You don't become the world's most valuable company by accident, nor can the rabid demand for Apple
devices be dismissed as the result of millions of people who simply don't know any better. At the same time, Apple's products aren't always the most technologically advanced. There are faster phones than the iPhone 4S, and certainly ones with larger touchscreens and expandable storage options. What, then, is the reason Apple users keep coming back for more?
Maybe it's iOS, and sure, owning something perceived as a 'hip' device undoubtedly plays a role for some (and perhaps many). But one of the main reasons could actually be the Genius Bar, those spots where Apple "geniuses" help product owners learn about and troubleshoot their iGadgets.
Market research firm NPD Group found that 60 percent of Apple product owners are somewhat or much more likely to make another Apple purchase after dealing with technical support. Nearly 90 percent of Apple device owners who bring their product to a Genius Bar said they were extremely or very satisfied. That's a remarkable statistic. Think about that for a moment -- of those who are in need of technical support, only 1 in 10 are NOT happy with their Genius Bar experience. As we all know, customer support goes a long way in building brand loyalty.
"Tech support is a great service for the consumer, but more importantly it’s a brand-building element for the retailer and manufacturer," said Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis at NPD. "People tend to associate any type of tech support as a negative experience, but Apple has demonstrated that those ‘negatives’ can be turned into positive brand experiences and result in a trip back to the store."
This is something that would be hard to duplicate on the Android side for the very simple fact that there are so many different players. Let's say Samsung implemented something similar -- what happens when an HTC device owner stumbles over and is turned down for tech support? Does he/she sour on HTC? On Samsung? On Android? Regardless of the challenges, however, there's a lesson here for other device makers, and retailers in general.
"Retailers are rediscovering the value that services can offer the consumer," said Baker. "Store foot traffic has declined over the years leaving fewer and fewer in-person interactions. Having a strong tech support in-store model helps fill the transaction void and builds brand awareness and satisfaction."