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Published 29 August 2012 06:33, Updated 30 August 2012 04:16
Banned ... A screenshot showing words Apple Genius Bar staffers are told they shouldn’t use. Source: Gizmodo
Apple’s reputation as a control freak extends to the geeks who staff its retail Genius Bars where negativity is verboten.
That’s the revelation from tech website Gizmodo, which managed to get its hands on Apple’s secret Genius training manual, a lengthy document that schools workers on everything from body language to empathy and how to correct fellow workers.
It also contains a list of words Geniuses are banned from using, lest they convey negativity. Among them:
The manual also contains some practical examples of how to avoid negativity in conversations. Writes Gizmodo’s Sam Biddle, “Correcting a mistaken or confused customer should be accomplished using the phrase ‘turns out,’ which Apple says ‘takes you out of the middle of an issue,’ and also makes the truth seem like something that you just arrived at serendipitously.
The manual is also big on empathy, telling Geniuses to apply what it calls the three Fs: feel, felt and found. An example:
Customer: I want an iPad, but I need a mouse. I can’t deal with all this touching.
Genius: I may know how you feel. I’m a mouse fan and felt as if I’d never get used [to it] but I found it becomes very easy with a little practice.
To some the tips in the user guide might seem a little heavy handed, or even vaguely Orwellian, but there’s no doubting they work. So much so that Apple has attracted some unwanted attention in recent weeks with staffing changes at its glitzy stores.
Responding to a MacRumors report, Apple this month was forced to acknowledge that it “messed up” adjusting is staffing regimen.
According to a Dow Jones Newswires story, Apple’s recently-appointed senior vice president of retail John Browett implemented changes including cuts to hourly shifts, which he then reversed with, according to sources, an instruction for leadership teams to tell employees “we messed up”.
“Making these changes was a mistake and the changes are being reversed,” Dow Jones quoted Apple spokeswoman Kristin Huguet. “Our employees are our most important asset and the ones who provide the world-class service our customers deserve.”