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I came across an interesting article in Forbes the other day that examined why Apple has such loyal customers and how they plan to increase that loyalty. The article discussed how some of Apple’s products are inferior technology-wise to their competitors yet they even have higher customer satisfaction levels in Korea than Korea’s own tech giant, Samsung.
Apple’s most obvious strategy is ease of use and design appeal. They make sure their products are attractive and that anyone can use them simply. More importantly, they make sure that all their products that are designed to work together; and do so flawlessly. As Apple infiltrates more of consumer’s lives through penetrating new markets, this integration is a key factor in their success. As consumers adopt more and more Apple devices into their lives, the simplicity of use and integration trump superior technological specifications for many people.
In the article, it discusses how Apple keeps penetrating new markets to get consumers increasingly invested in Apple products throughout their lives. As a consumer chooses more Apple products, their investment in Apple increases as does the likelihood that their next product choice will also be Apple. According to the article, with increasing market integration on the horizon including increased television programming; wearable technology; video gaming and vehicle integration; “What 300 million fiercely loyal customers gets you is the ability to sign up a dozen automakers to support an initiative like this: Honda/Acura, Nissan/Infiniti, Mercedes, Hyundai/Kia, Volvo, Chevy, Jaguar, Ferrari and Opel.”
It’s easy to see how this strategy of keeping it simple in combination with an ever increasing integration into consumer lives could help Apple continue to dominate each market it enters.
How can you use some of these ideas in your customer loyalty and retention strategy?
The keys to their strategy involve some really simple ideas: convenience and integration. It is important to make any service or product as easy and convenient for your customers as possible. People don’t have time and won’t put up with businesses that inconvenience them anymore. Many would rather drive further and pay more for convenience. Your processes, whether sales or service related, need to be as customer friendly and convenient as possible. Customers are car shopping on the Internet more because it saves them time and makes the buying process easier. Being able to replicate this simplicity in your service department is just as important. Through the efficient use of data and technology it’s certainly possible today to provide up-to-date immediate and accurate information to a customer on request.
Stop thinking of yourself as a sale and service facility for vehicles and become your customer’s automotive resource. Position your dealership to take care of any vehicle-related issues for them, regardless of brand. Put easy, transparent and convenient processes in place. Then your dealership will not only always have the first opportunity to earn the customer’s business, but will also be able to acquire new customers through their friends and family as your newfound brand evangelists spread the word.