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Why The Apple Store Wins At Customer Service



Apple Store Wins At Customer Service

It’s a bad time to be an electronics retailer. As more and more customers are turning online to buy to their newest device, sales have fallen nearly 5% over the last five years. More than 7,000 private electronics stores have shut down in the last decade, that’s almost 15% of the locations in the United States. While retailers overall have seen a growth in sales and continue to hire new employees, the surviving tech retailers are cutting positions in an effort to survive.

Customers Want More

The secret to saving brick-and-mortar tech stores may not be in carrying all the latest gadgets at the lowest possible price. Instead, customers are looking for a better experience, and they’re finding it online. Customers rank their experience highest at digital storefronts, while in-store experience ranks lowest.

Customers prefer to interact with real people, rather than a chatbot or automated processes. But bad experiences send customers packing, and they often take their business online. For most Americans, it only takes a few bad experiences to push them away ㅡ no matter how much they love a brand or product.

Why Do Customers Take Their Business Elsewhere?

  • They sense a bad attitude from employees
  • The service wasn’t friendly
  • They lose trust in the company
  • Employees lack the knowledge to help

Service Done Badly: Radio Shack

When Radio Shack was at its peak, it was known as a place to get hard-to-find parts for building and fixing electronics. Its employees were knowledgeable and ready to help. But in an effort to increase profits and lower costs, Radio Shack changed that business model, losing the thing that made them unique.

After shifting its business model, Radio Shack started losing customers. By 2016, the store earned the lowest customer experience rating of all U.S. retailers. Just one year later, more than 1,000 Radio Shack stores had closed.

Gold Standard Service: The Apple Store

Apple Stores have focused on customer service excellence from the beginning, and bases its store’s customer experience on hospitality training from the Ritz-Carlton. Their top-tier customer service has earned Apple a sky-high customer loyalty rate, reaching a record of 90% in 2018.

How Apple Keeps Customers Happy

  • The staff warmly greets all visitors to the store
  • Employees address customers by name
  • The minimalist, open-floor plan reflects Apple’s unique brand
  • Lines are eliminated by bringing a card reader to the customer for checkout
  • Reservations for tech support eliminate long wait times
  • Fully-functioning device displays offer distractions for waiting for customers

Careful attention to customer experience has earned Apple the highest retail sales of all consumer electronics stores in the United States. Apple’s more than $35 million in sales is 5 times that of the next largest competitor, Best Buy. Yet Apple has only 270 stores, fewer than Best Buy, At&T, and Verizon.

A customer wants a great experience from the moment they step into a store, and they’re willing to pay more for it. Check out this infographic to learn more about Apple Store’s approach to customer service, and how it set them apart:

Brian Wallace is the Founder and President of NowSourcing, an industry leading infographic design agency , based in Louisville, KY and Cincinnati, OH which works with companies that range from startups to Fortune 500s. Brian also runs #LinkedInLocal events nationwide, hosts the Next Action Podcast, and has been named a Google Small Business Advisor for 2016-present and joined the SXSW Advisory Board in 2019. Follow Brian Wallace on LinkedIn as well as Twitter.