customer experience

Customer experience – taking a bite out of Apple

Written by Steven Johnson
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Originally published
March 15 2017,
September 26 2020

Customer Experience (or CX, for short) is 2017’s go-to ambition. Not just for marketers but across the whole of the C-Suite. Reading around the subject I’ve been struck by how much, and for how many of our peers, there’s a reliance on the digital channels only to achieve this. But when I think of those that do CX well, really well, it’s those that ensure every single touchpoint, not just online, leaves me feeling warm and fuzzy about the brand.

There’s likely no better example than Apple.

Retail environment
Apple stores are built-wholly around the customer and, in November 2004 when the first European one opened in Regent Street, London, it broke the retail mould. Customers are encouraged to touch, feel and use the products. No marshalling, no queuing and no formality. Small wonder then that for Apple loyalists its stores remain a place of worship!

Print advertising
An absence of flashy headlines, instead the sharpest of imagery, minimal copy and lots of white space. Apple’s print ads have become the stuff of legends and its 12-page spread in the US edition of Vogue to launch Apple Watch sealed the deal.

The “Shot on iPhone” campaign has appeared on billboards around the world. Forget features and benefits. Showcasing beautiful images captured by iPhone users, these out-of-home ads are more art than artwork.

Bought an iPhone or iPad and thrown away the box? I doubt it. Keeping it “just in case” you find an alternative use for it is a recognised symptom of being a brand devotee.  

While 50% of the world’s population recognise instruction manuals as being of no practical value whatsoever (or only as a last resort!) some of us have been known to read them cover to cover. Though the small print can sometimes be a challenge, design and layout remains smack on brand, every time. 

When you need to make a call – and we know what you’ll be using to do that – you’ll reach an automated operator. Disappointing. But it works and understands complete sentences. And that’s a pleasant surprise.


Like many things, customer experience is greater than the sum of its parts. Add to the above list Apple’s people and the typical friendliness of their service, its attitude to recycling and re-using, their workshop and youth programmes, and their Genius bar approach to training.

Triggered, automated, responsive and personalised comms may be great service tools but they’re all about telling. When it comes down to how people feel and what they know about your brand, Einstein nailed it,

"Information is not knowledge. The only source of knowledge is experience."

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