Apple Stores Need Help

Apple Stores can’t keep up with customer demand.

Today was my fourth experience with Apple Stores in the past week.

If you’ve been following these blogs, you know that on Monday I went to two Apple Stores in the Phoenix area to get medical attention for a sick computer. Both stores were mobbed and the so-called “Genius Bar” was fully booked until after 6 PM. (That was at around noon.)

On Wednesday, after discovering that the techicians had failed to return my Tiger Install DVD with my computer after fixing it, I called to ask for it to be mailed to me. I listened to a ringing phone for nearly three minutes before someone answered. I was assured that the disk would go in the mail that day.

The disk had not arrived by today, so I called again. I spent 9 minutes listening to a ringing phone ?Äî no exaggeration here; my phone has a timer on it and I checked when someone finally answered. After talking to the same person I’d spoken to on Wednesday, he said he’d check to see if it was mailed out. I then proceeded to wait on hold for another 16 minutes (total time invested in phone call was 25 minutes). While listening to hold music on the house phone’s speaker phone, I dialed again from my cell phone. After four minutes of ringing phones, the same guy answered.

“Oh my goodness,” he said (and yes, that is a quote), “No one got back to you?”

I hung up the house phone. “No,” I said. I knew the truth: that he’d purposely abandoned me, never expecting me to stay on hold that long. But with a speaker phone and something to keep you occupied while you wait, it’s easy. “You need more people working there,” I added.

“That’s no lie,” he replied. “I’ll check on that disc.”

Yeah, right, I thought, as the music started up again.

He was only gone a minute. Probably long enough to put someone else on hold or peek out at the mob scene in the store. “It went out today,” he reported.

“Thanks.” My voice was flat. I was frustrated. I hung up.

Apple continues to grow and have success with its products. Its Apple Stores are doing very well. So why the hell can’t they hire enough people to handle the demand at the stores? Don’t they realize that they’re losing customers with their inability to give them the service they need and expect?

I feel another letter to Steve Jobs coming on…

What do you think?