One of the key lessons every sales professional has to learn and accept (and the earlier in their career the better), is that perception is reality, and the only perception that counts is the buyer’s. Once you learn this lesson you can begin to focus on communicating and delivering value, the right experience and the right perception to you customers. Few can escape or buck this reality. The ones that do, and usually they can’t do it ongoingly, are companies that achieve cult status with their followers and can risk occasionally taking them for granted , most companies can’t. One company that can is Apple, and it would appear that they may be doing just that.
If you are a read of this blog you know I had an interesting experience with Apple earlier this year. I don’t dislike apple, the stock has made me money, their phones look nice, and I was considering getting one till the launch of the iPhone 4 this week. While early reviews were good, users began to complain about dropped calls and a lack of signal. IPhone 4 flaw can cause loss of cell strength
Most companies would have to respond in a considered way, ensuring that the news and rumours don’t get ahead of the facts and that a viable resolution is offered. Which is why I was surprised to see the initial response from the manufacturer, here is what Apple put out:
“This is a fact of life for every wireless phone. If you ever experience this on your Phone 4, avoid gripping it in the lower left corner in a way that covers both sides of the black strip in the metal band, or simply use one of many available cases.” Wired.com June 25, 2010
Or as the headline in the above story suggested “you are holding it wrong”.
OK, so what can we do about that?
Apple’s suggestion: The problem can be resolved by getting a case for the iPhone, cost $29.
Now don’t get me wrong, $29 makes for a good lunch, but it is the attitude towards that customer that makes this response amazing. Can you imagine if this was Ford or some other mortal company was faced with a similar scenario? They would not only have to deal with the recall, but bear the expense of the fix, i.e. the cost of the case.
While this is not likely to unravel Apple and the success of the iPhone 4, it is a good example of how even a small whiff of complacency and customers being taken for granted or even ignored can cost immediate business and potential long-term impact.
While it may be tempting to ignore customers, even if the issue is small and easily resolved, it is not advisable. It is much better to deal with things, even when it may just be perception, than potentially dealing with the reality of a scorned customer. Speaking of perception, what’s you perception of the HTC Android phones?
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