In 2000, Steve Jobs has a problem. How could he sell more Apple products without becoming dependent on major retailers? His solution? Build his own store.
But he realizes that retail experience is usually terrible. So he decides to interview people and ask a simple question: “Where do you have your best customer service experiences?”
The common answers: Upscale hotels like the Four Seasons or Ritz Carlton. Now what do these hotels do?
Now, what about the people behind the counter? At Apple, these employees are known as “Geniuses”. Steve Jobs and former Target exec Ron Johnson realize that the Geniuses are the key to the success of the store.
So they create a recruiting and training program. Step 1: The Interview Process Most retail stores are desperate to hire people. Not Apple. You have 2 intense rounds of interviews with questions on leadership, problem-solving, and enthusiasm for Apple products.
The craziest part? You receive 0 commission for selling any Apple products. As one employee says, “You were never trying to close a sale. It was about finding solutions for a customer and finding their pain points.”
Step 2: Training You get the job and receive a manual called the “Genius Training Student Handbook” In it are the Apple Steps of Service for customer delight:
A: Approach customers with a personalized warm welcome P: Probe politely to understand all the customer’s needs P: Present a solution for the customer to take home today L: Listen for an resolve any issues or concerns E: End with a fond farewell and invitation to return
On your first day you are initiated through a process called “clapping in”. When you arrive, all existing employees start clapping And keep clapping. Until you join in. It marks your initiation to the team. This creates a sense of community and commitment.
The Genius Training Manual also teaches you how to manage human psychology: Like the three F’s. – Feel – Felt – Found
Example: Customer: This Mac is just too expensive. Genius: I can see how you’d FEEL this way. I FELT the price was a little high, but I FOUND it’s a real value because of all the built-in software and capabilities.
The result? Apple Genius employees are committed and empathetic. And have 1 main job: Make you happy and solve your problems. “Apple is in the relationship business as much as the computer business.” – Ron Johnson
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