The Genius behind Apple’s Genius Bar
Gradually, all aspects of the purchasing experience are moving online. It started with call centres to answer any problems with your purchase. Closely following this was the opportunity to do all your research online. Then came online shopping. And thanks to courier delivery, there is barely a need to set foot outside your door. However, the Apple experience bucks this trend and it is certainly paying great dividends for them!
The online experience works for plenty of people. There are those individuals who have done copious amounts of research, know exactly what they are getting and are happy to be physically removed from the purchasing process. With that in mind, all Apple devices are available for purchase online and troubleshooting can easily be accessed through their ever expanding support forum.
But the online experience doesn’t work for everyone. There are plenty of consumers who want to try products before they buy, figure out which option suits their needs and received detailed answers to their multitude of questions. And this is where the physical Apple presence separates itself from the competition!
I want to focus on one aspect in particular . . . The Genius Bars.
These personal counters have been the target of ridicule from many popular televisions including a rather memorable scene from The Big Bang Theory where uber-intelligent Sheldon refuses to take a job at the Apple store because he doesn’t want to contribute to the devaluation of the term genius. But when it comes to marketing, these Genius Bars are . . . well, genius.
Technical support is increasingly off-shored outside Australia. While this has resulted in a decrease of the overall cost of the product, it does add the possibility of an exceedingly long and frustrating phone call as consumers try to explain the exact nature of their problem and receive advice from someone who is a significant distance away from their malfunctioning device.
This is not the case with Apple.
Not only has their technical assistance remained in Australia, their technical assistance has remained personal. The opportunity to sit down with a member of staff and receive one-on-one tuition is a method which has formed the foundation for effective learning in schooling. When you didn’t understand a problem or question, you simply went to visit a teacher or tutor who explained it to you in a personal way promoting understanding. This is exactly the same process which happens at a Genius Bar.
Retaining that personal component ensures understanding by the consumer and growth of their technical knowledge through demonstrations and the ability to ask questions and rewind their instructors. This is certainly important for consumers to get the most out of their device and, consequently, the most out of their experience with this brand’s products.
But more importantly, it decreases the psychological cost of purchasing from Apple and goes a long way to creating long-term satisfied consumers. Knowing that there will be a clear, simple and free support network, as technology advances rapidly and leaves increasing numbers of consumers behind, is a great way to decrease a potential consumer’s fear of purchasing a device with which they may encounter future problems.
These Genius Bars are proof that even the technology industry cannot be completely taken over by technology. That human element is an essential element of service and a powerful aspect which can pull life-long consumers into a long-term relationship!