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Apple Hits Grand Slam!

Aug 18, 2007
Those who know me know that I like my cell phones! It should not come as a shock to learn that I finally broke down and purchased the iphone. I resisted as long as I could (and longer than my family imagined), but in the end, the curiosity got the best of me. I have to say, it was a revealing experience. Many news reports detailed long lines and activation hassles; I experienced no such trouble.

My boys and I bought the iphone at the local Apple store. Despite moderate Sunday traffic we managed to get in and out of the store pretty quickly. Apple has set sales up to be a relatively painless experience. You buy the phone and activate it by hooking it up to your computer at home Their music software, (iTunes), takes care of the rest. I must admit, it was really cool and took less than 10 minutes when we got home. It was intuitive, easy to follow. And there were no complications.

More importantly, the cell phone buying experience wasn't like the normal trip to the wireless store that I've experienced before, I've written about wireless carriers before. Often, the buying experience is far from fun, and returning to a store to fix a problem has the same kind of dread as going to the dentist. To hit the Grand Slam with your customers (and associates) it is essential that you motivate the buyers and make buying from you fun. Get this right and your customers will return again and again.

Here are a few tips to help you motivate and make it fun for your customers and associates.

1) Keep things simple!

By creating a simple activation procedure that customers can do in the comfort of their homes, Apple greatly enhanced the retail experience. After spending 10 minutes activating my new iphone, I don't understand why it should take so long in a wireless store. Watching paint dry is more exciting than a trip to the wireless store, unless, of course, Catherine Zeta Jones is working the register.

2) Avoid demotivating policies!

Many times I have watched disinterested, unmotivated associates dutifully enforce ridiculous rules and policies. The most ingenious part Apple's strategy is the activation process so that problems that might crop up take place in the customer's home! Imagine if it was taking place at the Apple store. Instead of helping eager customers hand over $500 for their new devices, Apple's associates would be helping people sync their address books. You choose what seems like more fun!

3) Generate a light atmosphere!

Just walk into an Apple store and you will know what I mean. The stores are bright (the lighting is perfect), and there is music playing throughout. The Apple associates always seem to be enjoying their work. I realize that one's enjoyment at work has a lot to do with the product being sold and how popular it is; however, there's more to it. Apple works hard to remove obstacles that might otherwise impede their associate's enjoyment. For example, lines at check-out are stressful for both customers and associates. Apple's associates have little hand-held devices that act as cash registers for those paying with credit cards. This makes things go very smoothly.

For many years, I was the President and owner of one of the country's most popular wine stores. I always tried to maintain a light mood as I knew the company's psyche would rise and fall with my own attitude. It wasn't always easy; however, I always tried to maintain an easy-going style. Apple has hit the Grand Slam with their easy, delightful process. Now, if you will excuse me, I'm loading some Barbra Streisand on the new phone!
About the Author
Mr. Rosen served as President and Owner of Sam's Wines & Spirits, a family-owned business established in 1940. Mr. Rosen has founded Grand Slam Results, LLC, a speaking and training workshop firm. For more information, visit http://www.grslamresults.com
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