Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Horrible Experience at the Apple Store

This morning I joined a number of my techno-buddies to pick up what I thought was a reserved new version of the iPhone - dubbed 4.   Based on the way it was described on the website, I could pick up my new phone on the opening day at the Apple Store in Roseville (although I expect the experience in other Apple stores was the same).   I expected that I could do that in a reasonable amount of time.   I got there mid-morning and found a long long - which was slightly shorter than the line for the people who had not "reserved" a phone.   But the way the system worked, although the line was longer for the non-reserved, they seemed to be moving people through it one side then the other.  Thus, people who took the time to reserve a product in high demand were being treated the same as people who decided to join the fray.  

The line in Roseville was long enough so that at about two and a half hours, I simply dropped out.

If Apple were smart about this, they could have taken a much more proactive response.  For example, they could have done the same level of pre-authorization for customers who chose to have the device delivered.  Then the simple task would have been to go into the store, sign in (electronically would have been good) and pick up the phone.  They could have pre-booked the revenue, encouraged the thrill of getting the phone on the first day, and lessened the grumpiness of the patrons who had thought that by reserving the phone they would have been able to get the phone in a reasonable amount of time.   It would have made for better utilization of sales people because they would not have had to go through all the qualification process for people who reserved.  At the same time it would have served the impulse buyers better.   Each store would have been able to work through customers much more efficiently.

I found out after I got there, although the Email I got warned that the "reservation" was only good until 9 pm tonight, that there was no way to move my reservation to another day or to get the phone without waiting in line.  When I left the line at 1:30 I asked the first person in the line when he had come to the Apple Store - he replied 7:30 AM.  Thus, the wait for the process for some of the earliest customers was six hours.  That was for people who had taken the time to "reserve" a phone.

I understand the excitement of getting a new product on the day it is released.  But at this point I believe Apple made a huge error in judgement which will leave a lot of very grumpy customers.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The other thing they could have done is let you schedule the pickup. I.e., show up at noon and know that you'll have your phone by 1:00. They have a reservation system in place for the Genius Bar, they could leverage that. First come first served for the time of day to pick up.

i was in and out in five minutes, but it took five hours to get to that point. I got to Arden Fair at 7, cut out at 8:30 - went back at 11:30, assuming I'd have to start over. But, my line-mates were still there and allowed me to pick up where I left off. So, 7-12:30 minus my two hours of hooky.

I think I stood in a much shorter line for one of the OS updates, but I'm not doing this again. That said, because of the inability to move the reservation (another yeesh), I didn't want to wait three weeks.

it's a lovely device.