How to design an Apple-like experienceOpinion ·
"You've got to start with Customer Experience and work back toward the technology, not the other way around." The famous saying by Steve Jobs is what guided him to create Apple and a cult of loyal fans worldwide.
If you have ever looked at a brand and wondered about the secret behind its roaring success, there's a lot you can take away from Apple.
On May 19, 2001, the first Apple store in Tysons, Virginia, opened its doors. A share of Apple cost $1.68 at the time. Now, with shares costing around $200, Apple is currently one of the most valuable corporations in the world. Since then, Apple has opened 506 stores in 24 countries, bringing in 500 million visitors annually.
Being a pioneering and the most popular brand in the global tech market, Apple's services are unrivaled. Over time, their products have changed considerably. However, one thing that always stays the same is its customer experience secret: an unparalleled dedication to fostering enduring customer relationships. Apple's success is not about earning revenue but about gaining the loyalty and trust of its customers.
How does Apple achieve this? What about its business model is so unique that customers are drawn to it as a magnet? The company's secret lies in creating a culture of obsessive customer service that aims to convert one-time customers into loyal customer advocates. Let's dig deeper into tips to win CX like Apple!
Why is everyone talking about customer experience?
According to Adam Richardson of Harvard Business Review, "Customer experience is the sum-totality of how customers engage with your company and brand, not just in a snapshot in time, but throughout the entire arc of being a customer."
Any company that wants to enjoy steady success must provide outstanding customer service. A satisfying customer experience enhances brand advocacy, loyalty, and customer retention.
Today, the ones in control are the customers, not the sellers. Who granted them this authority? The internet. Nowadays customers have many choices at their disposal and the resources needed to educate themselves and make informed purchases. Customers are a brand's biggest resource for increasing recognition, so it's crucial to provide them with a memorable experience and make them want to keep doing business with you.
Here are some statistics that will change your mind about the importance of customer experience:
- According to research conducted by PwC, customer experience (CX) is a deciding factor in 73% of consumer decisions.
- The same study reports that 42% of customers said they would be willing to pay more if given a warm and welcoming customer experience.
- 72% of customers typically share a positive customer experience with at least six other people.
- By focusing on and enhancing CX, a company can boost revenue by 10% to 15%.
- Customers are inclined to purchase a product in 74% of cases merely based on positive CX.
- After a negative customer experience, 89% of customers say they would switch brands, and CX accounts for nearly 60% of brand loyalty.
Thus, customer experience is the foundation of everything a marketer does to engage with customers and prospects.
Why is Apple so good at customer experience?
Since it was founded in 1976, Apple has never competed on price. However, because they believe in the brand, customers are ready to pay exorbitant prices for an Apple device.
How did Apple succeed in winning over such devoted patrons and creating a cult following? As part of its ongoing commitment to improving user experience, Apple has constantly invested in redesigning its products.
Tim Cook, Apple's CEO, has often exalted that the brand's investment in its customer experience strategy is aimed at simplifying the buying process for customers. The brand's strength genuinely lies in the fact that Apple's vision incorporates the vision of its customers.
Thus, Apple's vision is a fruitful outcome of ongoing customer feedback. It proves how essential it is for brands to include a reliable touchpoint in their CX plan so that they can collect valuable customer feedback.
The authors of Apple customer experience case study claim that customers adore Apple because it makes them feel confident. Apple goods are the epitome of invention, enthusiasm, and flair.
Typically, brands operate using the straightforward method of first determining the customers' wants and then offering the appropriate services. Apple, however, does the exact opposite. They believe users are unaware of what they need and brands should find fill this gap by listening to them.
Apple doesn't spend time on market research. Instead, it spends time learning about the buyer's persona to increase customer satisfaction and retention. This is how Apple anticipates its customers' needs even before they are aware of them.
Let's look at some insights and tips to win CX like Apple.
Insights we can gain from Apple's customer experience
Although hundreds of companies have attempted to (and continue to) imitate the Apple Store concept, the majority of them have failed to do so. They overlook that the Apple Store's greatest asset is not its merchandise but instead its representatives.
The acronym APPLE is eloquently spelled out by the five service steps that Apple Store employees are trained to lead clients through. It is inspired by The Ritz-Carlton: Steps of Service.
A: Approach each customer with a personalized welcoming and warm greeting.
P: Probe nicely to understand the customer's needs.
P: Present a solution for the customer to take home that day.
L: Listen for and address any problems or concerns.
E: End with a sincere goodbye and an offer to come back.
So simple, yet so powerful. With this as a foundation, the Apple Store customer experience is something competing retailers can only hope for. It is especially true now that Apple is ushering in a new generation of stores designed to deliver an even fresher and more exciting experience for customers (beyond all those cool new gadgets on the shelves).
Let's take a detailed look at how Apple won at Customer Experience.
1. Don’t be afraid of changes.
This is a challenge. If you believe that making a substantial change will benefit your brand, don't be afraid to do it, but proceed with caution. Apple completely changed the distribution strategy, thus revolutionizing CX, in three calculated phases:
- Terminating relationships with more than 10,000 outlets lessened reliance on independent businesses.
- Implementing a store-within-store approach by partnering with CompUSA and Best Buy.
- Finally, Apple launched its own stores after realizing that Apple computer sales were increasing.
Its strategy had inherent risk in every step. However, the organization reduced risk by following a thoughtful plan at each phase. Most people at the time believed Apple's retail experiment would fail. It might have been, but Apple was successful because it approached each risk cautiously.
2. Create a brand message through stories.
Apple's customer experience strategy focuses on highly persuasive marketing to create loyal Apple customers. Although creating a successful customer engagement strategy is a personal choice, customers adore Apple products and stick with the company. Apple keeps its marketing and aesthetics straightforward but appealing. In other words, it lets its products speak for themselves.
Apple has the highest level of client interaction of any tech company. The marketing team creates compelling narratives that convince customers that they deserve an Apple product and that having that will give them an enhanced life experience. Nowhere else can you find a customer experience approach as compelling.
3. Carefully choose the appropriate channels when engaging with customers.
Since Steve Jobs became CEO in 1997, Apple stores have played a major role in the company's customer experience. Apple computers were previously offered through chain stores and other official venues. This strategy did not sit well with the business, and Apple broke ties with over 10,000 independent stores. After that, the company redesigned its entire website and debuted the first Apple store.
The quality of service given by independent resellers affects your business's reputation. Apple chose to relocate customer service in-house after determining that it was uncomfortable with this trade-off. Apple now has complete control over the client experience.
Flagship stores may not be a viable option for you, but taking care of the post-sales experience is certainly a must for any brand. Choosing the right channels to interact with your customers after they have purchased your product is essential. Make your support team's contact methods widely known and easy to access by your customers. Social media platforms can be a good solution for offering quick customer service.
4. Provide customer service training.
How much effort Apple put into creating a system for handling customer interactions is evident when looking over their Genius Training Student Workbook. The brand realizes that educating its employees to meet those expectations is the greatest approach to leaving a good impression on every customer.
Take the time to educate and train your representatives if you want them to offer excellent customer service. Your support team's new hire training program should focus heavily on developing people skills. Establishing this uniformity is especially crucial for multinational corporations aiming to deliver a superior global customer experience.
5. Create a fool-proof hiring process.
The company's PR division claims that working for an Apple store is more challenging than applying to Harvard. Apple employs a strict hiring procedure. Before being chosen for a job, candidates may need to pass five interviews over six weeks, depending on the level of competition for the position.
Store owners are instructed to consider candidates' skills beyond their academic background. In the book, The Apple Experience, author Carmine Gallo cites two questions Apple staff members are asked:
- Can they deliver customer service on par with the Ritz-Carlton?
- Do they have grit? To put it another way, could they have competed against Steve Jobs?
When it comes to grit, Apple seeks individuals focused on achieving their objectives. Additionally, it seeks workers who can provide constructive criticism when required. By doing so, groupthink is reduced, creating benefits in terms of efficiency.
A varied workforce with significant personality attributes who come from diverse backgrounds is the result of this hiring philosophy.
Take into account both the job requirements and company culture when deciding who to hire for your organization. Don't let a person's eagerness to agree with you or their professional experience determine your choice. Differences in opinion and the diversity of your team can be a strength that brings out the best in everyone.
6. Innovation in every product
Apple has developed an attractive strategy from a customer experience perspective to produce top-notch products and foster irresistible customer satisfaction. The reason the business is at its pinnacle of success is that it provides the best customer experience through the use of cutting-edge software, hardware, and the annual planning of excellent products.
7. Create a customer-first strategy.
Apple's customer experience approach shows that the corporation is not looking to make quick cash. Apple has adopted a long-term customer-first strategy rather than just splurging money on advertisements. The goal is to establish sincere connections with clients and lower churn.
For instance, sales targets are not given to employees in Apple stores. Instead, they are taught how to interact with customers and sell in an APPLE way.
Apple employees use a proactive approach to make visitors feel comfortable when they walk into a physical store. For instance, if you book an appointment to repair an Apple product, the front desk employee will collect your information. Then, the information is passed on to Apple Genius who will address you personally to solve your concerns.
The goal of the Apple service approach is to make the customer feel at ease. Steve Jobs borrowed the principles of the Ritz-Carlton service model. So, please don't be reluctant to adopt the best concepts from those around you and modify them to fit your company's culture.
These were some of the tips to create a superior customer experience like Apple. Apple produces the best products in the world tech market and is the most outstanding marketer of all time.
Before selling its products, Apple successfully positions itself in the customer's mind thanks to its revolutionary branding and customer experience approach. Apple's customer service strategy has become the world’s leading example to improve customer experience. The brand has set a benchmark that every company aspires to follow.
Smaller brands can learn from Apple's customer experience vision and build an impeccable model that helps them take their business to the next level.
How can Layerise help you achieve a CX like Apple?
Apple prides itself in knowing its customer's ins and outs and creating the best customer persona. Brands can achieve the same with Layerise. Whenever customers interact with a brand that uses Layerise, they can collect all relevant customer information to help their representatives to interact more personally with customers.
If you want to learn more about how Layerise can help your business, book a demo today!
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