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Old Feb 13, 2008, 07:32 PM   #1
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How Helpful Is the Apple Genius Bar?




Category: Apple Services
Link: How Helpful Is the Apple Genius Bar?
Description:: We went out to the Apple Store in New York City to see just how helpful its Genius Bar really is.

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Old Feb 13, 2008, 07:33 PM   #2
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I left the title as they have it on their website, although it's not a story about how helpful the genius bar is, but instead an overview of a visit to the store in general. The genius bar is a different experience than just walking in off the street looking for a bit of assistance on what product would fit you best.
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Old Feb 13, 2008, 08:07 PM   #3
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My Genius Bar Experience.

I have to say, I had a wonderful experience with Apple's Genius Bar at its store in Schaumburg, Illinois back in August 2007. My Macbook's hard drive had failed and I took it in along with my applecare box to get it fixed. ***On apples site there is a place to where you can reserve at time at the genius bar, and I strongly recommend you do that*** I had my reservation, and my name was called about 10 minutes after the time I had reserved, given the amount of people at the desk. They diagnosed the problem, tried booting off one of their image disk and asked me if I had backed everything up (which I did ). ***DO back up your stuff if you go in, it will make it go much faster*** I sat around and played with an iPhone display as they repaired my Macbook, which took about 30 minutes.

I'd say, if you have a problem, grab a reservation, regularly back up your important files, and it'll be a breeze.

a link to the reservation site:
http://www.apple.com/retail/geniusbar/
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Old Feb 13, 2008, 08:38 PM   #4
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Yes, I have to echo the first person about this post not being about the Genius Bar. I'd give the author the benefit of the doubt not knowing the terminology (because, after all, people around the stores also have "Genius" tags around their necks), but then there's a picture of the Genius Bar right in the article!

Of a personal note, I've found the people working the Genius Bar to actually be more knowledgeable than the sales staff (not that sales staff don't know their stuff). They also quickly adapt to customer knowledge... unlike Dell tech support who insist on asking if you've tried connecting the power cord when it's blatantly clear from your questions that you're a computer geek and tried all the idiot-proof things. Also, Mac Geniuses are free.
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Old Feb 13, 2008, 08:50 PM   #5
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Compare it Best Buy and Circuit City?

When I did own an HP that I bought from Circuit City and brought it in because a fan had broke they weren't helpful at all. One guy told I had to ship to HP itself which would have royally sucked because it 17lbs and just left me there. Good luck getting help from Circuit City too, because all the ones I've been too have high school kids that have to man the whole store and aren't specialized in anything.

I go into Apple because my battery dies and they replace it right there with a brand new one. Unfair review of Apples Genius Bar, but what are you going to do with people that don't know what Apple's really about.
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Old Feb 13, 2008, 09:26 PM   #6
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I own pretty much everything Apple sells. Their customer service sucks. If you don't know how to navigate a store, have one to one or pro care you can be left waiting way too much time.

I really like the idea of making an appointment, however they need one queue for walk-in traffic, cause when your system is broken and you just spent 3k on a new laptop, no matter who you are.... YOU DESERVE TO GET IT FIXED.
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Old Feb 13, 2008, 10:00 PM   #7
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Your mileage may vary...

I've been to Apple Stores in California and Florida, and even in a smallish sample space, it's obvious that (a) Apple Stores differ in how well and quickly they satisfy troubled customers, and (b) Apple staffers (on line, on the phone, on the store floor, and behind the Genius Bar) differ in their depth and breadth of knowledge and ability to help a troubled customer.

So, try one, don't like the outcome, try another.

The good ones are, in my opinion, superior to almost all other retail establishments in customer service. And I find that I do better with face-to-face discussions than on-line or telephonic conversations.

I've had major repairs done quicker than promised, at Apple stores; I've had repairs done there fail and get re-done without argument or quibble, and with apologies. I've had technical discussions about things nobody was sure about, but which could be reasoned through with sufficient technical expertise in those discussing it, and some of those people were Apple staffers (think Unix internals, here).

I've also been told things that were demonstrably incorrect by folks on the phone and on-line, who were also Apple staffers.

So, like many other things, "it depends" tends to be a correct answer.

Tom
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Old Feb 13, 2008, 10:43 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mudbug View Post
I left the title as they have it on their website, although it's not a story about how helpful the genius bar is, but instead an overview of a visit to the store in general. The genius bar is a different experience than just walking in off the street looking for a bit of assistance on what product would fit you best.
Yeah, I was looking for a report on the genius bar and did not find one. The writer also claimed the Apple store employee made a mistake saying they might need a 2.6 GHz processor, when there wasn't a laptop with that processor speed available. In fact the writer is incorrect, the MBP is 2.6 GHz BTO, and I think some stores have them in stock. The writer also said there was no pressure to "by" anything.

While I thought the writer gave a fairly honest real-life impression of what talking to Apple store employees is like (the HD-DVD playback part was somewhat disturbing), these little mistakes bothered me.

-Ado
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Old Feb 13, 2008, 11:58 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adokimus View Post
Yeah, I was looking for a report on the genius bar and did not find one. The writer also claimed the Apple store employee made a mistake saying they might need a 2.6 GHz processor, when there wasn't a laptop with that processor speed available. In fact the writer is incorrect, the MBP is 2.6 GHz BTO, and I think some stores have them in stock. The writer also said there was no pressure to "by" anything.

While I thought the writer gave a fairly honest real-life impression of what talking to Apple store employees is like (the HD-DVD playback part was somewhat disturbing), these little mistakes bothered me.

-Ado
I did not find the author to be particularly well-researched. The misnomer on the article was way off, as has been mentioned, and as you say, the author is the one who is actually misinformed on the availability of a 2.6 GHz MBP. Moreover:

Quote:
Originally Posted by the article
She told us the difference between the MacBook Air and the regular MacBook's processors is that the Air's is slower. True, but it's also much smaller.
While this is accurate information, the author suggests that there is a difference. There's not. the processor is actually the same, just stamped on a smaller socket connection.

That was pretty bad about not knowing about lack of HD-DVD support, though.

We're only human. Apple can do its best, but retail employees aren't all going to know everything that we do here on the boards. I don't have much use for retail employees other than at checkout (and of course the Genius Bar for service). I do my research beforehand using places like this site, various stores on the internet, etc. As they say in the article, you should always get a second opinion when you're buying a laptop, and I would say that second opinion shouldn't be another employee--try the internet.

The biggest plus is that they don't pressure you to buy. I value that a lot.
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Old Feb 14, 2008, 07:22 AM   #10
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I think it varies a lot depending on who actually works in the store. When I visited the Mayfair store in Milwaukee's suburb of Wauwatosa, the service was terrible. It didn't made that I had to drive three and a half hours, they were going to help me according to their schedule. After close to 40 minutes I just walked out. I have to say, it seemed like the store was staffed with a bunch of arrogant little punks who thought you should be happy to just be in the presence of Apple.

The new store in Madison, I got noticed almost as soon as I got in the store. I may not be exactly pleased with what I bought, but the service was outstanding.
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Old Feb 14, 2008, 07:30 AM   #11
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You gotta realize the big difference here. The dudes working at a Genius bar are not only trained by Apple at some large secret Genius training facility out in the desert, but are working at the Apple Store because they're somewhat of a fanboy themselves - even so far as having grown up with Apples.

The guys working at the Circuit City need beer money, and it doesn't go much farther than that. They have no brand loyalty at all.
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Old Feb 14, 2008, 09:58 AM   #12
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You gotta realize the big difference here. The dudes working at a Genius bar are not only trained by Apple at some large secret Genius training facility out in the desert, but are working at the Apple Store because they're somewhat of a fanboy themselves - even so far as having grown up with Apples.

The guys working at the Circuit City need beer money, and it doesn't go much farther than that. They have no brand loyalty at all.
When looking for an objective view from which to base my electronic purchases on, I actually prefer no brand loyalty at all.

That said, both Best Buy and Circuit City have their own "genius bars" at the back of their stores that handle repairs and generally know a great deal more technical information than the sales people on the floor. The same holds true for Apple. While it varies from store to store, I've have some bad experiences with Apple store employees who don't have a clue. These people were not trained in any desert. As one of the other posters mentioned, it's best to find out your own information (generally from the internet) before showing up.

-Ado
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Old Feb 14, 2008, 10:12 AM   #13
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Wow - small sample size much? They talk to one sales associate on the floor and believe that somehow gives them enough data to draw a conclusion about the Apple Store's level of service in general?
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Old Feb 14, 2008, 10:59 AM   #14
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Wow - small sample size much? They talk to one sales associate on the floor and believe that somehow gives them enough data to draw a conclusion about the Apple Store's level of service in general?
Indeed. Add that to the list of complaints I have with the writer's thoroughness. Of course, I've had FAR WORSE experiences than this writer did with Apple store employees on multiple occassions. The lack of pressure to purchase is nice though, and has been pretty universal to my experiences. Apple store employees are usually pretty pleasant as well (especially considering how packed the stores are and the people they deal with). That's why I ask my questions on MRs and go to the store to look or to buy.
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Old Feb 14, 2008, 11:17 AM   #15
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Every electronics salesperson i have ever encountered has told me exactly what they thought I wanted to hear, no matter how utterly outlandish.

Two days ago, I wandered past the MacBook Pros in best buy and stopped to play with one of them, cue for the salesguy sneak attack. "Interested in a MacBook Pro?" he says.

I said "Yes, but do you think they might be updating them any time soon?"

And he looked me right in the eye and said absolutely not, this model was just released this year. Not "within the past year." This year.

And after he was gone, i looked at the specs, and realized that the one on display was not even the mid-2007 MBP, it was the late-2006 MBP. Selling for $200 less, mind you, but not listed as clearance or anything.
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Old Feb 14, 2008, 11:19 AM   #16
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From comments I've read, it appears to be a mixed bag. Some people are more than happy while others are not ..
The old saying "You can't please all of the people all of the time" springs to mind.
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Old Feb 14, 2008, 11:31 AM   #17
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Quote:
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From comments I've read, it appears to be a mixed bag. Some people are more than happy while others are not ..
The old saying "You can't please all of the people all of the time" springs to mind.
What also spring to mind is that Apple Stores are like most other retailers when it comes to customer service. It all depends on who is helping you and how good the training is.
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Old Feb 14, 2008, 11:31 AM   #18
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From comments I've read, it appears to be a mixed bag. Some people are more than happy while others are not ..
The old saying "You can't please all of the people all of the time" springs to mind.
I believe it's more the case of "you can't please one person all of the time." From my own experiences and what I've read here, it's a mixed bag of what you get with sales employees, and Apple is no better at this than Best Buy. I don't think any of the stores are consistent in the quality of service their sales people provide. To say "you can't please all of the people all of the time" implies that Apple made the conscious decision to give sub-par sales advice, that the sub-par advise is consistent throughout all of the stores, and that some people are pleased with it. I think it's just poor management.
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Old Feb 14, 2008, 11:32 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by incoherent1 View Post
Yes, I have to echo the first person about this post not being about the Genius Bar. I'd give the author the benefit of the doubt not knowing the terminology (because, after all, people around the stores also have "Genius" tags around their necks), but then there's a picture of the Genius Bar right in the article!

Of a personal note, I've found the people working the Genius Bar to actually be more knowledgeable than the sales staff (not that sales staff don't know their stuff). When I called, they also quickly adapt to customer knowledge... unlike Dell tech support who insist on asking if you've tried connecting the power cord when it's blatantly clear from your questions that you're a computer geek and tried all the idiot-proof things. Also, Mac Geniuses are free.
This alone separates apple from competitors. You can reserve and walk into a store to get some support and speak to a person face to face!

I did have some issues with an ipod nano. The first time I went into the store, I was told that I could swap the device if it was broken, which it was. I didn't since I wanted to keep the engraving. I was told to call apple. They told me that it would cost 30 something dollars for shipping. (It was under warranty). So I went back to the store thinking the swap would be free. I was then told it wasn't free and there was a handling fee of 29.99. SO I ended up buying apple care and having apple send me an engraved nano.
BUT I got to speak to someone regarding the issue and I got it resolved.

Jeff
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Old Feb 14, 2008, 04:20 PM   #20
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This story is moronic.

The reporter didn't talk to a "Genius". He said he hung out in the MacBook section until a salesperson approached him. I've been to many Apple Stores and the Genius Bar is nowhere near the MacBook section. Geniuses are there to help you with technical and training issues, not sales.

Also, it appears that the sales staff is trained NOT to pounce on you the moment you walk into the store. Between dinging the Apple Store for not swarming him, and the fact that he thinks that every employee is called a "genius" shows that the reporter is so ignorant and biased that this story ought to be ignored altogether.
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