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Customer Experience

What you can learn about customer experience from the launch of the iPhone 7

Written by Tony Loxton
Oct 12

Since the first Apple product hit the market in 1976, Apple has cultivated a cult following that sees brand evangelists happily queue overnight in order to be the first to get their hands on the latest gadget from the tech brand.

The iPhone, synonymous with street cred, hipsters and countless pictures of avo toast has become beloved for several reasons: intuitive UX, cutting-edge technology and the all-important logo stamped on the back.

But Apple’s newest iPhone puts one major factor in jeopardy: the customer’s experience. In a case that smacks of throwing the proverbial baby out with the bathwater, Apple’s move to retire the headphone jack is a design tweak that has even the most ardent Apple fans in a tizz. Whether the brand’s decision results in a substantial slump for the brand is yet to be seen, but Apple’s newest iteration of their beloved mobile phone is a reminder of just how important customer experience is, and why retaining customer loyalty isn’t always a given (even if you’re one of the world’s biggest brands). Here’s what you can learn from the furor surrounding the iPhone 7:

Don’t discount the importance of thorough market research.

General consensus has it that Apple has committed a mortal sin: changing a beloved feature on a product and then expecting customers to be nonplussed. As memes flood the internet, and outraged diatribes bemoan the advent of the new iPhone, it begs the question as to whether Apple conducted any sort of preliminary market research, and if they did, why they didn’t take this feedback to heart. I’ve yet to read one article that lauds the brand’s decision to terminate the headphone jack, and if this sentiment prevails, Apple may have a problem on their hands. Bottom line? Test out new products or services before rolling them out to market. Attempting to rectify negative brand sentiment and customer experience is infinitely harder (not to mention, costly), after the fact.

If your product forgoes practicality –  for whatever reason –  the customer’s experience is drastically compromised.

The iPhone 7 is purported to be the thinnest, lightest version of the phone, yet as one fired-up detractor, Shelly Palmer points out  “You will love the fit and finish of an iPhone 7 for the first three minutes you own it. Then, you are going to put it in a case so neither the color of the iPhone nor its relative thinness will matter at all.” Throw in a pair of wireless (literally) ear pods that are as good as missing as soon as you’ve ripped off the packaging, and you’re essentially asking your customers to put up with a ball ache every time they want to simultaneously charge their phone and listen to music or make a call. The lesson here? Your product needs to be first and foremost, functionally convenient – even the most beautiful design can’t redeem something that hampers the customer’s experience.

Don’t demand that your customers pay more in order to make full use of your product.

Much of the uproar over Apple’s decision to kill off the headphone jack boils down to dollars and cents. For a product that already doesn’t come cheap, it’s an audacious ask to expect customers to fork out even more for an adaptor if they wish to carry on using traditional wired headphones. Apple seems to have forgotten that customer experience is the holy grail of success, and in a market that’s flooded with competitors offering more affordable alternatives, making people pay even more money in order to continue to enjoy a function that once was taken for granted is downright rude.

There are two lessons here. First, the importance of being upfront with your customers as to the ins and outs of your product, and the way that this will impact them. Second, any product or service that requires an additional payment from consumers merely to have a satisfactory customer experience, will only serve to drive customers away.

We’re all for tooting your own horn, but misrepresenting your product only paints your brand in a negative light.

One feature of the iPhone 7 that Apple seems to be particularly excited about is the all new and improved camera. Except, well, it’s pretty much exactly the same as that of the iPhone 6. The fact that Apple has glorified a tweak that’s indiscernible to the majority of users only serves to reinforce opinion that no one loves Apple more than, Apple itself. We can only guess that their emphasis on the subtle and pretty insignificant upgrades to the phone’s camera is in aid of moving attention away from the more drastic design tweaks, like expecting the average user to never misplace two Smartie-sized ear pods, for example.

A major aspect of exceptional customer experience is aligning (or exceeding) your customers’ expectations, so make sure that however you market your goods, you’re being transparent. If you aren’t, you’ll not only lose the support of existing customers, but of potential brand advocates too.

We’re all about helping our clients provide exceptional customer experience and enjoy ROI because of this. How do we do it? With sophisticated software that monitors all of your marketing channels, enabling you to gain an in-depth understanding of who your customers are. Find out more about Blix Intelligence today.

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