How to be as good as Apple

The Californian firm takes jealous care of each interaction, whether physical (in store) or digital (website). (Photo: Mihály Köles for Unsplash)

GUEST BLOG. Earlier this month, I presented a conference on the omnichannel customer experience as part of eCommerce Day 2022. The takeaway from my talk is this: you can be as good as Apple at your eCommerce strategy. omnichannel experience, even if you don’t benefit from the same human and financial resources. Explanations.

First, physical customer experience, digital customer experience, B2C (Business-to-Consumer), B2B (Business-to-Business), it makes no difference to the customer. Whether you are a product or a service company, it doesn’t matter to him either.

Why? Simply because customer experience is all about the emotions felt when a customer interacts with a brand, whether face-to-face, on the phone, on the web, reading a contract, unboxing a product, using it or returning it, or for support.

Customer experience is the responsibility of everyone in the company. If you don’t provide a good customer experience, you risk losing half of your customers. Do you find this exaggerated? Who wants to lose 40%, 30%, 20%, 10%, 1% of their hard-earned clientele? Nobody! This simple observation underlines the importance of taking care of all channels — person, telephone, web, documentation — continuously.

Back to emotions. We know that positive emotions build customer loyalty. We also know that negative emotions drive them away. Our mission is therefore clear: to maximize positive emotions and minimize negative emotions. It’s easy to communicate. It’s simple to understand. And it’s easy to implement. Just do it!

Complete customer journey

Now, how do we provide a customer experience as good as Apple’s even if we don’t have the same human and financial resources?

First, start by mapping your customer’s complete journey, from discovery to evaluation, from purchase to delivery or pick-up, from unboxing to installation or configuration, from use to support, while thinking about the return of goods.

Then, dwell on each touchpoint. Think about the smallest details. Create value for the customer, not for your business! Then make sure to maximize positive emotions and minimize negative emotions. Reduce effort. Save the customer time. Personalize the advice and the offer of products or services. Reassure the customer. Be transparent. Finally, inspire confidence.

The intention here is to move from a transaction to a relationship. If you’re just a supplier, you’re just a commodity. However, if you are a partner, if there is a relationship, that is something else.

The goal is simple: to be perfect, nothing less, at every touchpoint. Make sure you’re consistent across all channels, speaking the same story whether you’re on the phone, on the web, or in print.

I invite you to (re)read my two previous posts describing the experience of buying a smartwatch and an iPad mini from Apple to better understand the attention paid to each touch point by the company co-founded by Steve Jobs.

You will find that the Californian firm takes jealous care of each interaction, whether physical (in store) or digital (website). Why am I still talking to you about Apple? Quite simply because it redefines the standards of the omnichannel customer experience.

Apple enjoys a remarkable NPS (Net Promoter Score) of 70, and its revenue for the last quarter of 2021 is US$124 billion. She must be doing something right to get such results! I know Apple isn’t perfect, but overall it stands out from its competitors and is a source of inspiration.

Don’t forget your employees

I almost forgot: train and equip your employees. How do you expect them to provide a good customer experience if they are not well trained in know-how (skills in relation to your products or services) and soft skills (decency, emotional intelligence)?

And then listen to your customers and employees. Keep your ears and eyes open. Ask customers what works and what doesn’t. Also ask employees what works and what doesn’t. Often, it is the people in the field who have the solutions, often simple, to improve the customer experience and the employee experience.

I really like this quote from renowned marketing author and speaker Guy Kawasaki: “The best way to drive the competition crazy is to make your customers happy. To make your customers happy, they must be at the center of everything you do. So you never have to worry about your competitors again.” Well said!


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