Thursday, June 19, 2008

An Apple a Day

Benjamin Franklin coined, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away." Franklin had no idea when he wrote his now famous phrase that consumers would one day have to differentiate between apple the fruit and Apple the computer giant. I like apples. Particularly Gala apples. I eat a lot of apples to satiate my sugar cravings instead of processed sweets.

When I want to satiate my need for excellent customer service I go to the
nearby Apple Store in Manhattan. It's truly a fantastic experience and I say this as one who designs and delivers customer service training programs.

Today I visited the Fifth Avenue store as the "x" keypad on my MacBook Pro became loose while I was cleaning the keyboard. Because Apple has their act together, I was able to make an appointment online for the day and time that was convenient for me. Upon entering the store I made my way to the Genius Bar where I was promptly greeted and my appointment was
confirmed. The Genius behind the bar was friendly, knowledgeable, (one would expect that from a genius) and expedited my loose pad problem quickly. My "x" key, as you can see is in fine working order thanks to the great staff at the Apple Store.

Because it's such a pleasant and wonderful environment I went searching for an external drive for my wife's computer. Jason, one of the many smiling and helpful Apple associates asked if I needed direction and within five minutes I purchased the appropriate device without having to wait in line for a cashier. (All sales associates at Apple carry their own wireless checkout machine and zipo-presto I was out the door and into the sunshine.) Now that's turning a 'problem' into a sale: I spent $150 when I had no intention of doing so.

As I rode my eco-friendly bicycle home, I felt a smile grow on my face and attributed it to the great experience I just had at Apple.) How many times have you had a smile put on your face by a retail store?) I wish that I had regular experiences such I this from other companies that I do business with but sadly, that's not the case.

So what does Apple do right? Here's my thoughts:
  • Constant innovation
  • Excellent products and service
  • Exceed customer expectations
  • Friendly, helpful and knowledgeable staff both in-store and online
  • They always put the product in your hand - they let you touch it, play with it
  • Their customers are appreciated and recognized
  • Their stores are well organized and merchandised
  • A purchase is not a chore but a pleasurable experience
Those are just a few of the ways that Apple gets it right and for these reasons and others I will savor my Apple everyday.
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