Thursday, October 6, 2011

In Praise Of The Exquisite

Apple MacBook
Featured image courtesy of Erik Eckel licensed via Creative Commons.
Last night, like many of you, I heard of the sad news of Steve Jobs passing and was glued to the TV (and Twitter) for most of the night.  And, like many of you, I first learned of the news while on my MacBook with my iPhone to my left and my iPod close by.

I'm no Apple nor Steve Jobs expert.  What I am is an everyday consumer of product and consumer of experience.  And it's really the story of experience that is my "lessons learned" as his customer.  My love affair with his products started when my dad bought an Apple II+ way back in the day...  we graduated through a series of Apple products and, embarrassing to say, strayed to the other side for a long while.  It was later on that I realized that the straying occurred after his departure.

Fast forward to 2008... I had reached the end of my tether with "the other side" and felt that I was throwing so much good money after not so good.  After my PC laptop blew up for one more time, I timidly walked into the Apple store not knowing what to expect but knowing i loved my iPod and iTunes.

I got some mad love.

After I shyly and sheepishly admitted my intentions, I was taken on a magical mystery tour of Apple love.  He told me that I was perfectly okay.  In so many words, He made me feel okay that:
  • I had made another choice previously.
  • I had made another choice because seemed a good idea at the time.
  • I was exploring a new choice and would be timidly asking questions.
  • I would ask they hold my hand through the transition.
  • I was a little late in coming back to the fold -- they loved me anyway.

This wasn't a sale so much as it was therapy.  And I have to say that I wasn't buying the product so much as how I felt about myself buying the product.  I felt smart, I felt sophisticated, I felt that I was... wait for it...  SAVING MONEY by paying a higher price than competitor laptops because I wouldn't worry about pesky viruses, hackers and costly repair.  When I brought it home, I left the box on my desk much like the picture I shared with you at the top of the post.  It felt a bit religious.

Since that fateful day in 2008, I've purchased an iPhone and also brought my dad back from the other side.  What's interesting about these later purchases is that the experiences were IDENTICAL to the first one.  In the case of the phone, I was sheepishly converting from Blackberry and, the woman who helped me made me feel okay for the same reasons I outlined above.  In the case of my dad, the tattooed specialist 50+ years younger than my dad successfully related to him and his needs...  and upsold him to MacBook Pro.

You catch more flies with honey....

is my "lesson learned" to share with you.  A lot of times, the typical sales behavior is to hound you with features and benefits.  If you've ever been shopping for a new car, you know the high pressure tactics they typically use.  You always walk away wondering if somehow they "got" you.

My tiny anecdotes are the complete opposite.  I was welcomed, I was encouraged, I was supported and, critically I was never pressured.  These "soft" approaches to experience are what keeps people like me coming back to Apple over and over again.  And my hope is that in the post Steve Jobs years, this vibe continues.

What's your take on your Apple experience?  If you've had a bad one, I'd love to hear about it.  Please comment below and please share with friends.

Parissa Behnia
Idea Chef

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