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Apple’s Customer Experience

Submitted by on Tuesday, 8 March 2011One Comment

While many companies seek to emulate Apple’s customer experience, and envy the customer engagement it achieves, this recent post at the Institute of Customer Service has highlighted some of the mistakes or failings that Apple makes with its products.

And yet… these failings do not overly impact Apple’s customer experience. Why could this be?

The failings listed by the ICS article (such as how Apple software manages iTunes) seem to reinforce the post we wrote here describing the 2 drivers of customer engagement.

Those two drivers are (1)the customer value proposition and (2)customer experience. As we discussed there, the first factor is hugely overrated by companies yet the 2nd factor is largely neglected.

Which of the two is more important? As Apple has shown, the customer experience, and by far.

What Steve Jobs really focussed on

Many Apple watchers will swoon at this or that technology breakthrough or this or that new product, yet, in many cases, new Apple product is actually behind its comparable competitors. For example, the first iPad did not have a camera and also did not have high data storage capability – value propositions that, in a competitor’s product, would have led to an underwhelmed customer.

Yet Steve Jobs understood that value propositions by themselves matter little – what matters above all is the customer experience that Apple can create. Take this Apple mission statement:

We provide beautiful, easy to use products that are integral to your everyday life.

What is important is not technological advancement by itself then, but (1) the relevance and use of these advancements to a person’s daily life, (2) their ease of use, and (3) their aesthetic beauty.

What Apple does differently

Companies that focus on bottom-line quarterly profits would find it challenging to replicate this formula. What, exactly, is beauty? Too many companies have corporate cultures that simply wouldn’t hear that word in any meeting room all year round.

Where Apple really excels is being able to take this mission statement and apply it consistently, across multiple touchpoints, day in day out.

Citibank recently tried to copy the Apple formula and believe that by designing their banks like Apple stores, they will get similar levels of customer engagement.

But in doing so, they have not understood how to create a compelling customer experience. This is more than physical environment but instead looks at all customer touchpoints and creates a controlled customer experience at every one.

This, more than anything else, defines Apple’s success: creating and delivering a controlled customer experience.

Don’t copy, create!

If you would like to discover the steps to creating a controlled customer experience, then why not run our one day Customer Experience Maximisation programme at your company?

Highly interactive, the programme takes participants through the critical steps of creating a compelling customer experience, and through that gaining Apple-like customer engagement!


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