Realization of this success is hard to grasp in an economy where brick-and-mortar stores have and continue to suffer do to low-cost online retailers such as Amazon and large, low-cost brick-and-mortar retailers such as Costco and Wal-Mart (Bajarin, 2012).
Despite the odds and in only fourteen years, Apple has managed to build a highly successful retail chain that is in high demand domestically and globally. In Figure 1, the number of Apple stores worldwide tallies to 463 as the end of 2015 approaches. Why
are Apple stores so successful and continue to increase in popularity when Apple products are readily available through other retailers who are more convenient and with a lower price? The reason, Apple differentiates itself from other retailers in that it offers a value-added service (Majeski, 2011). Apple doesn’t just want to sell products; it wants to show customers how to maximize benefits from technology (Majeski, 2011). Thus, in order to accomplish this goal, Apple offers a high-value customer service retail experience.
Apple’s Philosophy on Customer Service
Among other company declarations, Apple’s dedication to great customer service is embedded in its business strategy. Heisterberg and Verma (2014) state “Exceptional customer service must be the backbone of businesses in today’s tough climate” (p. 119). Apple clearly understands this principle. In Apple’s 2014 Annual Report’s Business Strategy declaration, Apple states its position on customer service:
The Company believes a high-quality buying experience with knowledgeable salespersons who can convey the value of the Company’s products and ...
... middle of paper ...
...alue for the customers and the company (p. 149).
Apple understood that people have emotional relationship to goods (Schneiders, 2011, p. 64). In designing a retail customer experience, Apple utilized this knowledge to focus on the customer over the product. In doing this, Apple fostered a positive emotional connection to its products (Schneiders, 2011, p. 64).
In Figure 2, the top five areas for customer service development are outlined. When thinking on Apple, it is clear the company excels in all five areas. Of these five, the highest ranked and thus deemed most important is listening to and understanding the customers’ needs. This is exactly what Apple did in designing its retail stores and hiring and training its retail employees. Apple designed a fun customer experience that focused on empathy for the customer not on products and for this experience many
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