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How You Can Provide a Stellar Customer Experience

Posted by Kate Seat on 5/22/15 12:00 AM
Topics: college store customer service, college retail

The bar is set pretty high these days. Your store is facing more competition than ever before, not to mention that, at this moment, your customers are probably mentally ranking their experience in your store with just about every other shopping experience they've had.

Every. Single. One.

While it may be daunting to contemplate competing with the customer experience provided by global titans with virtually unlimited resources, your store actually has the home field advantage.

Why not maximize it?

To learn how Apple's approach to the customer experience can help your store do exactly this, read the following selection from a post by Curt Finch.

It's a growing world, and marketing strategies are evolving faster than ever before. As the phrase goes, you either adapt or you die.

In the last few years, we’ve seen that the ways customers interact with and think of companies — and the experiences they expect in return — is changing. In some cases, dramatically.

Across the board, we’ve seen that customers aren’t just comparing the experience of dealing with you to the best in your industry — which they are, of course — but they’re comparing you against the best experiences in the world.

  • If Apple can make my mobile computing experience easy, why can’t you?
  • If Virgin America can let me tailor my in-air experience (delivering food, music, movies, television when and how I want it) why can’t other airlines?
  • If Amazon can get me anything in two days for little or no cost, or Zappos will take 10 pairs of shoes back – and pay for the shipping — why can’t you?”

What is it about Apple, as well as these other companies, that doesn’t just rethink the customer experience but break the mold entirely?shutterstock_147078041

It’s actually more than “just showing up”

First and foremost is the focus on customer service.

Specifically speaking, this does not mean just showing up will cut it, nor does it mean giving in to every whim. More than either of those things, it simply means that a certain amount of listening is required to get the experience just right.

Again, let’s take a look at what Apple does. Any iPhone, iPad or Mac user will happily tell you their experience of taking a device to an Apple Store, sitting at the Genius Bar and having the device repaired or replaced (oftentimes it’s done for free) and often with little regard to whether the device is still under warranty.

Why?

Because — and here’s the kicker — Apple has made the conscious decision to focus on customer happiness rather than profit.

The end result? As Steve Denning writes for Forbes, “Apple has grasped that making money is the result of the firm’s actions, not the goal.”

Don’t hoard the knowledge

That’s why a hallmark factor of the Apple Retail experience is the educational value. Throughout any given day, Apple Stores offer free in-house workshops to help individuals learn how to use their devices.

Whether it’s the basics of Mac OS X, getting the most from your iPhone or how to edit and enhance your photos, there’s a workshop you can sign up for.

Again, Apple has realized that the customer experience is about far more than the bottom line: it’s about helping customers gain the most benefit from the products and services they buy.

Refrain fom getting too “salesy”

You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who’s visited an Apple Store and experienced a hard sell.

It’s not uncommon to experience the exact opposite — to show up thinking you need a certain model computer, phone or iPad only to have the sales staff point you in the direction of a less expensive configuration that will serve you just as well.

This type of market response is the exact reason why Apple is actually giving their customers a voice, empowering them with knowledge and listening to what they have to say when it comes to product development and company decision-making.

The markets talk, and if your share is dwindling, consider that this might be the very reason why.

About Kate Seat

Kate Seat is a former copywriter at MBS. When away from work, she’s either creating one-of-a-kind art dolls, reading or watching way too much tv with her husband, daughter and an irritable chinchilla named Klaus.

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