It was early on a Saturday morning when my daughter and I turned up at the Apple store in Reading. What grabbed my attention? The store showed up as clean, bright, open, uncluttered, and spacious. I also noticed that there were many customers there. Amongst each group of customers there was an Apple employee demonstrating the product and answering questions. I did not notice any customers walking around looking for an Apple employee to help them, serve them.
Whilst I was taking this in, a matter of seconds, Andy approached us to see what we needed. I shared the reason I was in the store, “My daughters iPod will not charge”, and handed over the iPod to Andy. Then we followed Andy to the side of the store. He found an iPod station and proceeded to mount the ‘faulty iPod’ on the stand. Then I heard that familiar sound when the iPod starts charging. I was delighted to find that this was the case , and said “It must be the cable then!”.
Andy went to get a new cable and within a minute he was back. He tried out both cables and determined that the existing cable was faulty. In his gentle and non-critical way he explained that the cables did not take too well to twisting: it was the twisting of the cable that had damaged it. Then he showed my daughter how to take care of the new cable.
I was expecting and ready to pay for the new cable. I did not have to. Andy took the old cable and gave us the new cable free of charge. We thanked Andy and left. As I walked away, I asked myself what had made this experience a memorable one. Here is my answer:
1. It was easy to find/get to the Apple store.
2. I felt comfortable being there. The store showed up as clean, bright, open, uncluttered, and spacious.
3. I did not have to find someone to help us or to wait around for someone to become free. There were plenty of Apple staff members in the store and Andy approached us as soon as ‘we came through the front door’.
4. I felt trusted. Andy, who helped us, did not ask to see a proof of purchase even though I had it on me and offered to show it to him – I felt trusted.
5. Apple did the job that ‘we hired Apple to do’. Andy figured out what was wrong and solved the problem that had brought us into the store.
6. Education without any blame or criticism. Andy showed my daughter where the cable was weak and liable to get damaged. Then he showed her how to use it so that it did not get damaged. There was no hint of blame or criticism and this was well received by my daughter.
7. The free cable showed up for as a gift. I am clear that Apple could have charged for the cable and I appreciate that Andy did not charge us. My daughter appreciated it as well!
8. It only took five minutes. From the moment we arrived in the store to the moment we left with our problem solved, the job done, it only took five minutes.
Why does this matter? It matters because my daughter walked out of the Apple store delighted. Which means that she has positive affinity towards the Apple brand – not just the Apple products. And in turn that means she is that much more likely to buy more Apple products or ask me to buy them for her! She is only 12 years old. What is her potential lifetime value to Apple?