Published May 6, 2016 | Updated December 4, 2019
Whether you’re an Apple fan or not, as a dealer you have to envy the loyalty the brand inspires. Its customers are legion and many won’t even consider anything else. If Apple makes it, they want it … and they want it fast!
What’s responsible for that loyalty? Products and service, certainly. But those aren’t enough by themselves. After all, plenty of electronics manufacturers make great stuff and support it well. But there’s got to be more to it.
Ask Apple fans about their almost cultish devotion to the company and many will find it difficult to pinpoint any single thing. That’s because it’s really the whole customer experience that draws them in and keeps them in. As Steve Jobs was famous for saying, it’s insanely great.
Here’s why: Apple obsesses about customer experience. Every aspect is carefully considered and tightly controlled – stores, packaging, a MacBook fan that quiets itself when you use voice dictation, software button reflections react to the tilt of your iPhone. And the list goes on and on.
It’s said that Steve Jobs spent a half hour deciding on the right shade of grey for Apple Store restroom signs. That’s one of many examples.
Obsessive? Arguably. But consider that Apple sits on over $200 billion in cash. They’re doing something right. Something you can do too.
Take a look at your business. You don’t have to be Apple to give your customers an experience that keeps them coming back. But first you’ll want to find out where you can do the most good for a reasonable investment of time and money.
5 Ways to Evaluate Your Current Customer Experience
While you may not have the vast resources Apple has, chances are your customer experience could be improved and unified. But where? Here are a few ways to find out:
- Customer surveys. Want to know what customers want? Ask. But remember what Henry Ford is rumored to have said, too: “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”
- Employee surveys. Employees, especially those who work directly with customers, can be a great resource for identifying strong and weak spots in your customer experience.
- Use a secret shopper. While your first impulse may be to have an uncle do it, you may get more actionable ideas from a service that specializes in this.
- Monitor social media. Ideally, you’re doing this already, but if not, now’s a great time to start. Keep in mind that what you’re likely to find is both great experiences and nightmares, with little in between. Still, it’s worth knowing what potential and current customers are hearing about your business.
- Analyze customer dropouts in your sales process. Are they evenly spread? Or concentrated in a few areas?
Now what? Consider the following:
6 Ideas for Improving Customer Experience in Any Business
While your customer experience improvement plan will depend on what you find out in the evaluation stage, almost every business can give customers a better experience using one or more of these tips:
- Update your furniture and fixtures. Your customers may never tell you, but outdated furniture and fixtures can signal decline and indifference, whether or not they pick up on it consciously. It can have a negative effect on employees, too.
- Upgrade to a VoIP phone system, if you haven’t already. Customers find what they’re calling about faster and more easily, plus you can add self-service options, a customer favorite that also makes employees more productive.
- Make sure everything, from employee uniforms to shelf tags to invoice headers, reflects your brand and avoids confusing customers. Confused customers tend to pack up and go somewhere they’re not confused.
- Whenever customers ask questions, make comments, or express any kind of interest in any way, get back to them quickly, preferably same day. Make sure you’re monitoring your social media channels, too (see above).
- Minimize buying friction by giving customers a range of buying options, including financing.
- Contact customers at regular intervals after purchase to see if there are any questions or problems. This lets you get on top of issues early, and you may also generate more business from customers and referrals.
You don’t have to be Apple to give customers an experience that keeps them coming back. In fact, customer experience can often be dramatically improved with just a few relatively easy and inexpensive tweaks. In any case, you don’t have to (and probably shouldn’t) do it all at once. The important thing is to take the first step today.
Interested in adding financing or upgrading to a private-label solution that gives you more control over the customer experience and builds your brand? Get in touch – we make it easy.