At sxswi, last week, I had a great customer experience at the pop-up iPad store Apple set up in Austin Texas. There, the Apple geniuses did a fantastic job managing customer expectations and providing excellent customer service. Here’s how it went down:
I lined up to buy two iPad2s on Sunday, just as the store opened around noon. About 40 people were already in line. Three Apple employees worked the line, chatting with each person to ask what they had planned to buy. They answered questions. They alleviated anxiety by letting customers know which models they had left in stock, so that people didn’t have to wait in line for 30 minutes only to find their preferred model sold out.
Upon reaching the entrance, I chatted with the Apple employee managing the front of the line. He explained that a genius would guide me through my purchase, from selecting a model, to trying it out and getting it set up. A very friendly Apple gal arrived, shook my hand, introduced herself, and guided me through choosing models, covers, even offering to set up the iPad and reinstall all my apps so that I could play with the new iPad while walking home! She answered all my questions, and took the extra step to associate my purchases to my business account at the Apple store in Winnipeg.
The personal touch made the difference here. Apple employees managed expectations by speaking with each customer: between waiting in line, reaching the front of the line, selection, and payment, I spoke with four different employees. Each person was friendly, knowledgeable, competent, and above all, gracious. Apple, it was a pleasure doing business with you.