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Print 37 comment(s) - last by TakinYourPoint.. on Aug 29 at 3:17 PM

Apple's new retail chief looks to trim the fat

Odd things have been happening at Apple retail stores over the last few weeks. Earlier this month, reports started surfacing that a number of retail workers at Apple store locations had been laid off. Apple responded to those reports by saying that it had "messed up" in its retail hiring formula but hadn't laid anyone off. 
 
"Making these changes was a mistake and the changes are being reversed," said Kristin Huguet, Apple spokeswoman, at the time. "Our employees are our most important asset and the ones who provide the world-class service our customers deserve."
 
However, reports are coming in that Apple stores are seeing their budgets cut, and a bigger emphasis is being placed on revenue. With a market cap of well over $600B and record profits quarter after quarter, it seems a bit odd to be placing such a heavy focus on revenue and cutting the budget of its retail outlets which have historically been very customer friendly. ifoAppleStore.com reports that employees still haven't received an official explanation of changes made in staffing levels, and that signs continue that Apple is focusing on revenues and profit instead of customer satisfaction.
 
According to sources cited by ifoAppleStore.com, employee performance standards have been modified to place an emphasis on sales functions. Reports also indicate that more small products will be stocked at Apple retail stores and several budget categories for the retail outlets have been cut, including the budget for store maintenance.
 
Sources say that workers are allegedly being evaluated based on the number of contracts sales for iPhones they're able to generate and a number of "essentials per hero product" sold with each product such as cases, and accessories. The sources also indicate that the number of training areas in stores is being reduced to accommodate the extra small products and accessories.

Sources: IFO Apple Store, Apple Insider



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RE: I'm sorry
By Argon18 on 8/28/2012 11:53:27 AM , Rating: 3
That's just not true. I suspect you've never been into an Apple store. Baseless slandering if all you're doing, and its shameful and dishonest.

I've dropped out of the Apple ecosystem, I no longer use any of their products. But when I did, the in-store experience was generally phenomenal. The workers really bend over backwards to help you, which is a very rare quality indeed, especially these days.

I bought a Macbook Pro used, off of craigslist, and the power cord was fraying on the end of it. I brought it in to the store, and they replaced it for me, for FREE. It's a $90 power supply they gave me for free. They didn't owe me anything, I bought it used from craigslist.

I bought my mother an iPad for Christmas a few years ago. A few months AFTER the warranty expired, it started acting flaky. She brought it into the store and they gave her a BRAND NEW iPad2, right there on the spot. Free replacement, free upgrade, and all after the warranty had already expired.

I'm a Linux guy now, no more Apple for me, but the in-store experiences I've had there were refreshing, certainly better than any other electronics retailer in the US.


RE: I'm sorry
By FITCamaro on 8/28/2012 12:53:22 PM , Rating: 1
Where did I say their in-store experience was poor?

I was commenting on the fact that the article says they're cutting back staff that undoubtedly will affect their customer service.


RE: I'm sorry
By ritualm on 8/28/2012 3:35:42 PM , Rating: 2
Any chances Apple Retail Stores will head down the same well-trodden path as Best Buy?

Ya know, the company that finally owned up to the fact that pushing revenue over customer service simply does not work in the retail game.


RE: I'm sorry
By FITCamaro on 8/28/2012 3:56:09 PM , Rating: 1
Pretty much all retail stores have terrible customer service now driven by our high minimum wage and the state of the economy.


RE: I'm sorry
By jeff834 on 8/29/2012 7:15:36 AM , Rating: 2
You must have been living in a cave before 2008. If the poor customer service in retail stores is driven by the high minimum wage and the state of the economy, how do you explain the poor customer service that existed when the minimum wage was lower and retail sales were at record highs?

The reason you have poor customer service in retail is not because businesses are paying their employees too much, it's because they aren't paying them enough. Salespeople used to work on commission years ago. Sure you had to be a little more wary of BS artists, but they actually gave a crap whether or not you bought something and they wanted you to be happy so you would come back to them or recommend them to friends.

Best Buy was a big part of changing that model, because they realized they could hire barely literate teenagers at nearly minimum wage and ride them about numbers and make a bigger profit. Back in the day, when stores with commissioned salespeople still existed, you would have no trouble getting help with something. Go into a Best Buy and try to get help, you practically have to set up a bear trap and hope you catch an unsuspecting employee.

I'm not a fan of Apple really, but I guarantee the people working in their stores are knowledgeable about the products and make more than minimum wage. Although I would guess it's probably still not a livable wage, let alone one you could plan retirement on.


"Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment -- same piece of hardware -- paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be." -- Steve Ballmer














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