Apple Stores provide an incomparable customer experience for those in the market for the latest technology products. Consumers can get help from the Geniuses in one of Apple’s 239 U.S. stores, who will patiently walk a buyer through all the product features, encourage playing around with the products on display, and help customers figure out which products are best for their needs.
But then customers go home with their new Apple products—whether they know what to do with them or not. Although Apple Stores offer support appointments, customers often feel rushed by the back-to-back scheduling, and Geniuses are trained to address specific problems rather than help with general setup and basic how-to. So for those intimidated by the efforts associated with set up and installation, a Massachusetts store called Tech Superpowers is filling in the gap. With a store layout similar to an Apple Store, Tech Superpowers focuses on Apple products, though its staff can help customers with technical problems on other devices too.
At the center of the store is a Lexus IS300, demonstrating how Apple products can be integrated into the vehicle. A 23-inch monitor in the backseat streams content through from a Mac mini. An iPad is mounted in the dashboard. Better than any verbal explanation, this real-world display appeals to customers by promising the great capabilities they gain with Apple products—as well as how clever the Superpowers can be when it comes to anything Apple.
- Is there a need for Tech Superpowers and other Apple support specialists?
Jesse Serwer, “I.T. with a Personal Touch,” SCT, September 2011.
Dean Oliver said:
I have had similar experiences at Apple where I had a simple question about setup and it took hours for someone to give me the answer I was looking for. With more and more people getting Apple products, inevitably some of these are going to be middle-aged to older people who have a harder time with the learning curve of Apple products. I believe Apple’s customer service would benefit from putting some more effort into helping people learn to do the basics on their products and then allow them to explore the more advanced things on their own.
Yes of course. Not every single person knows how to use an Apple product or how to fix a technical issue.
Alex Ohnona said:
I believe that it is key to have Tech Superpowers and other Apple support specialists. Personally, more than once have I have bought products at Apple and couldn’t manage to get everything to work. I am quite tech-savvy and therefore should be able to do everything on my own; but some things require more knowledge than I have. These are the times that I am truly thankful to find stores where i will receive a premium service.
Jack Grover said:
I have had quite often the experience of being rushed, and also not being allowed double booking appointments. I sometimes feel after the experience that Apple does not value my business or me as a customer. I think that Tech Superpowers does fill a gap that Apple has unfortunately created for itself.
I think Apple needs to realize its shortcoming and could easily rectify the situation. By creating long appointments by better understanding customer desires, as well as increasing appointment lengths and provide more system support, I think apple could reverse its problematic consumer experience.
Although Apple does offer free workshops for almost all of their products, these are not very well advertised and I’m sure that the majority of Apple product owners aren’t aware of them, which creates a need for stores like Tech Superpowers. Workshops and classes like these are crucial for Apple, since many of their consumers aren’t necessarily tech savvy enough to figure out their products on their own. If Apple stores were to offer these classes more frequently and advertise them more, I think that customer satisfaction would increase and places like Tech Superpowers wouldn’t be as necessary.
Kate Anderson said:
I agree with most of these comments, but what is being disregarded is their use of training programs called “one-to-one’s” These classes and training times can be purchased at the time of buying a Mac, a consumer will then be able to sign up for a one-to-one at any time throughout the course of a year. These sessions allow consumers to ask their specific questions, or even have an hour to work on a project with an Apple employee supervising to be able to answer any questions.
Although this has been disregarded, I do not believe that this is the ultimate answer for Apple. As Apple consumers continue to grow in age range, there will need to be a better solution. Perhaps Apple could offer an easier way for consumers to have their questions answered. Apple has continued to maintain their power in the industry based on their high performing products and continuous innovation, but it will be their customer service that will maintain their consumer relationships for them.
Sara Wojda said:
I think the answer to this question really depends on the previous experiences you have had within the Apple business. For me, I have had great customer support. Even when the store is busy, they have enough employees to go around and make sure everyone’s questions are answered. As far as the support/training goes, I think a person purchases the product knowing that it functions well, even if they do not necessarily know the ins and outs of it yet. For some less-technology advanced customers, Tech Superpowers and Apple support centers would be a good idea. For me, I like tinkering around with my new purchases. I like finding out new aspects as I go along. If a person were to show me exactly how it works, it would be less exciting. Apple products are very simple and self-guiding in themselves, so I think I would only use a support center if I needed to fix something or if I wanted to do something special with my product, like hooking it up to my car.
Susanna Kroll said:
I think there is definitely a need for companies like Tech Superpowers because it is offering a specialized customer service option for people. Innovators will want to purchase the product right away (or preorder) and are likely to figure out a lot of the technology on their own (or with mild assistance). However, they might also want to discover hidden uses or applications of their devices that are not currently being utilized. Later buyers are more likely to want to learn how to actually use the devices and this kind of store is good for teaching in a stress free zone. They can focus more on the “cool” applications that they are discovering along with the basic functional uses (if they are not as tech savvy). If people are investing a lot in Apple products, because they are relatively more expensive, they are going to want to know how to use the products to their full capacity to maximize satisfaction.
Jessica Millman said:
There is certainly an immediate demand for Tech Superpowers and other Apple support specialists especially if popularity with these products increase. However, this market will mainly be composed of people who have never used Apple products before and are therefore unfamiliar with how they function. As we see the number of people who are able to use Apple products increase, we will very likely see the need for Tech Superpowers decrease. I do not see there being a long-term need for this service on a such a large scale, especially if Apple can get more of their customers to utilize their services with the understanding that this support enhances the value of their product.