In episodes one and two of Slices of Apple, we looked at where Apple came from. We toured the crucible of design and engineering that forged Silicon Valley, and examined the fall of a titan in the 1990s when Apple devalued its brand before Steve Jobs returned. In this episode we'll look at the front line of Apple's brand: customer service.
As Apple sought to rebuild itself, it wasn't satisfied with the retail options available. "Mini-stores" in Circuit City were abysmally run, so the company decided to open its own retail stores. This was in line with the Jobs mantra of controlling all aspects of a customer's experience.
In episode three we'll talk to Shawn "Doc Rock" Boyd, a TUAW contributor and former Apple Genius who trained at the Palo Alto store, a location frequented by Apple executives. He discusses how important the relationship with customers was, and how this was stressed in training. We'll also talk to TUAW editor Steve Sande, who worked as an Apple consultant for clients before Apple Stores existed. He'll talk about the quality of Apple products and how important this is for customers (and why businesses should care). And we'll talk to Moisés Chiullan, who now runs the Electric Shadow Network of podcasts. Chiullan was manning the phones the day Jobs cut the original iPhone price live on stage, and tells us a bit about how Apple deals with unhappy customers.
Stay tuned on Monday (Labor Day in the USA): we'll launch episode four, as we learn how a former Apple retail employee turned his passion for quality into a great app.