Apple is one of the biggest, most successful and most widely recognized brands in the world. Steve Jobs was never shy to admit that many of Apple’s ideas are stolen. Stealing ideas from Apple yourself probably won’t generate $230 billion in revenue like it did for Apple’s business, but these tips could help your Canadian small business grow toward bigger business.
Have the Best Customer Service
Jobs based Apple’s customer service model on the Ritz-Carlton because it was what his employees consistently cited as their best customer service experience. It’s where the concierge-style approach comes from, and it’s what Apple used to develop its APPLE acronym system:
- A – Approach customers with personalized, warm welcome
- P – Probe politely to understand the customer’s needs
- P – Present a solution for the customer to take home today
- L – Listen for and resolve issues or concerns
- E – Ends with a fond farewell and invitation to return
It would be helpful to generate a simplified and memorable customer service motto that you ensure your staff knows and understand. This can create a consistent experience for all of your customers.
Look Toward the Future
Another idea Jobs stole is one you’ve heard ripped off by plenty of CEOs today. It was from hockey legend Wayne Gretzky who said, “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.” To Apple, this was a lesson in innovation. It meant not waiting for the customer to say what they want; it meant giving customers what they don’t know they want yet. Even if you’re not in the business of creating mass-market consumer technology, you can learn and understand all you can about your customers. If you understand them, their problems and processes then you can provide solutions before they know they need them. In retail, it might affect where you place and how you display your products. In field service, it might be how you help your customers, such as offering text-message appointment reminders. Understanding your customers’ future needs is key to being a great partner.
Keep It Simple
Jobs had an affinity for the simplistic modern architecture of Joseph Eichler. Apple has applied this to design and minimal product offerings as well as incorporating it as a company value. Keeping it simple is a lesson that you can apply to everything from emails to client proposals. Whenever you notice complexity within your business, just simplify. For example, you could define your company by a single primary goal (e.g. making a customer happy or increasing sales), and every decision you make or each process your company takes should work toward that goal. Of course, there are many lessons businesses can take from Apple. If you’re starting a small business and are looking for more great advice, there are plenty of helpful articles on the QuickBooks Small Business Centre. Once you achieve a successful business launch, you’ll be well on your way to being the next Apple.