2013: The Year of the Customer Experience
By: Carmine Gallo, author of The Apple Experience: Secrets to Building Insanely Great Customer Loyalty (McGraw-Hill)
2013 will be is the year of the customer experience.
Brands that create a better experience for their customers will stand a better chance of growing market share. Successful brand managers and recruiters realize, however, that the experience begins with the right people.
After spending one year researching the Apple Retail Store for my new book, The Apple Experience, I discovered that the secret of Apple's success goes far deeper than design and products. The "soul" of Apple is its people -- how they are hired, trained, motivated, and taught to communicate with customers and one another.
The Apple Store understands that the secret to an outstanding customer service starts with friendly, passionate staff. That's why the Apple Store says it likes to hire a "magnetic personality" over proficiency. They can teach you how to sell an iPad. They can't teach friendliness.
Apple Store managers ask three questions about potential recruits to size up the person and to evaluate whether that person is a good fit for the brand. Those questions are:
1. Does the candidate display grit? Grit is the ability to perform under pressure. If the person cannot multi-task and serve more than one customer at any one time, they might not be the best fit for a crowded sales environment. Grit is also intended to measure confidence. Apple wants employees who have opinions and have the confidence to express themselves.
2. Can they offer a Ritz-Carlton level of customer service? Apple wants to make sure that employees are dedicated to making each interaction with every customer as memorable and pleasurable as possible.
3. Could they have gone toe-to-toe with Steve Jobs? This is the most interesting question. We all know that Steve Jobs could be very tough, but he valued feedback. The Apple Store works because every team has an active feedback loop between employees and managers. Managers need to solicit feedback from employees -- everyday. Employees need to have the courage to give feedback and not be fearful of reprisals.
Carmine Gallo is an author, keynote speaker, and communications coach for some of the world's most admired brands. His latest book, The Apple Experience: Secrets to Building Insanely Great Customer Loyalty (McGraw-Hill), is the first look behind the scenes of the Apple Retail Store. It explains how Apple hires, trains, and engages its employees to create magical experiences for their customers. Carmine recently launched an eLearning course titled, The New Rules of Persuasive Presentations, Sell Your Ideas The Steve Jobs Way. Learn more at CarmineGalloAcademy.com.
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