Apple SVP of retail, John Browett, addresses Apple Stores, stresses people and service

Apple's new senior vice president of retail, John Browett, gave his quarterly address to Apple Store employees last night. While normally routine and not exactly newsy, it follows a series of staffing and PR gaffs that have raised concerns about Browett's role and Apple's devotion to its experience-over-profit model. Mark Gurman from 9to5Mac scored a recording of the address.

“It’s all about our people and their delivery of that service. When I’ll be watching people resolving problems in the family room, or selling people their very first Apple device, it’s all done with such a great sense of service and purpose. It’s just fantastic.”

Apple Retail is one of the crown jewels of Apple. It's also a huge advantage over competitors who lack retail presence and can't or won't provide the same level of service. Being able to get help buying, using, trouble-shooting, and exchanging product is key to the Apple experience. Hopefully the rough spots are over and Apple is "doubling down" on what's important.

Like Steve Jobs was so fond of saying -- take care of the top line and the bottom line can take care of itself.

You can read the full transcript, or listen to the audio, via the link below.

Source: 9to5Mac

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, The TV Show, Vector, ZEN & TECH, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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There are 2 comments. Add yours.

robert.walter says:

I have the impression that Apple stores are losing the plot. After seeing it advertised in the Apple online store, I drove 1.5 hours to my "local" Apple Store, outside Zurich, to pick up several Project Red iphone bumpers as gifts (timing did not allow me to mail order them.) Once there I found none in stock, my inquiry was refered to a supervisor who had no idea what i was asking for, i had my ipad3 with me, so i showed her the online pic at the top of the swiss apple store page. She replied that they didnt stock Product Red items, to which I showed her the P.R. Leather ipad cover i had pulled off the rack a minute before. So after the dail to find the advertised product, I broused the rest of the items, but having a pretty complete set-up, there was nothing else for me to buy. What I noticed when browsing, surprised me excessive overstock of some items, other items down to one or two that had been on the shelf so long the cartons were faded, paper was curling, and they were covered with dust. Some other accessory items were obvious returns had been opened and improperly repackaged.

Because i had purchased the ipad smart cover (as a consolation to myself for the wasted time and gas money), i received a questionaire by email a couple of days later.

A couple of days after sending in my detailled complaint, i received a follow-up call from one of the store managers. He made excuses for the dust, blaming the mall fir gaving a poor hvac system (note, i had looked in some other stores that day and did not notice similar amounts of dust). Then when i remarked that they were overstocked on some products and wasting space on some ither non-movers, he blamed Cupertino and gave me the "we are working on it excuse). When i mentioned that his supervisors didnt seem to know what products they carried, he fave me more pablum. When i said my biggest complaint was that they were advertising items for which they didnt have adequate stock, he told me that that hadnt received their initial allotment yet; when i said that this seemed like deceptive advertising, he blamed the freight forwarder and customs clearance; when i said that i, on account of all the excuses and revelations during the call, had gone from disappointed to angry during the call, saying that i was extremely unhappy with the situation and i thought that some kind of compensation might be appropriate (i thought he might comp me the bumpers i had come for), he then blamed me for not having called the store in advance; i told hom that i had come for an iphone bumper, one advertised as available, not a special buildsc like i had previously bought at the store (after calling in for availability because the web page indicated limited availability in stores.)

So after a three hour round trip, 50 bucks in gas, twenty minutes filling out the email questionaire, an hour going to a non apple store to buy alternate gifts, an hour on the phone with the store manager getting nothing but excuses and a soft shoe routine, all i ended up with in the end was time and money exchanged for frustration and a bad taste in my mouth.

Oh, i just remembered the kicker, at the end of the phone dall, after telling him clearly that my attitude and opinion had gone from bad to worse during his dall to me, he told me that i should look hom up next time i come to the store so he could shake my hand, to which i said the store visit was an unusual event, one i dont expect to repeat because there us nothing left fir me to buy, he then added that if i come again sometime, maybe he could do something for me.

Would have been better if he had never called me at all, then i could have been left with my illusions that they were working in corrective actions, rather than being subjected to smarmy excuses and then being scolded for being stupid enough to believe that they wouldnt advertise availability of an item for which they had not yet received stock.

Oh, and to return to Rene's question, i cant believe an experience such as mine could improve with a leader that hires, trains, fires, rehires after seeing bad press, then follows up with smooth words of ingratiation to his team (and then publicizes them) - because it seems that his team is performing in-line with him.