Apple Revamps Its Genius Bar for a Better Customer Experience
The Apple Concierge system makes life easier for walk-in customers whose time is of the essence
Apple’s Genius Bar has had an incredible run, providing appointment-based customer service, repairs and consultations out of Apple’s retail stores since 2001.
With a great interface for making appointments that combines Apple’s obsession with the perfect customer experience with a personalized touch, it’s hard to see how it could get much better. Starting this month, however, Apple is embracing the technology almost everyone is now carrying in their pockets to make the Genius Bar appointment process even easier for those with busy schedules, minimize frustration for those with urgent tech problems, and—to Apple’s benefit—get customers spending more time in the store.
The new Concierge initiative aims to improve the customer experience at the stores for people who don’t like to plan, in particular.
Employees already use iPads and iPhones as pagers to order products for customers and set up Genius Bar service, and this revamp expands on that convention. Instead of making an appointment and/or waiting in a long line, customers describe their problem to a concierge on site, who puts it into a special iPad application. This app uses a special algorithm to triage the customer’s problem, sending it to the front or back of the queue according to priority. A broken device screen, for example, will get higher priority than someone needing one-on-one help with GarageBand.
Now customers’ devices get to get in on the fun—if they’re still functioning, of course. This is the aspect of the initiative that’s meant to keep customers shopping in the store–without anxiously glancing back at the Genius Bar queue. On their phone, they get:
- An initial text message confirming the Genius Bar request and providing the wait time
- A text message telling the customer to start heading back to the Apple Store
- A final text message telling the customer that their technician is ready to help and where they can be located in the store
Spearheaded by Retail Senior Vice President Angela Ahrendts, the experience was test-driven in several smaller markets and is now being brought to a wider audience. The online appointment-making process remains unchanged, however, so if your schedule is consistent, there’s always old reliable.