Apple was always going to grab the headlines last week; it just wasn't how we expected it, as sadly co-founder and ex CEO, Steve Jobs passed away. What I want to discuss though, is the other bit of news that surrounded Apple, the announcement of the next instalment in their smartphone range, the iPhone 4S and its link to the customer experience.
There had been months of speculation surrounding the announcement, with all sorts of rumours (some more accurate than others) circulating on what the new features and design for the device would actually be. It is fair to say expectation was impossibly high. To the disappointment of many fans, the changes were perhaps more evolutionary than revolutionary; there was no iPhone 5, no new design, no secret new feature that took everyone by surprise. Journalists and Apple fans were left asking, “Is this it?”.
Yet, when looked at in the cold light of day the new features are pretty wide ranging: a new processing chip, a new camera which can record video in high def, the claim of an industry leading voice control system, a new operating system…and I could continue, but I may start sounding like a sales rep from the Apple store.
So, at this point you're probably wondering how this links to the customer experience?
For me, the release highlights the gap many seem to miss, between the popular reaction, and the actual reality. For brands these days, it is increasingly dangerous to pay attention to a few, but loud customers, and changing the business accordingly. It is a stark reality that anyone with an internet connection can have a weighty voice and become a genuine influencer of opinion. In the case of the iPhone 4S release, I am referring to the media and noisy “fans” online on forums.
It is an easy conclusion to come to, by reading the articles in the news, that the new iPhone is a flop and the beginning of the end for Apple. This has particularly gathered traction as HTC and Samsung have begun circling in on Apple, already offering many of the features that the new iPhone has. Yet, the company has broken all its previous pre-order records and mobile companies have sold out in a matter of days. Can this really be called a failure? Apple seemed to have delighted a large number of customers who have flocked to pre-order the handset.
Knowing and understanding the whole voice of the customer is not about listening to the noisy few (although these must be considered as well), but listening to the census view (or your whole customer base). Only byengaging every customer, can companies really improve and provide the best customer experience to the majority of its customers. Through Fizzback, this is exactly what our clients can do, we enable them to capture that census view, accurately aligning their business behind the voice of the customer.