It’s been about a month since Steve Jobs announced that he was stepping down as CEO of Apple. People weren’t surprised. He has been battling his health for a long time. Jobs is an amazing man. He understands business, technology, and probably most importantly, customers.
Apple has long been recognized as a leader and innovator in customer service. They have created a system, beyond a customer support call/help center, with their in-store Genius Bars, where customers can bring in their products and have Apple’s experts work on their computers, iPhones, etc. How easy is that! Some might even say its genius!
More than leading an organization that delivers great customer service, Jobs was an innovator. He recognized not just what customers wanted, but what customers needed – before they even knew they needed it. He literally created industries with this forward thinking type of innovation. He was first to market with products that were unproven, but quickly turned into staples in the form of needs, not just wants.
Apple is one of the strongest brands in the world, which is due in large part to their army of evangelists. Proof is in the way a Mac customer will evangelize their computer and other Apple products. Just ask a Mac user if he/she would consider switching to a PC. Most likely you’ll witness an amazing level of brand loyalty.
How did Apple do this? While entire books written about Apple have answered this question, one of the simple answers is that they understand the customer. They know what the customer wants, needs and will want. Yes, sometimes they know what the customer wants before the customer even knows they want it. They are, perhaps, one of the most customer focused organizations on the planet.
So, what are you doing to be customer focused? What can you provide your customers that they don’t yet know they want, or more important, need? Figure the answer out and you’ll have more than a loyal customer. You’ll have a partner – an evangelist – who will give you repeat business and sing your praises to their friends and associates. That’s customer loyalty!
Shep Hyken is a professional speaker and New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling business author who works with companies who want to develop loyal relationships with their customers and employees. For information on Shep’s speaking programs, books, and learning programs please contact (314) 692-2200. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org – Web: www.hyken.com – Click here for information on The Customer Focus™ customer service training programs (www.TheCustomerFocus.com).
(Copyright ©2011, Shep Hyken)