Apple retail store workers are bound to strict codes of conduct relating to how they interact with customers, a report in today's Wall Street Journal has revealed.

The financial bible has interviewed several current and former employees about how they are trained to understand customer needs rather than push products on the punters.

Former employee David Ambrose told the WSJ: "You were never trying to close a sale. It was about finding solutions for a customer and finding their pain points."

The report also pointed out that the philosophy means Apple Store employees do not receive commission or bonuses based on the sales they make.

Training manual

In a 2007 training manual obtained by the paper Apple Store employees are informed that: "Your job is to understand all of your customers' needs - some of which they may not even realise they have."

The manual also offers insight into a "steps of service" APPLE acronym that employees are encouraged to use when dealing with visitors to the store:

"Approach customers with a personalised warm welcome,"
"Probe politely to understand all the customer's needs,"
"Present a solution for the customer to take home today,"
"Listen for and resolve any issues or concerns," and
"End with a fond farewell and an invitation to return."

Unfortunately

In one slightly humorous revelation, workers at Apple's tech support 'Genius Bars' are not allowed to use the word 'unfortunately' to customers as it is considered to have negative connotations.

Instead they are encouraged to use phrases like "as it turns out."

One former employee interviewed by the WSJ says that he was forbidden from correcting, and hence patronising, customers when they mispronounced the names of Apple products.

Meanwhile, employees who don't sell enough Apple Care service packages with products sold are retrained or shipped out to another department.

Pay

Genius Bar employees are paid around $30-an-hour in the US, while sales staff earn between $9 and $15. The former are regularly retrained and retested on their knowledge.

One Apple employee has recently set about trying to arrange an Apple Store employee's union and is demanding higher wages.

There's plenty more interesting insight into the Apple Store world and it's worth heading over to the WSJ to check out the rest.