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Apple's New SVP of Retail Went Undercover as Regular Salesperson

MacRumors

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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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Apple CEO Tim Cook earlier this week explained that new Apple's new Senior Vice President of Retail, John Browett, was hired not to "bring Dixons to Apple", but instead "to bring Apple to an even higher level of customer service and satisfaction." In the initial press release announcing the hire, Cook went even further, saying that "John shares that commitment [to customer service] like no one else we've met."

Showcasing part of John Browett's dedication to customer service, MacRumors reader Paul Harmer passed along this story of a run-in he had with Browett in the UK:
Just a quick note about John Browett -

About a year ago I was with a friend in our local branch of PC World (part of the Dixons group) looking at plasma TVs. We were assisted by a really charming and knowledgable assistant, who I must admit appeared slightly better-dressed and older than most in the store. He must have spent at least 30 minutes with us, explaining the pros and cons of LCD vs plasma, and the best deals available. An excellent impression.

Turns out it was John Browett making one of his regular store visits, but we had to prise this out of him.

Hope he does well, genuinely impressive bloke, and this ties in with your comment about his passion for customer service. He means it!

Paul
In another example of how Browett may be a better fit for Apple than previously realized, Mr. Harmer emailed Dixons Group to share the story of his experience and received an email back from CEO John Browett himself:
Dear Paul,

Thank you for your kind comments.

Hope the TV works out well.

Happy new year

John
When Steve Jobs was CEO, he was known to occasionally respond to customer emails directly. Since he became CEO, Tim Cook has been doing the same.

John Browett begins at Apple in April.

Article Link: Apple's New SVP of Retail Went Undercover as Regular Salesperson
 

iMikeT

macrumors 68020
Jul 8, 2006
2,304
1
California
Maybe he was a good guy at the wrong company ?


Possibly. Then again, there are many good people at the right company as well and sometimes, the right company isn't doing all that well.

Personally, I'm not going to make any judgements yet as we far from seeing the results of his tenure at Apple.
 

alent1234

macrumors 603
Jun 19, 2009
5,688
169
is there any apple executive that wasn't made by apple in their secret human growing lab to be a perfect fit for only apple?

the hardcore ifans seem to be the most stupid people around. almost every single apple employee came to apple from another company that is not in the elite/snobby/top of their market. target, compaq, etc
 

RalfTheDog

macrumors 65832
Feb 23, 2010
1,501
258
Lagrange Point
Sometimes a bit of an outside perspective is a good thing. That is why I like to take my laptop out to the back yard when I have a hard bit of code to debug.
 

gazter

macrumors newbie
Jun 29, 2010
18
1
Well, Well, Well!!! It may turn out that we are all wrong about ole John boy!:D

I hold my hands up to pre judging him based on the shower of crap that the DSG is and still remains.

Yes, the irony. DSG are a plague on the people of the united kingdom. At one point they had the entire high street sown right up. PCWorld has an utterly atrocious reputation for customer service and honouring warranties.
 

kolax

macrumors G3
Mar 20, 2007
9,181
115
I do hope it turns out well in the end. I've been harsh of John in the other topics, but maybe in the right company, such as Apple, he can really shine. Dixons was always a shambles, before he was there.

If Steve Jobs had decided to become CEO of Microsoft, he would not have the same product lines or success. It's down to who else is at the company to share your visions and make them happen.

I'm still skeptical though.
 

RalfTheDog

macrumors 65832
Feb 23, 2010
1,501
258
Lagrange Point
Yes, the irony. DSG are a plague on the people of the united kingdom. At one point they had the entire high street sown right up. PCWorld has an utterly atrocious reputation for customer service and honouring warranties.

I am assuming DSG stands for Dixon Service Group or something? Unfortunately, we are not all from the UK and watching Dr. Who teaches us only so much about civilization.
 

WeegieMac

Guest
Jan 29, 2008
3,274
1
Glasgow, UK
I just don't get how Dixons could have continually been so bad up until the point it went online only, with this guy in charge, if he was so good.

Dixons, for years (and this goes back into my early 20's) had a reputation for being a morbid shopping experience, full of unknowledgeable staff and a sales pitch which made the suggestion of an extended warranty feel more uncomfortable and unwelcome rather than convenient and useful.

My point being, Dixons were like this BEFORE he joined and continued to be this way during his time and until they went online only. I bought my first iMac from PC World, part of the same group, and when I suggested I'd like an iMac the salesman insisted I try "this amazing Advent PC" instead. When I said no, he lost interest and literally walked away from me. At that time there was no Apple Store in Glasgow.

I applied to work Part Time at PC World during my time as a student (this is going back to 1999/00) and at the interview I was asked to describe to the manager, in "dumbed down terms" what RAM, a CPU, and "the upcoming DVD" was. I explained as simple as I could, in my eyes, and he said I had been TOO detailed. There are other details, such as how the view people who come in for one product and are "nudged" toward another, more expensive one with features they don't even need, but I won't go into that.

A truly horrible shopping experience and I can see nothing good from Dixons or PC World that this man can bring to Apple's already excellent retail stores. I mean, if the warranty system and forced attempts to make customers take out credit is the way forward for Apple, then I'm out.
 

spblat

macrumors 6502a
Jun 18, 2010
968
0
This story makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. It makes me want to love Apple all up.

My rational brain is therefore wanting to totally call BS.
 

dwright1974

macrumors 6502
Aug 13, 2007
382
93
UK
I am assuming DSG stands for Dixon Service Group or something? Unfortunately, we are not all from the UK and watching Dr. Who teaches us only so much about civilization.

Dixons Stores Group. The holding company of Currys, PC World and Dixons.co.uk

As others have said, renowned for terrible customer service, out of date stock and overpriced.

I have several stories as one of my friends used to work for them which prove this.


And perhaps ask nicer next time? Manners are universal.

HTH

- D
 

ConnorTurnbull

macrumors 6502
Aug 18, 2010
374
0
United Kingdom
It's wrong to think Browett is responsible for Dixons retail experience. If you actually look at his history, he did some good for Dixons and, as the article shows, cares a lot about customer service.

He didn't cause Dixons to be so bad, he helped them be slightly less. I think he'll be a great fit!
 

jedivulcan

macrumors 6502
May 15, 2007
402
7
Apple needs some undercover executives in street clothes more often scoping out their stores.
 

weckart

macrumors 603
Nov 7, 2004
5,179
2,565
Dixons Stores Group. The holding company of Currys, PC World and Dixons.co.uk

As others have said, renowned for terrible customer service, out of date stock and overpriced.

I have several stories as one of my friends used to work for them which prove this.


And perhaps ask nicer next time? Manners are universal.

HTH

- D

Also holding company of Pixmania. If you think Dixons is bad...
 

WeegieMac

Guest
Jan 29, 2008
3,274
1
Glasgow, UK
It's wrong to think Browett is responsible for Dixons retail experience. If you actually look at his history, he did some good for Dixons and, as the article shows, cares a lot about customer service.

He didn't cause Dixons to be so bad, he helped them be slightly less. I think he'll be a great fit!

Then why was it a hellish shopping experience before, during, and after his tenure? That's a genuine question, if it was so bad before he arrived (which it was), why did it not dramatically improve if he cared so much about customer service.

Customer Service was ALWAYS secondary to the sale and commisson at Dixons and PC World.
 

chrmjenkins

macrumors 603
Oct 29, 2007
5,322
154
CA
A lot of CEO's answer to the board.

Yes, but unless he was proposing big extra costs, why would they be opposed to a better customer image.

However, if he really did explain the merits of plasma vs. LCD to a customer for a half an hour, it's obvious he can grasp the technology and hopefully apply that to displaying it in a meaningful way and relaying information to the customer clearly and concisely.
 

Peace

Cancelled
Apr 1, 2005
19,546
4,552
Space The Only Frontier
Yes, but unless he was proposing big extra costs, why would they be opposed to a better customer image.

However, if he really did explain the merits of plasma vs. LCD to a customer for a half an hour, it's obvious he can grasp the technology and hopefully apply that to displaying it in a meaningful way and relaying information to the customer clearly and concisely.

You've obviously never been to a Wal-Mart in the USA.
 
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