At the heart of any Apple store customer experience is the representative they deal with. And Apple ended 2015 with an impressive 81% retention rate amongst its store staff - a company record.
Keeping great staff cuts costs associated with the recruitment process and helps to maintain the all important company culture. But just how has Apple done it? Here are 3 things everyone can learn from the technology giant:
Treat Everyone Like an Exec
In a recent interview, Apple's Angela Ahrendts talked at length about retaining retail staff. She stated:
"I don't see them as retail employees. I see them as executives in the company who are touching the customers with the products that Jony [Ive] and the team took years to build. Somebody has to deliver it to the customer in a wonderful way."
There's a key point in here - all of your staff should feel valued. And there's no such thing as "just retail staff," or even "just junior staff," within any organization. Everyone at every level of your business should play their own role in delivering your product or service to your customers. By treating everyone like a key player, Apple is improving retention rates in its stores.
Invest in Training and Development
In 2012, Gizmodo leaked Apple's "Genius Training Student Workbook," which gave a phenomenal insight in to a thorough training program.
Not everyone agrees with the way Apple trains its retail staff to advise and sell, but there's no denying the investment into training before a member of its team is allowed to interact with the customers.
Investment into training both at the outset and throughout the course of someone's employment is essential to their own progression and to increasing the value they deliver to your business.
You might not need to go to the lengths that Apple goes to, but regardless of your industry or size, demonstrating a clear commitment to your staff's development will help retention.
Picking the Right People to Start with
Retention is all good and well but only if you're retaining great people. You can develop staff and you can enhance their knowledge and skills. But there are some things that time and training won't improve - attitude and beliefs. Those are instilled in people.
Apple invests significantly into picking the right people to begin with. Ron Johnson, former VP of Retail Operations at Apple, boasted that it is tougher to land a job at an Apple store than it is to get into Stanford. Apple values, above most other things, how well an applicant fits into the team and culture and how well in tune they are with the products and values.
We might not all implement Ivy League standard application processes, but we can certainly learn a thing or two about investing time into making sure the applicant is the right one before sending out that offer letter.