This piece in the New York Times is a great story about the steps which Apple takes to make sure that it's setting a different expectation with many of its customers, both current and potential:
Many companies don't think about the fact that the promises that they make and the messages that they send to customers take on many different forms. Let's look at the examples illustrated in this article alone:
- The ways in which a company treats you when you're not spending money are highly important. The fact that Ms. Jade was dealt with respectfully and supportively communicates to her and to us, reading this story, that Apple is pretty easy going and accepting of the fact that they don't have to make money from everyone who benefits from Apple's offerings.
- The messages a company sends when you want to buy, but need help are highly important. Apple tries to make sure there are enough knowledgeable people around to answer your questions and not make you feel like you're wasting their time - that the CUSTOMER is the focus. Look around at many stores you go to - that doesn't often feel like it's the case.
- The way the company answers your request to buy is very important. When I'm ready to give you my money I don't want to wait. I don't want to deal with someone who doesn't know how to work the cash register. In this day and age, shouldn't more stores be able to just swipe my card and let me go.. fast?
All of these messages are communicated in a company's interactions with its customers. Whether they're in person, online, over the phone, via mailed correspondence, via their advertising campaigns, through the actual products and services etc.., every company interacts with its customers in a myriad of ways and they shape the consumer's view of the company. For the past few years, the communications coming from Apple have been massively aligned and extraordinarily strong. Apple is cool, it's easy, it's fun, it's well-designed and it's never a mistake to buy it. These are the messages I'm seeing coming from almost everything that the company is doing. It's also why I've been an investor in the company for a while.
How does your company communicate with its customers (current and potential)? Even better: how could we think about making companies more effective and intelligent at it?