An internal Apple training manual, intended for use by employees who are about to assume the role of Genius in an Apple Retail Store, was recently leaked to Gizmodo, the tech site reported Tuesday. The document contains materials intended to supplement the on-site Genius training that occurs at Apple campuses around the country.
Areas covered by the manual include technical information on repairing Apple computers and devices, guidelines for interacting with customers, and rules for employee conduct. Depending on one’s view of Apple Retail, the contents of the manual are either completely expected or alarmingly distressing.
According to the sections outlined by Gizmodo, Apple employees are given training on how to approach, analyze, and coax a customer into make a purchase. Yes, even Genii are expected to offer customers additional Apple products and services while they perform technical support.
In other words, and this may be shocking to some individuals, the primary goal of Apple employees is to encourage customers to buy things. Part of achieving this goal is a detailed and, as Boy Genius Report points out, “Church of Scientology-like” series of lessons on how to react to various situations.
Examples of these lessons include breaking down various forms of body language into “positive” and “negative” categories and providing soulless sounding suggestions for how to respond to customer inquiries. The examples in the manual are indeed a bit unnerving, but with tens of thousands of retail employees around the world, Apple likely feels that such lessons are the most effective way to mold all of their diverse employees into a relatively uniform face for the company.
While the ethics of such a training program are certainly debatable, their effectiveness is not. The information revealed in the manual is not new, or part of some uncharacteristic scheme that Apple Retail VP John Browett is “testing.” Apple Retail employees have been trained with similar materials for years, and Apple has created the most successful retail operation in history.
It’s unclear how Gizmodo obtained the manual, but Apple has a long history of departmentalizing internal information. Documents such as this Genius Training Manual are often slightly modified for each batch that is distributed, so that any leaks can be traced back to the source. We don’t know who provided Gizmodo with the information, but if it was a current or former Apple employee, we would not be surprised if somewhere deep inside Apple’s Cupertino headquarters their name is currently on a short list of possible transgressors.
Teaser graphic made with help from Shutterstock.