“We believe in the simple, not the complex.” Tim Cook, CEO, Apple
Recently, I was in the Apple Store to diagnose a computer problem, which actually resulted in my needing a new machine. Long story short, I was in the store for quite awhile while restoring from my backup. The people-watching was fantastic; the employee-watching, even better.
Those of you who have been in an Apple Store know how streamlined and simple the concept is. You walk in and are met by a person holding an iPad that checks you in. If you have an appointment for service you are given a “seat at the bar” and assigned a person to help you. If
you are interested in buying a device, you are told to stand someplace specific and an associate will find you as soon as they are available. I was the “tall girl with the big purse,” which I’m sure they hoped equated to the size of my wallet and its contents.
There are no checkout counters, no lines, no cash registers. Any associate in the store can checkout your purchase on their iPhone. Although, there is a designated checkout guy standing with his iPhone behind a velvet rope (I hope I’m on the list). A very simple system, confusing to many first-timers as I observed, but it works like a charm. Until I overhear something ominous coming from the earpiece of my dedicated helper: “The system is down.”
The words were still hanging in the air when a drawer, hidden under one of the sleek tables, was accessed by key by the manager. Out they came: old-school credit card imprint machines. I had pictured them in a glass case with a dangling hammer: “In case of emergency, break glass.” But there they were–at the ready.
I was in shock. Would Steve Jobs approve of such archaic implements co-mingling with his elegant, powerful, work-of-art machines?
I was in an alternate universe. A line formed immediately of people holding boxes of cutting edge technology, waiting their turn to get a carbon imprint of their card, to use a real ballpoint pen, to give a real signature. That’s it, the world was ending–I was sure of it.
But surprisingly, the world kept turning. Checkouts were still happening quickly, customers were still happy, and the store was still taking money in at a rate of thousands per minute. The team was flawless–some even having fun with the situation and relishing in the irony. The positive customer experience was intact. I even got some additional value: the sheer entertainment of it all, and the opportunity to see a truly focused customer service team in action.
Well done, Apple Store team at SouthPark Mall!