Ex-Apple store employees reveal the biggest mistakes customers make at the Genius Bar

by leadicicco@businessinsider.com (Lisa Eadicicco) | Business Insider

Customers line up at an Apple store.

AP

Working at the Apple Store certainly has its perks. For example, people who have worked there said they love the people and the opportunities Apple offers for career development and personal growth. And Glassdoor is filled with employee reviews citing the staff, culture, and employee benefits as being among the best perks that come with working there.

But every job has its more difficult moments. According to several former employees and one current worker, there are certain things customers do — or don’t do — that can make their jobs more challenging. 

Providing customer support through the Genius Bar is the primary focus for Apple’s retail stores right now. The company just began reopening some locations in the United States after temporarily closing stores around the world because of the coronavirus pandemic. Even for stores that are reopening, which currently include 5 stores across Alaska, Alabama, Idaho, and South Carolina, Apple is still encouraging customers to opt for delivery when possible.

Do you work at an Apple Store that has recently reopened or is planning to reopen? Contact this reporter at leadicicco@businessinsider.com or through encrypted mail at lisaeadicicco@protonmail.com, or send a direct message on Twitter to @LisaEadicicco.

Here’s a look at some of the most common mistakes people make when coming in for repairs, based on interviews with several people who have worked at the Apple Store. Most of the people interviewed requested to remain anonymous so that they could speak freely about their former or current job.

Not backing up their data

It’s a good idea to sync all of your apps and data with iCloud, but for the best experience between your iPhone and iPad, you should definitely turn on Photos.
It’s a good idea to sync all of your apps and data with iCloud, but for the best experience between your iPhone and iPad, you should definitely turn on Photos.

Dave Johnson/Business Insider

Among the most common mistakes many people make is not backing up their data when they come in for a repair.

“The biggest thing is how unprepared the general public is about saving their information,” said one current employee. “A lot of people, they run their entire businesses off their phones and computers . . . If this is your entire life, how do you not save this elsewhere?”

Forgetting their iCloud password

The word 'password' is pictured on a computer screen in this picture illustration taken in Berlin
The word ‘password’ is pictured on a computer screen in this picture illustration taken in Berlin

Thomson Reuters

Forgetting or not having access to their iCloud password is another typical issue Apple Store employees must help customers deal with, said CJ Ryan, who worked at the Apple Store for two years, and a former Apple employee of four years. When that happens, employees sometimes have to tell the customer to make a different appointment and come back when they have access to their iCloud account. 

There’s a chance customers forget their iCloud password because they don’t have to use it very often. A study from September 2018 led by Rutgers University New Brunswick found that important passwords that are used frequently are less likely to be forgotten.

Asking Apple to help them with their Gmail or Facebook password

gmail on iphone
gmail on iphone

Shutterstock

Helping customers reset their iCloud password can also be difficult when Genius Bar patrons forget their email password, said Ryan. Sometimes customers would ask Apple staff to help them with their Gmail or Facebook password. Even though it’s not part of their job, Apple Store workers will usually try to be helpful in this situation anyhow, according to Ryan. 

One way to create a strong password that you’ll actually remember is by using an entire phrase as your passcode rather than just a string of characters. That’s according to Etay Maor, chief security officer at IntSights who previously worked for IBM Security, who spoke to Business Insider last July. Since phrases are often much longer than the average eight to 10 character password, using a passphrase makes it less likely that a malicious actor will crack it. 

Not being honest about what happened to their device

Don't walk and type.
Don’t walk and type.

Ben Margot/AP

When customers are dishonest about what happened to their device, it makes it harder to address the problem, two of the people said. 

“On a technical level, if they’re not honest with us, it becomes tough,” said one former employee of seven years. 

The ex-employee who worked at the Apple Store for four years said customers would sometimes come in with shattered phones and make excuses about how the accident happened. “We would get that on a weekly basis,” this person said.

Not charging their device before they bring it in

charging iphone close up
charging iphone close up

MosayMay/Shutterstock

Bringing in a device without any charge left in it will only waste time both for the customer and the Apple employee. But it’s a common mistake that Ryan says he often encountered during his time at the Apple Store, especially with Apple Watches.

“I’d just sit there, and we all have to wait,” he said. 

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