Apple Copycats Must Keep One Important Thing in Mind

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Apple's influence is undeniable. In the first 24 hours since announcing the new iPhone 6 last week, the company took 4 million preorders in the first 24 hours.
Employee Engagement Strategies

Apple's influence is undeniable. In the first 24 hours since announcing the new iPhone 6 last week, the company took 4 million preorders in the first 24 hours.

Apple's approach to consumer products and the customer experience is fundamentally different from most other companies, and this differentiation affects every element of their brand interactions with consumers, from retail experience to product design. That's largely due to how the company has married all the elements of its experience and connected with its customers in a deeply emotional way.

While sleek design and cool apps are also behind much of Apple's popularity, however, the Apple Store employees are at the core of Apple's success in retail customer experience. When a customer walks through the door of an Apple Store, employees are taught to take her through Apple's five steps of customer service aimed to deliver amazing experiences and build customers for life.

Businesses across all industries are taking note of Apple's success, notably around its retail store experience, and adopting similar experiences. An article published today on 1to1 Media by author Judith Aquino shines a spotlight on how automobile makers are taking a cue from Apple.

In the article, she writes about how General Motors, for example, offers its own version of Apple's geniuses with its "Connected Customer Specialists," people trained to educate the salespeople at GM dealerships about the latest features and functions in GM models. This is in an effort to help them better assist the customers. In addition, each dealership has a certified technology expert to provide additional expertise.

And earlier this year, BMW launched its "BMW Genius Everywhere" program in which employees armed with iPads are trained to inform shoppers about new features, answer questions, and give free technical support at dealerships. As part of its initiative, BMW also offers an app and website with how-to videos about vehicle features and functionalities and model-specific information.

Conversely, Anna Papachristos points out in her article, "Overcoming the Technological Cool Down," how rather than hop on the technological bandwagon, brands must blaze their own trails if they wish to stand out above the chatter in the space.

In a nutshell, whether basic or advanced, technology must be employed in ways that drive value and simplicity. Papachristos highlights three brands--Delta, USAA, and Mercedes-Benz--which are still earning their "cool" credentials through new technology adoption, while not losing sight of the underlying experience.

Ultimately, all the technology adoption in the world won't make a difference if there's a lack of training, communication, and understanding on the employee level. Apple's magical user experience is baked into the DNA of the company- and that experience is treated obsessively in the way Apple models its business. Any Apple copycats must always keep this in mind when embarking on their own customer experience journeys.

EXPERT OPINION
EXPERT OPINION