I recently visited an Apple Store to get my MacBook Pro’s “butterfly” keyboard replaced. After the visit I received a survey asking about the experience. I ended up writing a long (considering the context) critique, and thought I’d also post it here.
It’s too noisy and chaotic. The chaotic feeling is partially due to the noise, but also because the design of the store doesn’t offer affordances for customers with differing levels of experience and differing priorities.
When I go to an Apple store, I generally have a sense of urgency, otherwise, I’d be handling things through the Internet and mail.
I’ve been to the Apple store for service 2-3 times in the past 12-24 months, and yet, I’m still not confident in my understanding of what needs to happen when I’m in the store. Where do I need to go? Who do I need to talk to? Is that a black shirt, or a dark navy blue shirt?
I go to an Apple store because I have some sort of problem I need to solve, either with a purchase, or by getting service or tech support. When I walk through the door, I should start feeling calmer. Instead, I feel more agitated. When I leave, I should feel, if not satisfied, then at least relieved. Instead I have lingering agitation.
There are too many people doing too many things in an undifferentiated space. I imagine that having classes sharing that space is supposed to invite people in to the session. Maybe it does, but it also adds amplified noise to the entire space. The fractured repetition of a Garage Band class is literally crazy-making for those in the service/support area. It makes conversations difficult, and makes waits seem longer.
I am happy, though, with the latitude that the support staffer had to make things right with the manufacturing defects in my out-of warranty computer. I’d prefer the keyboard just worked and the screen didn’t have growing blemishes, but one of the reasons I stick with Apple is that I know you’ll make things right.