Just have two quick anecdotes to relate about Apple’s user experience management.
#1: Last weekend, I was giving a tour of NYC to some visiting relatives. These folks live in a remote part of India. After a tour of Central Park, we went to the Apple store on 6th Avenue. The line was serpentine and there was a long, long wait to get to the iPads. My uncle, always an eager learner, got intrigued by all the iPad posters. He starts asking me all sorts of questions about the iPad, starts looking over people’s shoulders to see what they’re doing, how they’re using it. He seems impressed, but in a so-what kind of way. Then comes the following exchange:
Him: “Hmm nice. So how much is it?”
Him: “Wait, that’s it? That’s about, what, Rs.25,000? That’s cheap! I’m getting one! See, this is the kind of souvenir we should take back home from America!”
In ten minutes, the Apple store had convinced my uncle that he needed an iPad. A man who’d never seen or touched a single Apple product before in his life, who until now hadn’t heard of the iPad.
#2: I purchased a 13” MacBook Pro less than four weeks ago. I absolutely love it. It hit the bank account quite hard, but hey, I didn’t mind because it was a quality purchase. The office laptop (a compact & powerful Lenovo) hasn’t been touched in over 2 weeks.
So imagine my chagrin this morning when Apple announces updates to their MacBook line - starting with a $300 price cut, and a battery life of over 8 hours. Dang! I was kicking myself - three hundred big ones! Double the battery life! If only I’d waited for three weeks!
All day this bugs me. My mind won’t start kicking in with the rationalizations. So to end the pain once and for all, I went to the Apple store to ask if they’d exchange it. After all (I thought), once they turn me away I’ll at least have the satisfaction of having tried.
But no, it wasn’t necessary. They exchanged it and gave me the new model, no questions asked, and with friendliness and unparalleled professionalism. You know those stores that make you feel like dirt when trying to return something you didn’t like? This was the exact opposite. As I was leaving the store, I felt like I’d made the best decision in the history of everything.
So, Apple may have lost $300 on the deal but they’ve made a lifelong customer and acolyte. Isn’t that something?
p.s. Please check out the new line of MacBook Pro machines. You don’t know what you’re missing.