Serving Your External Customer

People don’t just want to buy personal computers anymore. They want to know what they can do with them, and we’re going to show people exactly that.

– Steve Jobs

The first secret to offering insanely great customer service is to make sure your team is happy, motivated, and passionate. This previous post took a look at that. But passion and energy take you only so far. Step Two is to master the skills required to make your customers feel special.

courtesy Michael Coghlan

courtesy Michael Coghlan

In his book The Apple Experience, Carmine Gallo continues to take readers behind the glass and chrome of Apple Retail Stores to discover just what makes them so successful. He breaks down Apple’s customer-centric model to provide an action plan with three distinct  areas of focus. A previous post was on the topic was the internal customer; today, serving your external customer.

Follow Apple’s Five Steps of Service

Walk into an Apple Retail Store, and you’ll be greeted with warm, friendly, cheery welcome within seconds of stepping inside. It’s the first of five steps employees are instructed to take to create an enriching and memorable experience for all Apple Store customers. The steps are known to employees by the acronym APPLE:

  • Approach customers with a personalized, warm welcome
  • Probe politely to understand all the customer’s needs
  • Present a solution for the customer to take home today
  • Listen for and resolve any issues or concerns
  • End with a fond farewell and an invitation to return

Apple, like other customer service champs (Disney, Ritz-Carlton, Starbucks, Nordstroms, and Zappos, among others) are successful because they make customer feel special. They approach with a warm welcome, they ask questions, they listen, they enhance the conversation, and they give you a feeling of empowerment. If you can make your customers feel appreciated, confident, and admired, they’ll reward you with their loyalty.

This section of Gallo’s book is rich with stories, ideas, and techniques your organization can put to use immediately when interacting with customers. Here’s a sample of some of the chapter headings:

  • Reset Your Customer’s Internal Clock
  • Sell the Benefit
  • Unleash Your Customer’s Inner Genius
  • Create WOW Moments
  • Rehearse the Script
  • Deliver a Consistent Experience

Applications for ChurchWorld

Study the five steps of service – review Apple’s five steps of service and evaluate how you can incorporate each step in your organization

Review all of your customer’s touchpoints – are you and your team greeting Guests warmly? Are you making them feel as though they have entered a special environment prepared just for them?

Communicate consistently – digital, print, and spoken communication needs to be consistent – with your vision and your actions

Create culture-focused team descriptions – design a Guest-focused culture starting with your team descriptions

Follow the ten-minute rule – provide a memorable WOW in the first 10 minutes of your Guest coming on campus

Script your story – make sure that every part of your weekend experience has a story that has been scripted so that everything flows together, is repeatable, and memorable

Hold regular meetings to reinforce your vision – providing superior Guest Experience requires constant reinforcement and modeling

Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.

– Steve Jobs

NEXT: Setting the Stage

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