How can you get on the Apple Cart?

A great big shout out to Mashable for creating the infographic seen above. Please click on the link and check out all of the great info they have on their site.

I woke up this morning to news that Apple has shattered all kinds of records in 3rd quarter earnings. My first thought was what are they doing right that we all can learn from considering today’s struggling economy? Sure Apple has had some missteps but so would any company that is growing at the rate they are. Two of their more recent issues were:

1. AntennaGate – When the iphone 4 was released the hype was off the charts until reports came out that people were having their calls dropped at a higher rate than expected. It became clear almost immediately that there was a problem with the internal antenna that was impacted by the way the phone was held in your hand. Apples fix was to provide free cases that seemed to alleviate the problem.  There was an apparent software issue that affected the 5 bar signal at times as well which was fixed by a software upgrade.

2. MobileMe – When MobileMe was first rolled out there were problems with the system crashing and configuration issues. MobileMe is being phased out with the new iCloud feature.

I have also come across several other complaints as I was researching on line including burning Ipod Nano’s, cracked laptop cases, gaps in the Ipad2, and functional problems with Mac computers and laptops. It seems like most of these are low rate of occurrence defects but it’s hard to tell without looking at Apples quality records.  My overall impression is that Apple quality is still very good and customer service, especially in the Apple Stores, is excellent ( all you Apple Haters can chime in and let me know why you disagree).

As Apples profits are surging and stock prices that seem to go nowhere but up, there are two Apple products that are getting a lot of buzz this morning. The new MacBook Air and OSX Lion are all over the internet. Most of the reviews for both are positive and will undoubtedly lead to even more sales.

The market in China is making a huge contribution to Apple sales as their products are considered a status symbol for the Chinese people. Apple is obviously doing something right and I say go Steve.

My question is why don’t more businesses benchmark the things that Apple is doing right and apply what fits into their business model to add to their bottom line in these hard times? I’m sure there are a million excuses, but you only need one reason to go for it and make it work.

One place to start is with Apple’s Business Philosophy:

There is an extraordinary breadth and depth and tenure among the Apple executive team, and these executives lead over 35,000 employees that I would call “all wicked smart”. And that’s in all areas of the company, from engineering to marketing to operations and sales and all the rest. And the values of our company are extremely well entrenched.

We believe that we’re on the face of the Earth to make great products, and that’s not changing. We’re constantly focusing on innovating. We believe in the simple, not the complex. We believe that we need to own and control the primary technologies behind the products we make, and participate only in markets where we can make a significant contribution.

We believe in saying no to thousands of projects so that we can really focus on the few that are truly important and meaningful to us. We believe in deep collaboration and cross-pollination of our groups, which allow us to innovate in a way that others cannot.

And frankly, we don’t settle for anything less than excellence in every group in the company, and we have the self-honesty to admit when we’re wrong and the courage to change. And I think, regardless of who is in what job, those values are so embedded in this company that Apple will do extremely well.

For customer service experience the Apple Stores seem to hit it out of the park every time. Yes, there are usually long lines at the Genius Bar and there are certainly things they can do to make that experience better.  The last time I went into the store and had a few questions the employees were always more than happy to assist me. I also found the new Ipads that were installed recently to help customers get information were useful and being used by many customers. There have been times when I’ve only gone in the store to validate a parking ticket and I can’t tell you how pleasant the experience is. How many times have you gone to an Apple Store and it’s the busiest store in the mall or surrounding area? Much can be learned about customer service by visiting a store and paying attention to what they do right.

In today’s economy there are no excuses for poor products and bad service. Take a look at Apple or any other company that is thriving currently and ask yourself what are they doing that I can use and make my organization better? Hint: Simplicity and Customer Service are great starting points. Instead of upsetting the Apple Cart leap on board and go for a ride.

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