You’ve probably been to an Apple store. They’re a very different proposition to what computer retail stores looked like in the first 30 years of the PC revolution. They are super busy, it’s no surprise it’s the most profitable retail outlet in the world per square meter. But the thing that impressed me the most isn’t the slick architectural design and visual brilliance, it wasn’t even the knowledge of the genius, it was this one thing:
I went in to get my macbook fixed after I made an appointment on line. When I arrived a staff member checked me in for my appointment, and then I stood in a line with other people waiting for help. I didn’t have to wait long. But when it was my turn a different guy turned up and said, “Hey Steve, come take a seat and lets get your sorted out.” The thing that threw me was that I was in a bunch of 10 people, I’d never seen this guy before, and yet he knew my name, and come right up to me. He didn’t yell “Steve?, is Steve here? you’re next..”
So I asked him how he knew who I was among all the other random people. And he told me what they do. When you check in on the iPad they write a description of what you look like. Clothes, colour hair, tall, short, red back pack and so on. So there can be no mistaking who is who. There could always be more than one Steve…. there could be two people wearing black t-shirts. This detail ensures they always get it right. He told me that they are told to come up to the customer and great them personally and intimately. And it really works, I felt good.
Now, I know you think that this is not so innovative. It’s hardly a new idea, and anyone could do it. And that is exactly the point. Anyone company could, but not many do. If the worlds biggest company can make a single customer feel like they are getting personal service, what could your startup or small business do?