Thursday, April 5, 2012

Does your client have a "Genius Bar"?

David Asker's latest blog highlights the success of the Apple Genius Bar and what has made it such a big hit with visitors to the Apple Store.

As a quick reminder, the Genius Bar provides technical support within Apple stores to customers having problems with the product or application. The Genius Bar has been hailed by many retail consultants as a key element in the most successful retail concept of recent times and a builder of the Apple brand and relationship.

As Aaker points out in his post, "the Apple store's financial performance and impact on the Apple brand is amazing. The sales per square foot for its 380 or stores is more than $5,000, which is six to ten times other successful retailers, and the average store pulls in 18,000 visitors a week. Perhaps more important, the stores provide a way to express the Apple brand and showcase its products."

Aaker lists these seven reasons for its success:
  1. Apple owns the brand and the concept. No other firm can have a Genius Bar because Apple owns the brand. Any other firm will at best be an imitator. 
  2. The brand has a distinctive personality — humorous and understated yet competent and reassuring.
  3. It is staffed by people that are both knowledgeable and disciples of the products and philosophy.  
  4. Their training is disciplined following the APPLE dictum of Approach customers with a personalized warm welcome, Probe to understand the problem, Present a solution, Listen for issues, and End with an invitation to return. That means consistency no matter which store you are visiting.
  5. Apple makes both the hardware and software and, thus, has a unique ability to create and staff a Genius Bar. 
  6. It enhances the customer relationship with its person-to-person approach. 
  7. It can transform a disgruntled, disappointed customer with the potential to have a distasteful retail experience and become a negative voice in the marketplace into a satisfied if not enthusiastic supporter of the Apple store. 

  8. What about your clients? Is there a "Genius Bar" in their story? If you can find one for them, you can be their hero!