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The Apple Store has redefined the customer experience. Today Apple Retail boasts the highest profits per square foot of any retailer in the world. It has also served a model—the gold standard—for businesses across a wide variety of categories. Carmine Gallo, author of the international bestsellers The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs and The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs , spent years researching Apple, interviewing former Apple executives, and also interviewing the founders and leaders of other customer service champions including: The Apple Experience is for anyone who is serious about reimagining the customer experience because, at its core, this experience is not about Apple.
Carmine Gallo explains beautifully and simply just what makes the Apple retail experience so successful.
No matter what kind of business you are in, there are insanely valuable lessons in this book! This book will help you understand and implement the three pillars of enchantment: An exciting resource for any business owner in any country who wants to reimagine the customer experience. Not only does Carmine Gallo answer that question brilliantly, but he shows precisely how to make sure your customers never ask it about your business.
site Vine Reviewer. I highly recommend it for any corporate executive, business owner, and it works really well when I consult with non profits organizations too. There were about twenty applicants there. Once we had all arrived, store management performed introductions and told us they were going to be hiring some of us to fill various positions.
We were asked to go around the room, introduce ourselves, tell why we wanted to work for Apple, and something unique or interesting about ourselves.
At this point I was feeling pretty good because I have quite a bit of experience with Pages and most of the people there, even though they had called themselves Mac fanatics not ten minutes ago, barely even knew what Pages was.
Ten minutes earlier some people in the room were bragging about how much technical knowledge they had about Macs and the programs. Fearlessness is not arrogance. Arrogance covers up insecurities.
Fearless applicants speak up in a group without trying to impress the group with how much they know. Apple customers are demanding. An arrogant candidate stands little chance of getting through the next round. The panel is looking for some technical knowledge, the confidence to ask for help, and the commitment to make sure the customer walks out of the store with a smile on his or her face.
Managers are judging whether the candidate can go toe-to-toe with Steve Jobs, but they also want to determine that the potential employee can offer a Ritz-Carlton level of customer service. Managers might bring a candidate to the third round simply to reassure themselves and their staff that the new employee has passion and the right attitude.
In this stage a candidate might be asked questions about her success in a previous job. Again, the answer is not as important as the way the question is answered.
A candidate who takes all the credit for his success will not be as impressive as the person who credits the team. Going toe-to-toe with Steve Jobs simply means that an employee believes in something and is willing to fight for it. They are looking for fearlessness. Does the candidate get rattled? Does he or she fold?
Again, they are not looking for people who have all the answers, but people who will defend their point and not be shy to ask for help when they need it. In the original Macintosh team gave out awards to people who best stood up to Steve Jobs.
In both his personal and professional life over the years, his inner circle tended to include many more strong people than toadies. Hire fearless employees instead. In a word—ownership. If you approach an employee with a problem or question, the employee must own the problem and see that you are cared for. This tactic rarely happens anywhere else. I once approached a friend who looked very tired and agitated.
Both brands hire friendly, but fearless employees who take ownership of the problem and will not let it rest until the customer gets resolution. Cowardly employees will pass the buck. A fearless employee owns the relationship from beginning to end.
No obstacle will get in the way of creating a satisfying relationship between the customer and the brand. Apple, your products are expensive and your shops a bit weird, but I love your customer service. The players respected their coach and were fiercely loyal to each other on the field.
I had not packed a suit or a tie for this trip, and I really felt like the topic required more formal attire. I downloadd two coats and two ties, all while the car was waiting outside. It took all of fifteen minutes from the time I entered the store. As soon as I walked into the store I talked to the first salesperson I saw, Sam.
Come this way. I know exactly what you need. His goal was to satisfy the customer and to make him look his best, all in fifteen minutes. Store appearance and product knowledge are certainly important, but customer comfort and satisfaction during the shopping experience hinge on something else: Where does the positive shopping experience start?
One study found that in a recession only half of employees in the United States took all their vacation time in a country where the average vacation is only two weeks. Expecting these employees to provide an exceptional customer service is like asking the cast of Jersey Shore to go one day without making fools of themselves.
Fear also leads to something even more damaging to creating a customer- centered culture. Instead, Jobs motivated his team by creating a television ad—not for his customers, but for his employees. Richard Dreyfus was the actor who voiced the final television ad, but Cook played the version Jobs read in his own voice.
The misfits. The rebels.
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The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. They push the human race forward. While some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do. Both men loved design and would speak daily about creating products that were simple, elegant, and easy to use.
Ive was invited to say a few words at the memorial celebration. Sometimes they were truly dreadful. But sometimes they took the air from the room and left us both completely silent: He could also be harsh with Ive, but he expected Ive to defend his ideas. Both men cherished the process and realized that innovation cannot flourish without the open exchange of ideas and feedback. But without fearlessness, the process breaks down.
Ive pitched ideas passionately even though he knew there would be a good chance Jobs might cut them down with a curt, harsh rejection. But he had the confidence to go toe-to-toe with Jobs. Go toe-to-toe with Jobs. Provide Ritz-Carlton customer service. Encourage team interaction. Is the person a know-it-all, or does he or she treat others with respect and even ask for help from time to time?
The goal is not to impress customers with knowledge. The goal is to leave customers feeling special and to enrich their lives.
She will confidently make on-the-spot decisions for the good of the customer relationship. A low-trust environment is a recipe for disaster. Low trust creates hidden agendas, politics, interpersonal conflict, interdepartmental rivalries, win-lose thinking, defensive and protective communication.
Low trust slows everything—every decision, every communication, and every relationship. Managers strive to create a trusting environment where employees feel confident giving and receiving feedback and making their customers feel valued. If you do not practice these behaviors as a leader in your organization, you might want to start. You will never develop an exceptional customer service strategy without developing trust.
Remember the question that hiring managers at Apple ask themselves: Jobs appreciated creative ideas. Isaacson confirms that Jobs allowed, even encouraged, people to challenge him. Although employees could challenge Jobs, he demanded clarity from the conversation. Obfuscation was a direct path to getting fired or getting your head bitten off.
But he had better have a good reason he can articulate simply and clearly to his manager. Straight talk also applies to the interaction between employee and customer. She respects the dignity of everyone on the team. Steve Jobs surrounded himself with a small group of A-players. But in a retail environment with 35, employees, the reality is that some B-players will also be on the sales floor.
Managers must show kindness and respect to everyone on the team, even a player who is not living up to his potential. Employees have a way of raising their game when they are given praise and positive feedback and are treated with dignity.
They disclose information if the information improves the customer experience, and they expect the same from their employees. For example, one fearless Apple manager asked an employee how things were going on the floor.
An employee also needs to trust a manager enough to be open. You will learn more about developing an effective feedback loop, which is a result of established trust, in Chapter 5. Anything that gets in the way of that relationship must be addressed quickly. Righting a wrong quickly and authentically will restore trust among the team and even add a reservoir of trust that could benefit a supervisor in the future.
If they promise something, they follow through. Griffin is consistently ranked as one of the best places to work in the country. The hospital has committed itself to open and honest communications between management and staff.
That commitment was put to the test in November , when the first victim of what would become a deadly, nationwide anthrax attack was brought to the hospital. Charmel had scheduled a staff meeting where he had planned to disclose the information.
Despite admonitions from politicians and even the FBI, Charmel told his staff. He trusted them to keep the news confidential until it was made public.
He makes things happen. The buck stops with him and he takes the hit. After a disheartening loss for the San Francisco 49ers in the season, new coach Jim Harbaugh told the assembled press that the blame rested with him. He had not prepared them enough for the defense they would face.
In the first nine games of the year, Harbaugh had built a tremendous reservoir of trust and respect among his players. The 49ers reached the playoffs that season for the first time since , losing the NFC title game in overtime. Many of the players said that Harbaugh was the most inspiring coach they had played for.
In sports and in business, players need to trust their leader. For Your Improvement. Some Apple Stores have several copies of the book available for their staff. No one expects an employee to master all sixty-seven competencies, but they are encouraged to improve in one or two areas a year as part of their ongoing personal and professional development.
She shares bad news as well as the good news. Apple Retail employees seem to avoid the word problem. Together we can work at creating an opportunity to enhance the customer experience.
Apple employees know that they are expected to walk through the Apple five steps of service discussed in Part II. Expectations must be set for customers, as well. For example, customers will often show up at the Genius Bar at an Apple Store to ask questions or have repairs made. If they show up without an appointment, an Apple employee might set expectations: Do you know how to make an appointment online?
Setting proper expectations can resolve these types of issues. As discussed earlier, Disney is another brand known for creating a unique customer experience. The look is clean, natural, and unpolished and avoids cutting-edge trends or extremes. The Disney website has a long list of requirements that covers body alterations, hair, fingernails, and makeup.
The expectations are clearly spelled out. They do not blame others when things go wrong. They take full responsibility for the behavior of their employees in a sales environment.
When goals are missed, you see which leaders are fearless and trustworthy and which are spineless and untrustworthy. I recall working for a PR firm during one bad quarter when all the senior leaders started pointing the finger at each other and individual units within the department.
It was discouraging and disheartening. Not surprisingly, the PR firm soon became known for uninspiring managers and disappointed clients. I left when I realized the firm did not meet my internal standards for excellence. Many of the other A- players left as well in the months to follow. People who are at the top of their game want to work for leaders whom they trust and admire. We listen and respond immediately to all feedback, taking personal initiative to make it right.
We encourage open dialogue with our people and customers to share ideas about improving our stores, our processes, and our performance. Managers who overpromise and underdeliver will lose the trust of their team very quickly.
This point goes with delivering results: Of course, they are careful, but they demonstrate a propensity to trust their employees.
Covey offers the following advice: Extend conditionally to those who are earning your trust. The opposite of trust—distrust—is suspicion. The fastest way to lose trust—at Apple or any other company—is to violate these thirteen principles.
Trust will be shattered if a manager fails to speak clearly, seeks personal gain at the expense of the team, withholds information, distorts information, or refuses to listen. It is a basic threshold requirement to be a part of the team. Without it, almost nothing else matters. Say what needs to be said.
Keep confidences. Take responsibility. Step up to address issues. Share information. Follow through. Put the team first. Signal that you are thinking as a team. Virgin entrepreneur Richard Branson might have said it best: Once you have clearly shown this, it will be easier to have open communication with them, and they will want to give you feedback that continues to keep the customer experience as memorable as it should be every time. Study competency 29, Integrity and Trust.
Read Speed of Trust by Stephen M. It will give you another opportunity to explore the thirteen habits of trustworthy leaders and apply the habits to yourself and your team. Make your approach more receptive and open. Avoid using the pronoun I when addressing issues that need change. In some cases this was very true. Would you have agreed to pay ninety-nine cents a song in when you could otherwise download songs on the Internet for free? But Jobs realized what most people did not—music fans would pay for a better, seamless, and legal customer experience.
In January , would you have told Jobs that you wanted to carry around yet another device in addition to a mobile phone and a laptop computer? Jobs realized that people really wanted an ultra-portable device that would make it easier to do e-mail, browse the Internet, and enjoy photographs, video, and books. When it came to big innovations, Jobs did indeed rely on his intuition and imagination.
But it is incorrect to assume that Apple never listens to its customer. The exact opposite is true. Apple listens to its customers all the time and more important, actively solicits feedback from both its internal customers employees and external customers. Feedback requires fearlessness and trust. A fearful employee will be unwilling to be open and honest in offering feedback about the company, its policies, or a manager.
Fearless employees will disagree with you, but they will offer valuable feedback when the opportunity presents itself. In she became a key aide to General Ray Ordierno, the former commanding general of the U.
The tiny British woman and the general Ordierno is 6 feet, 5 inches made an odd-looking pair, but she played an outsized role—she actively disagreed with Ordierno.
She was assigned the role purposely to disagree with him! Apple certainly looks for character. Apple managers also look for people who can stand up for their ideas, who could go toe-to-toe with Steve Jobs because they must be brave enough to voice their opinions.
Steve Jobs believed so much in feedback—internal and external—he would periodically pick up the phone at Apple customer care.
He wanted to hear directly from customers about their frustrations. In fact, he could shoot down a customer with a pointed word or phrase. But more often than not, Jobs sought feedback, listened, and like any good leader, acted on that feedback. He saw feedback as a gift. Quite amazing.
Feedback is one of the most common words that I hear from Apple Store employees. Apple managers cultivate an open-door policy where employees feel comfortable and empowered to make comments and suggestions. But it works both ways. Employees and managers must be fearless in their pursuit of feedback.
On a scale of 1 to 10, where do I rank in terms of customer engagement? Did I do everything possible to create a customer for life? Not always, but frequently, it is given soon after a sales transaction in an Apple Store. Managers will ask probing questions to help employees build better quality relationships with customers. What did you miss? How could the transaction have been different? The immediate feedback loop can help any brand create a richer, more satisfying experience between staff and customers.
The Apple philosophy applies to any business, in any industry. For example, most employees working behind the counter of an ice cream store want nothing more than to scoop an ice cream into a cone and get the customer on his way before it melts.
The Apple approach would be for the manager to ask probing questions of the employee: The next conversation might go like this: Welcome to Yummy Ice Cream. It sure is. We certainly have some great flavors to help cool you down. I love vanilla, too.
Have you tried Cherries Jubilee? Sounds good. He did learn something new, his eyes were opened to a new flavor combination, and he enjoyed the relationship that began to form, just in a few short seconds. Have you tried mocha? But he did introduce me to the iPod Touch because after asking probing questions, he learned that I like some music apps like Pandora.
The iPod Touch, he said, would give me all the benefits and apps of an iPhone, without the phone. The Apple specialist had learned—through training and constant feedback—how to create an enriching experience for his customer. In another situation, I entered an Apple Store specifically to download a new notebook computer. Carla was a middle-aged woman who was clearly a free spirit.
She had a purple streak in her hair and wore a beret. She made the downloading experience a real pleasure. Of course, the journalist in me came out, and I asked her as many questions as she asked me. A technology company? But I loved Apple products. I had taken some One to One classes, and my goal is to be a Creative Creatives are the instructors who teach personalized classes in the store.
I remember there were about one hundred people in my first interview. But Apple is different. They hire for passion and personality. We have discussions at the end of every shift.
Thanks for coming in and making my day! Carla represents the next generation of customer service. I must say, the customer service at Apple is great. They really helped me get everything I needed for my download. Interestingly, when you ask the casual Apple Store customers why they were satisfied with their experience, they will rarely, if ever, mention the word feedback.
Conduct a Twitter search for Apple and customer service, and you will find dozens of enthusiastic customers who are sharing their positive experiences with friends on their larger social networks. Add the word feedback to the search term and no results will show up. Studies have consistently shown that companies with higher levels of employee and customer engagement outperform their peers on the stock market and other metrics of financial success.
He called it the Net Promoter Score. But as thousands of companies adopted the score, they expanded it, customized it, or improved the methodology. The result is an NPS that thousands of companies, including Apple, use to measure customer loyalty and to transform their organizations. These are loyal enthusiasts who keep downloading from a company and urge their friends to do the same. These are satisfied customers who are easily wooed by the competition. If a competitor can shave a few bucks off the price of a product, the passives are all over it.
These folks bring down the total score and do a lot of damage. They are unhappy customers who feel badly mistreated. They cut back on their downloads, switch to the competition if they can, and share their negative experience on Twitter, Facebook, foursquare, and other social media platforms. They drive up service costs by reporting numerous problems. They demoralize frontline employees with their complaints and demands.
They gripe to friends, relatives, colleagues— anyone who will listen. Many brands admired for their service, like Southwest Airlines, fall in the 60 percent range. Anything less is considered a failure and requires corrective action immediately.
Apple has been using the NPS feedback loop for years to improve the way they do business—to create a team of employees who love working for the company and to cultivate a group of loyal customers who sing their praises. Everyone is focused on one goal: When Ron Johnson and Steve Jobs began bouncing around the idea of a retail store, there were no computer retailer stores to compare. They had all failed miserably.
Remember that when Apple opened its first store, the iPod was still in development and the Macbook, iPhone, and iPad were years away. So to get people in the door, Apple had to rely on giving people an experience that would enrich their lives.
They would inform, illuminate, and inspire. Apple customers would be its best sales force. Johnson embraced NPS to measure how successful Apple was creating customer advocates. According to Reichheld, Apple Store employees know where they rank among their peers in terms of NPS and where their store ranks relative to other stores in the region.
Promoters are celebrated.
Apple began measuring NPS in when there were stores. The NPS score was This is by far the highest productivity in retailing of any kind. Both must feel comfortable about bringing up issues that might impact the NPS ranking. Under NPP, store employees are surveyed every four months to determine whether or not they would recommend the store as a great place to work. Yes, profits are important. The e-mail said it would take five minutes to fill out the survey.
The survey is facilitated by a third-party, independent market research firm, but the questions are all based on NPS. The first two pages of the Apple feedback form asked simple questions to determine what type of product I had downloadd and whether I bought it online or in the store.
Page three is where it became interesting with the following questions: The next question was the ultimate question: I was assisted in a reasonable amount of time. I was given the personal attention I wanted. Store employees were knowledgeable about products and services.
The checkout process was efficient. They are trained to make sure the customer is aware of the classes, workshops, Apple Care support, and so on. If they read it or heard it once during their initial training, they would likely forget to bring them up. But since they are given feedback every day, they rarely miss an opportunity to educate the customer. My husband almost died. But they showed no compassion. He flew every week for fifteen years. I read the Seberg story in the Los Angeles Times.
Seberg had become a detractor, and in these days of rapidly traveling social media, any negative comment gets a megaphone. Seberg posted a comment to a social network that, in turn, caught the eye of a reporter in Los Angeles. Read about MY experience with them.
US Airways had net more detractors than promoters. This story involved a ten-year-old girl who had saved her allowance money for nine months to download a new product. She literally brought a mason jar full of coins and cash to the store, but it had just closed. When the little girl and her parents saw that it was closed, they were sad and decided to walk around the mall. Much to their surprise, a store manager caught up to them, apologized, and led the girl back into the store.
The employees all applauded and made the little girl feel like a princess. She poured out the contents of her jar and bought her product.
This made my day. This story, too, hit the blogosphere and was retweeted hundreds of times. Both stories reinforce the power of feedback, or the lack of it. The employee was also not empowered to do what is right. Remember the admonition that Steve Jobs left to his employees shortly before his death: Instead ask, is it the right thing? Anyone can sell products. Steve Jobs cared about legacy. You build a company that will stand for something a generation or two from now.
Create daily opportunities for feedback between you and your team. Check your egos at the door. Everyone must feel comfortable and confident giving and taking feedback. Design opportunities to solicit feedback from your customers after the transaction takes place. This can be as simple as an e-mail survey or a brief phone call. Learn more about the importance of feedback and the NPS customer satisfaction score.
DiPiero had never used a Mac, but after her first visit to an Apple Store, she was turned into a customer and an avid evangelist. For fifteen years DiPiero had been sharing a PC at home with her husband, and she finally decided to get a laptop of her own. Her kids were divided on the topic. DiPiero always knew it was different because, well, it looked different.
Gazing through the megasized floor-to- ceiling windows, DiPiero could see that the store looked clean and uncluttered, a far cry from the typical department store DiPiero would visit. It would be one of the most unique shopping experiences of her life and ultimately convince her to become an Apple customer. Upon entering the store, DiPiero looked for the cash register.
All department stores have a cash register, she assumed. Also, most employees never make eye contact. The Apple Store was completely different. They scan the playground. You see those kids clear across the yard? Should I be ready to step in? DiPiero acknowledged that her experience ultimately led to her decision to download a Mac instead of a PC.
She was so overjoyed she developed this APPLE acronym to describe her experience, which she sent me in an e-mail: A is for awesome. The staff listens, directs, and instructs. P is for pristine. The store has a clean, uncluttered appearance. P is for patience. The helpful and friendly staff take their time with customers. L is for learned. Employees know their stuff, and they educate customers, too.
E is for energetic. Employees survey, greet, and respond to customers as soon as they enter. Developing multitaskers can bring your company to the next level. Too many people equate multitasking with juggling multiple projects. If you juggle five projects at the same time and they all turn out badly, then what good does it do you? An exciting resource for any business owner in any country who wants to reimagine the customer experience. Not only does Carmine Gallo answer that question brilliantly, but he shows precisely how to make sure your customers never ask it about your business.
site Vine Reviewer. I highly recommend it for any corporate executive, business owner, and it works really well when I consult with non profits organizations too.
site Review. This read is essential if you plan on elevating your brand value and inspiring greater customer allegiance. The steps to build a better business model by making your customers happy are laid out in a simple and straightforward manner and a constant stream of real world examples bring these concepts to life. Tania Ruiz. What matters most is that the job candidate has what Meyer calls "the hospitality As traditional brick-and-mortar stores shut their doors at a record pace — and online retailers such as site experiment with brick-and-mortar stores — the category is ripe for innovation once again.
The winners might be those who ask more empowering questions. Culture is a narrative that starts at the top with leaders who share and reinforce the brand story every hour of every day.Does he or she fold? English Choose a language for shopping. Instead it has a concierge another innovation that Sharp brought from Europe to the U. Both stories reinforce the power of feedback, or the lack of it.
site Review. No matter what kind of business you are in, there are insanely valuable lessons in this book! The first: One study found that in a recession only half of employees in the United States took all their vacation time in a country where the average vacation is only two weeks.