Despite a public acknowledgement by Apple that recent retail store staffing changes were “a mistake” and have been reversed, store employees still haven’t received an official explanation of the changes, and “signs persist of a continuing focus on revenues and profit instead of customer satisfaction,” reports “ifoAppleStore” (http://macte.ch/20RGq).
Last week “Dow Jones” reported that John Browett, Apple’s recently appointed retail guru, had spearheaded a new staffing formula for its retail stores, leading some employees to see their hourly shifts cut and retail locations to be understaffed. It didn’t take long for Apple to realize it had made a mistake.
Browett then instructed leadership teams to tell employees, “We messed up,” says “Dow Jones,” quoting two unnamed “people who were aware of the communication.” Reportedly, during the brouhaha, shift schedules were affected, but no one was laid off. What’s more, Browett also wanted employees to know that it was hiring new staff, according to “Dow Jones.”
Apple spokeswoman Kristin Huguet told “Dow Jones” (http://macte.ch/2JPpz) that: “Making these changes was a mistake and the changes are being reversed … Our employees are our most important asset and the ones who provide the world-class service our customers deserve.”
However, according to “ifoAppleStore,” after Browett’s reversa
° The number of in-store workshops at some stores has been reduced, sources say, overtime is still limited, demotions weren’t reversed, and managers are assigning only minimum contracted hours to part-timers.
° Contract sales of iPhones are now used to measure individual performance, and also now appear on store performance charts.
° Specialists have been told to make customers buy accessories using the EasyPay app. But if they do refer customers to EasyPay, that revenue is credited to the store, not to the Specialist’s sales history which, in turn, affects their performance report.
° The stores’ physical condition may suffer under the new Retail segment management. “Sources say that store maintenance budgets have been reduced, so that in the short and long term the stores could be more grimy and less attractive to visitors,” says “ifoAppleStore.”
“Overall, employee morale has plummeted due to the lack of information, the inability to discuss it with management and the increased emphasis on sales instead of customer satisfaction,” the article adds.
My take: If all of this, or even most of it is true, Browett needs to be stopped and replaced. The ball, and customer satisfaction, is now in Tim Cook’s court.
— Dennis Sellers