Why has Apple gained market share and top of mind? There are plenty of other companies that make high quality mobile phones and computing devices. While Samsung ads work hard to make the iPhone seem “uncool,” Apple stills grows. While Microsoft has added retail stores, Apple still grows.
What can a manufacturing company learn from Apple? The most frustrating response any of us receive when reaching out for tech support is “it’s the hardware,” or “it’s the software,” or “it’s the operating system.” What customers want is help, not blame shifted to someone else. Not that ubiquitous “but you’ve got to understand” statement. No, we don’t have to understand.
Apple controls its hardware, operating system and most application software that can be installed. While they don’t write the software or manufacture the equipment, I’ve never had an Apple employee send me to a different company for answers. Now admittedly, I do reach out to Quickbooks for application support specific to how that software works, but never for anything else.
Microsoft stores are generally poorly visited, except by kids dancing in front of the large screens. That company still dances the “it’s not our fault” shuffle. When your customers or consumers have questions, where do you send them? When they want an easy way to “try it out for size,” how easy do you make it for them to do just that? Is it fun to do business with your company? Heck, even the most hard-nosed buyer likes to have fun now and again.
Ask yourself, how would our supply chain partners and customers describe doing business with us in three words or less? What we’re aiming for is easy, effective, and innovative. How close are you now, and what do you need to change to get there? Operations should be your best customer retention tool. Treat it that way.
As published in AME’s Target Online