Just Because You Call Staff “Genius,” Doesn’t Make It True
I have now spent hours at the flagship Apple store here in Seattle, situated steps away from the Microsoft store, and sadly, none of the people I have dealt with are close to a genius at all. In one instance I was doing an internet search with a ‘genius’ who had been hired a few weeks ago and while he used the word ‘cool’ a lot, he had no knowledge of how to solve the problem. Once the complexity grows beyond a simplistic level, they are helpless and highly uninformed. I was even more unimpressed when the ‘super-genuis’ came over and could not solve the problem. Yes, they all look cool, the store looks cool, but hey the low level of knowledge is super-uncool. If you have dealt with customer support it is sometimes even more unimpressive.
So a great marketing play: give the impression of lots of talent, a cool product and people will come. And they do. Apple has been an amazingly innovative company.
However, on a more realistic note, what would happen to our businesses if we put people out there with titles who could not do their job? A ‘genius’ at your autoshop, who could not fix your car, a ‘genius’ doctor who could not diagnose your medical problem, a genius architect who could not build a house. Unless we arm our people with talent and ability all we are doing is giving the ‘illusion’ that we are great, but it is not for real. Apple is a great company but if you get under the covers, you uncover interesting problems. If you call in or go on a chat session, an hour later you are on hold with problems unresolved. I was recently most concerned about how poorly trained the technical staff are, perhaps because the product is great and tech staff don’t have to be great?
As we look at disruption and innovation, it is really important that we do so in a meaningful way. To inspire our staff and delight our customers, we need individuals to be able to perform. Great to call our a staff member a “genius” but if they are not, what have we achieved? The issue is that with products like the iPad and iPhone, Apple can afford to do what it pleases and yes, Apple is a great company. However, I am not sure I see the same talent in the customer facing staff, as we do in the product.
So, as we disrupt and innovate, it is critical that we not only have a great product, but the support to make sure the experience is a well rounded one. At a broader level when we disrupt to innovate in companies, product and service needs to go hand in hand… as we look at large companies disrupting and innovation, is it enough to just have great products and not up the service and innovate the whole culture of the company. What do you think? I am passionate about disruption and innovation at large enterprises, so this caught my attention.
Picked up a copy of Provoke yet? You can find it on Amazon. All my best,