Do you listen to your customers? Do you give them a voice and then do something with the information provided? The assumption among consumers is that the larger the company, the less likely their voice will be heard. This assumption has often been expressed about Apple.
In fact, Alan Deutschman claimed in the New York Times that Steve Jobs (News
) “doesn’t market-test anything.” He goes on to claim that Jobs launches all innovations based on his own judgment, perfectionism and gut. If these comments were true and Jobs never focused on building out strong knowledge management
within the company, how did Apple (News
) rise to such dominance?
The fact is such assumptions are really just myths to try and attack a strong personality who rose to success as a result of his creativity and innovations. This Forbes article
suggests that instinct and gut had a lot less to do with Apple’s success than the company’s ability to listen closely and systematically to its customers.
Did you know that Apple is actually one of the premier supporters of the Net Promoter Score? The NPS is designed to enable companies to systematically listen to customers and manage the business according to what they hear. It is knowledge management at its finest, allowing companies like yours to leverage valuable data to make strategic decisions
Knowledge management is also built through Apple’s retail stores. The company didn’t launch these locations to make money, but instead to enrich the lives of employees and customers. The stores serve as places where people could gather, learn, share and more. Ongoing relationships
with customers were encouraged to not only build loyalty, but to also add to the company’s knowledge management base.
For its part, Apple opens three to five such stores somewhere in the world every month, using the NPS to capture just how effectively each store is adhering to its mission, making adjustments where necessary. As a result, the NPS plays a critical and central role in the daily management of the 300+ stores Apple manages.
The company’s knowledge management base is easily built out by comments from customers
. These comments also help store managers to prepare for service recovery calls with detractors to close the loop of feedback. Important coaching and feedback messages are captured from the outcome of these calls, combined with customer comments. Employees gain benefit from this feedback and the knowledge base continues to evolve.
This approach to building out the knowledge base and focusing on the total customer experience is proving to be profitable for Apple, while also creating a worldwide base of satisfied customers. So, to suggest that Apple doesn’t listen to its customers would be akin to suggesting that Facebook (News
) is on its way out.
Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO West 2011, taking place Sept. 13-15, 2011, in Austin, Texas. ITEXPO (News - Alert) offers an educational program to help corporate decision makers select the right IP-based voice, video, fax and unified communications solutions to improve their operations. It's also where service providers learn how to profitably roll out the services their subscribers are clamoring for – and where resellers can learn about new growth opportunities. To register, click here.Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for eastbiz.com. To read more of Susan’s articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Juliana Kenny