Ahh, once upon a time there was a dial phone. It was connected to this archaic thing called a land line. And on that land line there were no fancy features, no clouds, no synching, no back ups, nothing. You answered and you placed calls, that's it. You didn't take pictures with it. You didn't store your life's history on it. It was simply, a means of communication.
A few days ago I plugged my I Phone 4 (yes, we not only have phones that nearly wipe our butts for us, but they are updated every 10 minutes) into it's charger and it did not begin the charge. I panicked. What will I do?? The feeling inside the pit of my stomach at the mere thought of having a dead phone was enough to put me over the edge. All because I may not have a phone at my disposal every waking second. And to think I grew up without a phone anytime I left my house!
So began my adventures with the Apple Genius Bar. I didn't know you couldn't just walk into the store and get help. You have to schedule an appointment with yes, a genius. My initial reaction was really?? I can't just talk to a genius? I have to make an appointment? Is this like the Wizard of Oz? I can't just drop in and see him?
I had to wait an hour. I left and returned and spent another hour with the genius, my genius. And then today I had to return, with another appointment, and meet with yet another genius.
Today was different. As I sat waiting at 10:40AM in an incredibly packed crowd I watched very closely how the staff interacted with the patrons. My own genius was working with myself and another woman at the same time. He had two entirely different personalities he had to deal with. The other woman was an admittedly "not tech savvy at all" customer. I however have done my best at all times to keep up with technology.
He was also dealing with two entirely different situations that required a great deal of knowledge. That's what we don't think about when we enter an Apple store: just how much each person has to learn to even work there. And then I was turned over to another genius since mine had to go above and beyond for the not so tech savvy.
My new genius was incredible. Not just because he was smart, but because he was funny and personable. Having been sitting there for awhile wondering how the average Apple employee tolerates the daily barrage of questions, this was the perfect person to talk to about it. I asked him how many people a day he has to talk to. I figured maybe twenty at the most.
On an average weekday, he (his name is J. or Jay, not really sure as his name tag said "welcome" and that was definitely not his name) talks to at least fifty people. That's fifty conversations that are all about different things. At least at other service positions you may be discussing the same general things - but when considering the infinite amount of questions people have not only about their phones, but their computers, I Pads and other equipment it can be staggering. Think about all that each employee has to know.
On a weekend J. said he can talk to over one hundred people per day. Now, I do trade shows and if I have to talk to more than 20 people in a day you'll find me curled up and drooling in a corner. The thought of one hundred conversations with people that may not know what they're talking about is daunting. People that did not back up their data and have lost anything important in life (that's how they behave). People that insist that they are eligible for upgrades when they aren't. People that just can't grasp how to use their new technology and take it out on the genius.
I wondered throughout the entire experience if it wasn't just easier with that old dial phone. That land line that caused oh so much less aggravation. Yet there must be a great degree of satisfaction to teach a person how to use a computer that never knew. Or to show a person who as a child dialed a phone by talking to an operator (and giving the operator an exchange, like Northside 777), how to use their new I Phone. That takes patience, understanding and knowledge.
Steven Jobs was a genius. So why not have a company filled with them?
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