I bring you this blog post in the hopes of a temporary ceasefire in an epic battle that has been raging for over 30 years. Both sides are passionate about what they believe in, and are as similar as they are different. Yes, you may have guessed it; I’m talking about Mac users v. PC users. Perhaps one of the most defining characteristics of a person in this technology era is where their computing allegiances lie. (There have even been studies dedicated to the personality differences between self-described “Mac people” and “PC people”).
DISCLAIMER: I am a Mac person. Before PC people navigate away from the page (and after the Mac people wipe the smug grins off your faces), I’d like to share with ALL readers a valuable lesson in marketing that businesses of all sizes, industries, and operating systems can take from Apple.
Think of your brand not in terms of the products offered or services provided, but as an experience. There is a reason why Apple users happily identify themselves as members of the “Cult of Mac.” So, what makes up the Apple experience to foster such loyalty and devotion? And what can your brand do to emulate some of their best practices?
- Devoted and engaged employees are the first, and best, line of defense. The idea of the Genius Bar is, well, genius. For those that don’t know what the Genius Bar is, there is one located in every Apple retail store staffed with all-knowing Apple experts. Customers build trust knowing they can speak with someone face-to-face and have their issue resolved in a timely manner. It also helps that Apple calls its store employees “geniuses,” as this inspires confidence that they know what they’re talking about.
- A brand that isn’t afraid to express its opinion is one people never forget. Remember those Mac vs. PC commercials? Apple boldly differentiated itself, and its customers, from the competition on a personal level, and the campaign was a huge success. People everywhere were talking about which “kind” of computer they were, and the hip, cool message resonated with Apple’s key audience as well. Which was exactly the company’s goal (in addition to making sales, of course).
- Presentation is everything. From how the store looks, to how the your computer, tablet or MP3 player comes out of the box, to how the customer service reps sound, and respond, on calls, Apple has this one down. I have a colleague that recently bought a Mac, but being the savvy person that she is, before she made her purchase she asked for gift certificates to Apple for her birthday. There ended up being an issue with the one her mother sent, so not only did an Apple customer service rep issue a new gift certificate with no questions asked, she also took down my colleague’s number and followed up with a phone call at the time and date she said she would to ensure it arrived safe and sound.
- Form follows function. There is a very specific reason Apple does what it does. From its function buttons, to the size, shape and style of its power cords, to its user-friendly designs, every, single thing that goes into an Apple product has been well thought out and well planned – always with its customers in mind.
While this may seem simple, my…enlightenment, if you will, came after my above-mentioned colleague purchased her MacBook after a lifetime of Dells. Having been a devout Mac user my entire life, it was with great fascination that I watched her transition, and in the process I learned about some pretty cool customer service things that Apple is doing.
Apple’s “je ne sais quoi,” if you’re into French, or “duende,” as the Spanish put it, is the attention paid to each and every detail of each and every customer touch point with the brand. So whether you’re a Mac or a PC, we can all benefit from adopting a similar, laser focused approach towards our customers.