The Apple Experience: A book review by Bob Morris

The Apple Experience: Secrets to Building Insanely Great Customer Loyalty
Carmine Gallo
McGraw-Hill (2012)

How to provide an “insanely great” customer experience

Those who have read The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs and/or The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs already know that Carmine Gallo is a keen observer and brilliant analyst of what does and doesn’t work in the business world…also why. He has already explained with rigor and eloquence the “secrets” to Steve Jobs’ effectiveness as a showman and as an innovator. Now he shares the “secrets” to how and why Apple continues to provide an “insanely great” customer experience. By doing so, it achieves and sustains great customer loyalty.

It is important to note that Gallo discusses strategies, tactics, values, and mindsets for both internal and external customers. Only a fool would expect employees who are disloyal to create customers who are loyal. In fact, those who work for Apple have the same defining characteristics as the “evangelists” that Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba describe in their eponymous book.  That is why Gallo devotes Part I to “Inspiring Your Internal Customers.” Key Points in Chapter 1: Find inspiration outside your industry and make relevant connections, ask meaningful questions that obtain meaningful answers, and craft a crisp and compelling vision statement.

Then he shifts his (and his reader’s) attention to “Serving Your External Customers” in Part II. Key Points in Chapter 8: Study the five steps of superior service (more about them in a moment), train all staff members to follow all five steps, and meanwhile conduct your own research to secure competitive intelligence. As for Part III, “Setting the Stage,” he carefully explains the significant differences between cosmetic and organic in terms of how prospective buyers experience what is offered. Key Points in Chapter 16: “unclutter” the retail space, apply the “open space” philosophy to the website and marketing materials, and make frequent site visits to evaluate how well the purchase experience is “framed.”

I commend Gallo on his skillful use of various reader-friendly devices that include a “Checkout” section at the end of chapters as well as several checklists that consolidate and highlight key points. For example, here are two from  Chapter 8: “The Apple Five Steps of Service” and “The AT&T Retail Experience,” six tactics that are remarkably similar to the Apple principles.

I also appreciate Gallo’s provision of other “goodies” that include:

o “The One Question That Unleashed Apple’s Success” in retailing (Pages 7-8)
o “Disney’s People Management Philosophy” (Pages 20-23)
o Apple’s Three-Step Apple Process to Hire Fearless People (Pages 28-34)
o How Apple uses “The Net Promoter Score” (Pages 52-55)
o “The Ritz-Carlton ‘Wow’ Stories” (Pages 77-78)
o The APPLE Acronym in Action: Approach, Probe, Present, Listen, and End (Pages 92-105)
o How to Create Wow Moments (Pages 143-156)
o Housekeeping “No-Nos” (Page 191)

Carmine Gallo achieves two separate but interconnected objectives and both of them have great value: He explains how and why Apple provides “insanely great” customer experience that creates “evangelists,” and, he explains what lessons other organizations can learn from Apple, how they can “apply the magic behind an Apple adventure.”  He fully understands that very few organizations can duplicate Apple’s success, one that required decades of collective effort led by arguably the greatest business thinker since Thomas Edison and Henry Ford. That said, Gallo reassures his reader that by bring greater value to people’s lives, “you can move society forward. Avoid the mistake of just focusing on the product or service. Instead, create a magical customer experience that enriches people’s lives. Just make it great – insanely great!”

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