This is a great post today from Inside CRM discussing how Apple has built an ongoing relationship with its customers. One thing easy to overlook, and a key but relatively hidden fact of Apple’s ongoing and dramatic resurgence, is how well they relate to their customers and vice versa.
Case in point. For years Apple has been trying to sell Macs alongside PCs at Best Buys and CompUSAs (RIP) These efforts have largely failed because they were indirectly reaching their customers. The salesperson had to learn about selling both Macs and PCs and were often motivated by spiffs to move non-Apple products. Consequently, the sales rep could not demonstrate the same level of enthusiasm for Apple’s products as Apple could.
It wasn’t until Apple really focused on its online properties that direct sales to consumers took off. After learning how to present a clear, consistent message they opened their own stores and essentially copied this museum-like experience into a hands-on retail presence. Hiring their own sales ambassadors and controlling the entire shopping experience has really paid off, and Apple Stores are now a model that other consumer goods manufacturers are just beginning to copy. Add their mastery of word of mouth and traditional marketing, a keen focus on surprising and delighting customers, and you have Apple-style success.
The bottom line: Apple doesn’t just reach its customers. Apple embraces them. And their loving customers hug right back.