Controlling the Customer Experience

June 29, 2011

DISCUSSION TOPIC

The A.P.P.L.E. Way 06/20/11

TOPIC SUMMARY:

The Wall Street Journal just did an interesting deep-dive on the Apple retail stores, interviewing current and past employees and obtaining some of their training manuals. One of the things that stuck out for me was the fact that they aren’t really relying on some technology advantage – it’s about carefully controlling the customer experience. For example, they use the acronym APPLE as follows:

A – Approach customers with a personalized warm welcome.
P – Probe politely to understand all the customer’s needs.
P – Present a solution for the customer to take home today.
L – Listen for and resolve any issues or concerns.
E – End with a fond farewell and an invitation to return.

Nothing high-tech about that at all. Each employee receives at least 40 hours of training to ensure they know the products and understand how to treat customers. They are not on commission and earn a typical $9-$15/hr or around $30/hr at the Genius Bar.

And the results are an impressive $4,406 per square foot. To put that in context, compare it to Tiffany at $3,070, Coach at $1,776, and Best Buy at $880.

Other retailers have tried to emulate the model, but no one has seen success. Apple is Apple, and they did exactly what worked for their business. No one else is Apple, so no one else should copy their stores. But retailers can and should be inspired by Apple’s success and strive to find ways to improve their own customers’ in-store experience. And it doesn’t take a ton of technology.

Discussion question:  What can other stores learn from Apple’s employee training methods and customer service guidelines?

My post:

Apple’s incredible margins and focus around specific and limited product makes the job of creating extraordinary customer experiences the norm. However, the lesson for all retailers is the focus, passion and willing to invest from senior leaders that drives the consistent execution. It is not necessary to emulate everything Apple is doing. The key is to learn from them and apply SOMETHING to your approach that will make a difference in the experiences of your staff and for the customer.

Mike Osorio, your Dare to be Contagious! ™ strategist

www.OsorioGroup.com

What do you think?  Please add your comments and add to the discussion!

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Go to the full article at Retailwire.com:  The A.P.P.L.E. Way

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