wear company gear, then you should be paid the time to don it. I can't stand these places that let you clock in 10 minutes early, but don't pay you for that time. I don't see how it's legal to not pay someone for being at work, to work.
    1. rawrjoeynashomg's Avatar
      rawrjoeynashomg -
      Being fired for being late 3 times in any job is quite common. I work at mcdonalds and they do the same thing. lol, and i've seen them take action on it. We've had three people fired the past two years b/c of this. Normally, if you call ahead of time and you have a half decent excuse, you can get off the hook though.
    1. johnr9412's Avatar
      johnr9412 -
      Quote Originally Posted by exNavy View Post
      "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."

      I'm NEVER late to work, going on 25+ years so what. People who are late 1 second deserve to be fired instantly in my not so humble opinion. Unless you were in an accident, your house is on fire or you had to go to the hospital, you have no excuse for being late. Some retail companies will fire you on the spot if they see your cell phone in your hands while on the clock. As it should be.

      I wonder what those apple stores are like that are the dumping grounds for those who are horrible sellers?
      gotta say, i love the enthusiasm but that kind of regime isn't for every company. the place i work for(idevice and other smartphone repair shop) has 3 stores and every single one the employees are all VERY laid back and relaxed but NEVER lazy. yeah we're sometimes a few minutes late but we do our work and we do it damn well.
      now part of the reason for that is most likely all of us in the company were friends before we started it and even better afterwards
    1. gthugballin's Avatar
      gthugballin -
      ^^^^ someones super serious
    1. Turb02's Avatar
      Turb02 -
      Quote Originally Posted by exNavy View Post
      People who are late 1 second deserve to be fired instantly in my not so humble opinion.
      You sir are out of your mind! People cannot control everything between their domicile and their place of employment. Good on you for not being late in 25+ years. That says a lot about the type of person you are (and your work ethic), but not everyone has your same drive.

      Ive worked in many different fields with different levels of leniency for late employees. 6 minutes late, 3 times in a 6 month span and youre fired/demoted/etc is rather harsh.
    1. Hosko817's Avatar
      Hosko817 -
      Quote Originally Posted by exNavy View Post
      "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."

      I'm NEVER late to work, going on 25+ years so what. People who are late 1 second deserve to be fired instantly in my not so humble opinion. Unless you were in an accident, your house is on fire or you had to go to the hospital, you have no excuse for being late. Some retail companies will fire you on the spot if they see your cell phone in your hands while on the clock. As it should be.

      I wonder what those apple stores are like that are the dumping grounds for those who are horrible sellers?
      whoa there hos! In my " not so humble opinion" if you have a job that fires or reprimands you for being a couple of minutes late, its not a very good job to begin with. I'm willing to bet your not one of the guys who buys into the "we're apple, we don't even own suits" mentality that sparks creativity and innovation.
    1. PatrickGSR94's Avatar
      PatrickGSR94 -
      never late in 25+ years makes me think you may have undertaken some possibly dangerous measures at one time or another, just to make sure you weren't late. It's not really worth risking your life and others over.
    1. Turb02's Avatar
      Turb02 -
      Quote Originally Posted by PatrickGSR94 View Post
      never late in 25+ years makes me think you may have undertaken some possibly dangerous measures at one time or another, just to make sure you weren't late. It's not really worth risking your life and others over.
      Might have something to do with his username... You'd better "hurry up and wait" for everything in the military.
    1. cpkirkley's Avatar
      cpkirkley -
      Quote Originally Posted by exNavy View Post
      "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."

      I'm NEVER late to work, going on 25+ years so what. People who are late 1 second deserve to be fired instantly in my not so humble opinion. Unless you were in an accident, your house is on fire or you had to go to the hospital, you have no excuse for being late. Some retail companies will fire you on the spot if they see your cell phone in your hands while on the clock. As it should be.

      I wonder what those apple stores are like that are the dumping grounds for those who are horrible sellers?
      Yikes, get over yourself. You can't expect anyone to actually believe that you've never been late ONE time in 25 years? If that's the case then you truly have nothing going on in your life and might as well kick the bucket already. I'll consider changing this stance if your in the military, but even if you are, then your disdain for civvies who, god forbid, have complicated schedules/responsibilites makes you a bit of a jerk.

      Between my wife, the shenanigans of my children, and the fickled public transportation system that shuttles me into manhattan every day - it is unrealistic to be on time everyday. I once was stuck in a subway car for 14 hours on my way to work, no fault of my own - it was 9/11. But outside of catastrophe and random acts of God/terrorism, I can think of 50 things that could make an honest hardworking person late. Do I make a habit of it? Absolutely not. But if my HR department tells me that the next time I'm 3 minutes late to a job where I consistently put 55 hours a week into - I'm going to politely ask them to kiss it before taking a permanent lunch.
    1. G113764's Avatar
      G113764 -
      [QUOTE=cpkirkley;6096325]Yikes, get over yourself. You can't expect anyone to actually believe that you've never been late ONE time in 25 years? If that's the case then you truly have nothing going on in your life and might as well kick the bucket already. I'll consider changing this stance if your in the military, but even if you are, then your disdain for civvies who, god forbid, have complicated schedules/responsibilites makes you a bit of a jerk.


      You said everything I was thinking, except the fact that he (if not in the Millitary) obviously hates his home life and can't wait to get back to work the next morning/shift. I love my home, and my wife, and I struggle to leave everyday (rarely ever late). Any company who cannot understand that 1.) I have a life outside the company; 2.) They don't own me; 3.) I have obligations and priorities at home; and 4.) I would choose my family over them in a heartbeat; can go choke on it. Being a trustworthy, dedicated employee does not mean that you have to be the "busy worker drone" until you eventually die at your desk. Try chilling out every now and then, it might prolong your life (if you even have one).