How to get the ultimate competitive advantage

Article originally published in the Philadelphia Business Journal on March 24, 2015

Recently I had a great customer experience at the Apple store on Walnut Street in Philadelphia – one that I would rate as the gold standard for any business that wants to create a competitive advantage.

I had purchased an iPhone 6 for my wife online, and wanted to buy her a protective case for her new phone. When I entered the store, I was greeted by Apple specialist Carol Rabuck, who after personally showing me available phone case choices, asked if I would be interested in trying Apple Pay to purchase the case. She set up my own iPhone 6 to do so.

After Rabuck showed me how to enable a number of features on my iPhone, I left the store with a feeling that I was treated with patience and respect, and that she was genuinely interested in helping me. Whenever I call Apple for tech support, my customer experience is the same as my experience with Rabuck. I get to speak to someone on the phone at Apple who cares, understands the issue I am calling about and effectively addresses it in a timely manner. This is a much more satisfying experience than when I call for tech support help for my PC laptop.

The leadership at Apple recognizes that their products and service are customer service intensive. In addition to being in the core business of providing personal computers and mobile communication devices, Apple is also in the core business of providing a great customer experience. Their goal is preeminence. They get it right. Other companies in customer service intensive businesses do not.

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