Rotten Apple…

Recently, the dude over at 2 Oceans Vibe (Seth Rotheram) tried to purchase an iPod at the V&A Waterfront Apple iStore down here in sunny ol’ Cape Town. At the point of purchase, he was gated from going home with his item because he refused to give the sales clerk his phone number.

God alone knows why they needed the phone number. Did they want to call him later to find out if he got home OK? And why was it so vital to completing the sales process? Theories from marketing opportunities to CRM were batted about – but the bottom line is, nothing as trivial as phone number should prevent a sale.

Seth blogged his experience and the 67 comments that followed all pointed to one thing: people would like the Apple iStore experience even more (and appreciate the brand even more), if they could do away with the incompetent staff and the ridiculous purchase requirements.

In fact, tales abound of Apple iStore’s stand-offish, unhelpful staff members ignoring customers…

In an age where every client interaction with a brand is vital, it’s crazy to think that a brand like Apple could treat their customers like this – especially since part of their angle is that they’re more personable than Microsoft.

That’s one reason why I use Ubuntu – it’s powered by a competent community who know their product and are willing to help you out at any time and at no charge to themselves…other than their time.


PS: Seth got his iPod from a competing retailer. And they didn’t  bother to ask him if he even owned a phone…


6 thoughts on “Rotten Apple…

  1. To be fair, this isn’t entirely Apple’s doing. They don’t yet have an established SA arm – their presence in SA is managed by a local distributor, and I’d be very surprised if all those requirements were global/Apple necessities. It could also just be a question of poorly trained or uninformed staff – which – while it reflects poorly on Apple being able to manage their chain of command – is again more of a reflection on whoever’s running things for them on this end.

  2. Ok, let’s assume that Apple has no responsibility for training their staff.

    Surely there’s a minimum level of common sense that dictates that perhaps if it’s simply a phone number that’s preventing a sale, it’s more profitable to let it slide? Regardless of the training, the brand service positioning or anything else, there must be somewhere in the addled brain of even the stupidest retail salesperson, a basic understanding that above all else, it’s good to make the sale? And that if there’s an issue preventing the sale, to call the manager to help find a solution?

    Then again, this is Cape Town and retail salespeople here are dimmer than most.

  3. All your points are totally valid, but that’s not what your post was about. I was just saying that it’s not entirely fair to tar Apple with the kak-service brush when it’s not directly their doing!

    • The post was about a poor service experience at the hands of a brand that should know better. There was a failure to live up to expectation on the brand’s part. And one would expect that anyone who works for or is responsible for such a brand in any form and at any level would be cogniscent of the brand’s image in that regard. Or do you not agree? 🙂

  4. Of course I agree, but you’re still missing my point. And I’m not about to start Arguing On the Internet. It kills fairies. We can do this over a coffee next week? 😀

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