Setting the Stage

Get rid of the crappy stuff and focus on the good stuff.

– Steve Jobs

Today’s post wraps up a three-part look at Carmine Gallo’s book The Apple Experience. It’s about the secrets Apple Retail Store uses to build insanely great customer loyalty. But it’s about so much more. If you lead an organization that serves people, you need to understand and apply the principles in this book.

If you’re just dropping into this series, you really need to visit here to understand how to inspire your internal customer and here to learn how to serve your external customer. It’s this simple: if you don’t understand how to inspire and serve first, nothing in this post will matter.

Cosmetic changes don’t matter if you have people who don’t like their supervisor, their jobs, and can’t communicate with customers.

But even if you have the people and the communication right, poor packaging will actually detract from the experience you worked so hard to achieve. “Poor packaging” in this case can refer to your digital presence (or lack thereof), your branding efforts, and your physical spaces.

Eliminate the clutter

courtesy Shinya Suzuki

courtesy Shinya Suzuki

According to Apple designer Jonathan Ive, “We are absolutely consumed by trying to develop a solution that is very simple because as physical beings we understand clarity.” Though he was speaking about product design, this philosophy extends to the design of the Apple Store experience as well. In Apple’s world, anything that detracts from the user’s experience is eliminated.

Apple cares about things other organizations don’t. It cares about elegance, space, and simplicity. It cares about smudges. Most people don’t care about this as much as Apple, and that’s the difference.

Pay Attention to Design Details

Steve Jobs once said “Design is the fundamental soul of a human-made creation that ends up expressing itself in successive outer layers of the product or service.”

Design matters.

Design Multisensory Experiences

When you walk into an Apple Store, the screens on MacBook computers are set at ninety degree angles, forcing you to touch the computer and move the screen to your ideal viewing angle. In One to One workshops, Creatives don’t touch the computer without permission – instead, they guide customers to find the solutions themselves. Everything in the Apple Store is connected for the purpose of encouraging customers to touch, play, and interact with the devices.

Steve Jobs intuitively understood that there’s power in touch.

By giving Apple’s customers the ability to manipulate the devices for themselves and to play, learn, and have fun, customers would be able to immerse themselves in the ownership experience.

Applications for ChurchWorld

Unclutter your space – ten years of research have confirmed that open spaces and uncluttered environments make customers more relaxed and receptive to connecting with your message

Open space applies to your digital world – eliminate clutter on your site; be sparing in the use of content

Take a field trip – visit Apple stores and  AT&T retail stores for design inspiration

Review every detail of your Guest experience – consider it from their point of view: website, marketing materials, physical spaces. Are all the design elements telling the brand story you want to convey?

Develop a consistent experience – train yourself and your team to make every experience memorable from one event to the next by minding the details and not slacking off

Start from scratch – use a mental exercise by asking the question “How do we want our Guests to feel when they experience our church?” New questions will usually give you new answers.

Create multisensory experiences – using all five senses in your environments are at the heart of breathtaking, memorable experiences

Bombard your brain with new experiences – Steve Jobs said that “creativity is connecting things.” He meant that creativity comes from seeking out new experiences, which in turn can help develop creative, groundbreaking ideas.

Just Make It Great

I have a passion to engage ChurchWorld leaders in elevating the Guest Experiences in their churches to the level of Apple – or Disney – or Nordstroms – or Zappos. I get pushback on that all the time, and that’s okay. You may not like it, but we are all consumers, and the people we are trying to reach live in a consumer culture. If we are going to have experiences in physical spaces to try to reach them, we need to learn tools and techniques that will help us create WOW! experiences.

The stories and thoughts over the past few days from The Apple Experience have been a tremendous resource for my personal toolbox of Guest Services practices. I’m indebted to Carmine Gallo for his work – along with The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs and The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs. This trilogy of Apple inspiration ought to be required reading for ChurchWorld leaders.

Want to know more about Guest Experiences in ChurchWorld? Give me a shout!


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