Apple Store employee says job is now all about pushing services

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2016 MacBook Pro with Touch Bar
Employee says Apple Store staff now pushed to sell services like AppleCare.
Photo: Apple

An anonymous Apple Store employee says that people who work in the stores have become more like “car salesmen or Best Buy employees.”

The disgruntled employee says that Apple’s shift to services means that staff are pushed to sell add-ons like AppleCare.

The comments come from Chris Matyszczyk’s “Technically Incorrect” column for ZDNet.

“Management has their own agenda and is extremely superficial in relation to employees,” the employee told Matyszczyk. “The past month we are pushing AppleCare as if we are car salesmen or Best Buy employees. Our downloads morning meetings are juvenile games as to the pushing of Applecare+.” In the future, he expects there to be a big push to sell Apple Card. “I’m sure the next metric will be pushing Apple Cards.”

The employee doesn’t sound too happy about his/her time working at Apple Stores. “Store leaders and senior managers benefit from metrics, but employees see no benefit,” they said. “There’s no holiday bonus and no incentive. And as for promotions, they’re a joke.”

They also complain about the quality of employees that Apple gets. “Tenured employees are, for the most part, barely making more per hour than inexperienced ‘new hires’,” the employee said. “In our market, if you worked at Starbucks or Target, it’s very easy to get a job at our Apple Store.”

Apple Store: services are the new frontier

This isn’t the first time Matyszczyk has leveled similar claims against Apple Stores. A similar story from the start of this year criticized former retail head Angela Ahrendts’ reign as being “the revolution that never was.” Despite sales volume dipping, retail staff were supposedly given tougher targets to meet.

Ultimately, I’m not sure what to draw from this. It’s worth remembering that it’s one (anonymous) person’s opinion. Anecdotally, I’ve got friends who work in Apple Stores and love it. Even if these complaints are correct, that also makes Apple no different from 99% of other big retailers.

But it does raise an interesting point. Apple Stores were created to be experiential. There was enough of an interest in Apple during the early 2000s that iPods and Macs pretty much sold themselves. You just needed a knowledgable staff member to nudge people in the right direction.

Today, there are more Apple Stores than ever. That diminishes the pool of really knowledgeable staff who are available to work in each one. Meanwhile, as Services become a bigger part of Apple’s business, there’s going to be more of a push to make people aware of them.

My gut feeling is that Apple Stores are never going to be quite the amazing breath of fresh air they were 15 years ago. But they’re still better than many retailers.

What’s your assessment of the changing face of Apple Stores? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.