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The Apple Genius Bar is often hailed as a unique, company specific solution to the potentially huge problems with such high tech. And while it's safe to say most IT shops are not selling and servicing Apple products, there is a thing or two we c

How Genius Is Your IT?

The Apple Genius Bar is often hailed as a unique, company specific solution to the potentially huge problems with such high tech. And while it’s safe to say most IT shops are not selling and servicing Apple products, there is a thing or two we can learn from this masterpiece of customer service. This article by Curt Finch begins with the premise that Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is going to happen in your company. This presents a host of concerns for your help desk, your employees, and your executive management. Finch believes the lessons provided through the Apple Genius Bar can help IT in its management of a BYOD culture, and lists three reasons why. First, the Genius Bar is organized. Customers make appointments and are helped by one person during an allotted time. Instead of trying to fix a problem from yesterday while listening to a customer today, the people who work the Genius Bar are completely focused on the problem their appointment is having. Before you begin laughing about people scheduling time to talk to your help desk, read on:  the people you’re supporting will still have emergency issues, and the help desk isn’t going to just ignore those, but they can be more effective with routine questions and fixes. If your customers don’t have a show stopping problem, an appointment will limit the disruption of a fix for both parties, result in faster solutions, and ultimately a better experience. The second benefit from the Genius model is how personal it is: When you show up to a Genius Bar appointment, there is a staff member waiting for you. For the duration of your time there, that staff member is focused only on your problem. They may not be able to fix it, but you see firsthand that they’re working on the problem. Also, they generally attempt to educate you on common solutions so you’ll be better prepared if you have the issue again in the future. Can you imagine having a help desk that is not only more personable, but also make sure to prepare your customers with an education on how to fix the problem themselves? Granted, taking the time to partially train your customers may sound like a dangerous suggestion, but in the long run you’ll save time from avoiding repetitive calls. Finally, the Genius Bar is focused: they only work on Apple products. This isn’t going to happen for your IT helpdesk, as BYOD isn’t limited to just one manufacturer, but you can create a helpdesk that specializes in mobile devices or PCs, for instance. That kind of focus allows for faster, more lasting fixes. Whether you decide to go full Apple or just use some of the principles explained in the article, the Genius Bar idea is one that has a lot of merit as IT moves towards BYOD.

About Anne Grybowski

Anne is a former staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success, with a degree in Media Studies from Penn State University.

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