Apple, Inc. just announced its best quarter ever. For Q1 2012, they booked $13.06 billion profit on $46.33 billion in revenue. That’s over 50% more than its previous record in Q3 2011! As I type this, their stock is at an all-time high. They are bigger than Exxon and have over $97.6 billion in the bank. Not bad for a company that was almost bankrupt 15 years ago. How did they do it? I think the answer is really simple – and one that each of us can use to improve our own businesses RIGHT NOW.
My Apple Store experience (one of many)
This weekend, I went to our local Apple Store to buy an iMac computer for Forge3. I walked in and was immediately greeted by John – one of the smiling Apple folks walking around in a blue shirt. I told him I was looking for a new iMac. After answering a few of my questions, he grabbed an iPod from his pocket, tapped a few buttons and asked if I needed anything else. A few minutes later, without missing a beat, another blue-shirted worker came out of nowhere with my new iMac and placed it at my feet. I signed the iPod with my finger and the receipt printed under one of the tables in the middle of the store closest to where we were standing. The entire process took five minutes and I never moved more than 12 inches. How’s THAT for service?!
And, before I left, I showed John my iPhone case that was starting to fall apart. It was out of warranty, so I didn’t expect much. However, without hesitation, he walked to the back wall, grabbed a new case and handed it to me. He did the same for my wife who was with me. No charge. No questions. No hassle. He shook my hand and thanked me for stopping by.
They get it!
Great customer service is about EXCEEDING expectations, no just meeting them. That’s exactly what Apple does. They differentiate themselves by WOW’ing people and earning their business for life.
Go ahead and try it. If you haven’t already, walk into any Apple Store and look around. You’ll see first-time Apple users getting one-on-one training. You’ll see a bunch of Apple workers spread throughout the store answering question and showing off the products. You’ll see a schedule of free training events. Compare this good-vibe, we-want-to-help environment with any other retail store. It’s night and day. This is why Apple is killing it these days while Best Buy is struggling to stay alive. Think about it.
My challenge to you
Take a look at your business. Are you an Apple or just another orange?
Let us know what makes YOU different in the comments below.