Disappointed with Apple Store customer service

If you’ve been reading my posts lately, you will have notice I’ve turned into an Apple fan.   I just love their design.

I was really excited when Perth got its first real Apple store.  Awesome!!!  No, I didn’t line up to be the first in on opening day, but I did visit it on opening day.

And so yesterday when I had a day off with the kids, we went into the city and made a pit stop at the Apple store.

Now, recently the mute button broke off my iPhone.  I thought that this would be a good opportunity to ask someone for help.

So I looked around the store.  An army of employees in blue T-shirts.  Most of them seemed busy with other customers.  Others looking busy behind a Mac.  Others seemed to be busy walking from point A to B.   Hmm…  Who do I approach?   There doesn’t seem to be a dedicated general customer service person or location.

So I walked up to the counter where you pay for stuff.   The dude there was busy and I couldn’t even make eye contact with him.  Some other Apple guy came out from the back and talked to him, then walked right past me – I couldn’t even make eye contact with him either!  So far, not so good.  I would’ve expected one of them to say “Hi”, that they’re busy and will get to me soon.

After more waiting and no employee even acknowledging my existence, I had to approach the guy at the counter myself and say, “Hi, I need some help”, explained my mute button is broken and what can I do.

“You need to make a Genius appointment”.

The guy then proceeds to lead me to a free Mac and tells me that I need to make an appointment on the computer and tries to show me how to do it.   Shouldn’t he be engaging me as the customer and booking the appointment for me?   ARGH! 

I’m wondering why couldn’t anyone quickly tell me if it’s something that they can fix or not or what the general fixing policy is or rates are?  Not sure if this is a widespread issue, but it would be nice if the floor staff can handle simple queries without needing to make a Genius appointment.  Now I have to go back into the store a second time 😦

2 thoughts on “Disappointed with Apple Store customer service”

  1. Sorry to hear about the confusion during your Apple store visit for Genius Bar service. Apple has a rather unique retail model, including reservations for obtaining product service at the Genius Bar. The assignment of employees in the store is a little more general, and in most stores there’s not a dedicated check-out or point-of-sale counter (employees use a special iPod touch for handling purchases by credit/debit card). You may have walked by a greeter near the front door, who would have directed you to the right place or even tried to make you a walk-in reservation using an iPad. But it’s usually difficult to squeeze in at the Genius Bar—always make a reservation the day before, if possible. There’s now even an “an app for that.” As for quick questions, grab any Specialist that’s not already engaged with a customer. If they don’t know the answer, they will famously track down the answer.

  2. Gary,

    Thanks for the reply – it may just be confusion on how the Apple store runs compared to other retail shops – whether that’s a good or bad thing. Luckily I’m already a “convert”, but if the Apple store is to be a comfortable experience for someone who’s never been in there before and is thinking of switching from a PC, it may all be a bit overwhelming.

    I’m not sure why, but I did have an expectation that I could just walk straight up the Genius Bar and get support straight away which would be pretty sweet. Or a ticketing system like Medicare/Ikea/butchers so general enquiries can be guaranteed to be addressed or at least placed in a queue when the store is really busy. Obviously I now know how it works and will make an appointment online instead.

    For me, my frustration is also that I think the problem with my iPhone is quite simple – it seriously would have taken 1-2 minutes for a Genius/Specialist to look at the snapped off mute button and say –

    “That’s not covered by warranty or a known product defect. If you want us to fix it, it will cost $x to fix for parts and labour and take y days. Our next available spot available is on z – would you like me to book it in?”


    “We’ve had a few other people with the same problem and the mute button on the iPhone 3G is not very strong. We’ll replace it for free for you. It will take y days. Our next available spot available is on z – would you like me to book it in?”

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