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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A general book about customer experience hiding in Apple clothing
The interest in 'all things Apple' has never been greater making Apple, its business practices, and lessons learned of intense business and popular interest. Carmine Gallo seeks to serve that interest in this book with a particular focus on Apple's retail and customer experience. At one level, readers will learn from reading the book, but they will have to wade through...
Published on April 6, 2012 by Mark P. McDonald

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Don't Expect too much
The author could have said and written the same book in one third of the pages, because most of the observations and information are repeated again and again and the writer is a very boring writer. He can put you to sleep many times during the process of reading the book. I had to force myself to finish it.
He writes like a teenager fascinated by his idol and the...
Published 9 months ago by Jay


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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A general book about customer experience hiding in Apple clothing, April 6, 2012
By 
Mark P. McDonald (Chicago, IL United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Apple Experience: Secrets to Building Insanely Great Customer Loyalty (Hardcover)
The interest in 'all things Apple' has never been greater making Apple, its business practices, and lessons learned of intense business and popular interest. Carmine Gallo seeks to serve that interest in this book with a particular focus on Apple's retail and customer experience. At one level, readers will learn from reading the book, but they will have to wade through a range of 'self serving' comments and analysis that fawns over Apple with limited critical analysis. This gives the book a bit of a one sided tone to it and a bias that the reader needs to be aware of.

This book is a good general book about customer experience wrapped in the skin of Apple. Gallo often provides cursory and personal observations about Apple Stores and then bridges to other examples that have been used in other books like Zappos, Ritz Carlton, Four Seasons. That does not make it a bad book, just not as powerful or unique as it could be.

The book is divided into three parts and the following chapters.

Part 1: Inspiring your internal customers
Chapter 1: Dream Bigger - Explains the focus on the best customer experience in the world
Chapter 2: Hire for Smiles - Finding the right type of people, who they are, is more important than what they know
Chapter 3: Cultivate Fearless Employees - Reviews Apple's three step process for hiring people to challenge the status quo and build a great company
Chapter 4: Build Trust - How you create an environment for performance, transparency and learning
Chapter 5: Foster a Feedback Loop - A rehash of Fred Reicheld's net promotor score
Chapter 6: Develop Multitaskers -- looks at people who are able to engage multiple people and treat everyone as an individual.
Chapter 7: Empower Your Employees - Describes how Ritz Carlton and Zappos etc treat their employees, less about Apple

Part 2: Serving your external customers
Chapter 8: Follow Apply's Five Steps of Service - A good review of the APPLE model and why they treat you the way they do.
Chapter 9: Reset Your Customers Internal Clock - the criticality of time in the customer experience and how you can feel better even when it takes longer.
Chapter 10: Sell the Benefit - Its obvious to drive the benefit, but its not obvious in the way you do it.
Chapter 11: Unleash Your Customer's Inner Genius - no one wants to be treated like an idiot, but many companies assume just that.
Chapter 12: Create Wow Moments - A recap about how Apple products are so great
Chapter 13: Rehearse the Script - It takes time and focus to get the message clear, crisp and compelling
Chapter 14: Deliver a Consistent Experience - consistency is the course of the experience

Part 3: Setting the Stage
Chapter 15: Eliminate the Clutter - simplify has been apple's greatest strength and the source of its complexity.
Chapter 16: Pay Attention to Design Details - putting customer experience ahead of cost and delviering what you want beyond what everyone else can get.
Chapter 17: Design Multisensory Experiences - we have five senses, so why to most companies only play to one or maybe two

Strengths

This is a good book about customer experience. It looks at the customer experience form all of its dimensions and aspects, which is rare.

The book is wholly committed to explaining what is going on at Apple, particularly from the author's perspective and past experience. This often manifests itself at the start of each chapter with obvious examples and stories that we have all either read before or experienced personally.

The author's treatment is comprehensive as the book covers the topics of people, process, technology, facilities, behavior and experience. that is unique when compared to other business books that basically reduce success to a simple and single factor formula.

Challenges

Gallo's desire to hitch these ideas on the Apple train detract from the strength, salience and actionable nature of the advice and insight he provides. While he may sell more books by piggy backing on the Apple brand, including a stylized version of the Apple Logo, he loses impact of the ideas as companies see them as exclusive to Apple.

Many of the ideas are not new and have been presented elsewhere. People who are studying and concentrating on the customer experience will find little new in the book. However, this is a great book for people who are new to these ideas, particularly when they separate the Apple branding from the ideas.

Gallo misses the core of Apple. Sorry for the pun, but the focus rests largely on the stores which are only a part of the Apple story and experience. There is little attention paid to the products, the supply chain, the development process, the technology itself all of which are foundational to the store experience. The example of AT&T stores is apt in this regard. My experience with AT&T stores shows that while they may have adopted some of Apple's practices, they do not have the product or other essential elements to make it an outstanding experience.

Gallo does not talk with anyone from Apple, so you get no idea about the tensions, tradeoffs, considerations and decisions that brought this to the market. That is a bit surprising given how heavily he tries to associate himself with the company, but its a near association more than demonstrated access to the executives and what they are doing.

Overall, this is a good book for people what want to learn more about the customer experience and see its principles in action in a single and singular company. Readers who separate out bias from the practice will learn from the book.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Capturing the Magic of Apple, March 28, 2012
This review is from: The Apple Experience: Secrets to Building Insanely Great Customer Loyalty (Hardcover)
Unless you are completely isolated from the world of business, you know that Apple has discovered the magic formula for creating exceptional value. Most people attribute that magic to the Apple products. Unfortunately, most people have it wrong. The magic of Apple is the experience.

Carmine Gallo, the author of The Apple Experience has done a wonderful job of capturing the soul of Apple - the heart of the experience. It is not just the products, it is not just the people, the unique retail stores or the training and procedures the employees go through. All of these are important parts of the experience. But the most important part - the part that is very difficult to describe or to duplicate is the soul, the spirit of Apple. As you read this book you will come to understand the value of the experience and how that experience can be applied to any business, product or service.

The book is well written, very easy to read and contains lots of interesting stories about Apple and other brands that have made the commitment to creating engaging customer experiences. You will gain some extremely valuable insights which can be used in any business to separate yourself from the competition, to enhance the customer experience, to make your customers your ambassadors for your brand, product or service.

At the end of each chapter is a section labeled: Checkout, which gives a recap of the most important points covered in that chapter. Some of the points are in the form of questions to ask yourself about your business. In one chapter there is a check list of things to consider about a retail business. Basically everything matters, the attention to detail in the Apple organization can be described as fanatical.

Mr. Gallo goes into great detail to explain the five step process for engaging customers that Apple uses in their retail stores. Recently I have seen some banks, fast food restaurants and other retail business trying to copy parts of the Apple process. As the author points out simply copying parts of the process has no value. "Merely explaining and communicating the experience to employees will not differentiate an organization from its competitors. Successful organizations need to embed the experience into the corporate culture ..."

"Cosmetic changes don't matter if you have people who don't like their boss, don't like their job and can't communicate with their customers."

It is foolish to think you can read this book and just implement some of the steps and create an outstanding brand like Apple. It is a matter of changing the culture of your business. The blueprint for creating an outstanding brand is completely contained in this book. "Customer service is not brain surgery. It is simply common sense, courtesy, and the desire to treat everyone - customers, partners and employees - like family.

The book is an excellent guide and inspiration for any business person wanting to create magic in their business. Focus on the experience, not the product or service. Pay attention to detail. The entire organization must focus on "...creating a magical customer experience that enriches people's lives."
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Helpful for anyone in a customer service role, June 11, 2012
This review is from: The Apple Experience: Secrets to Building Insanely Great Customer Loyalty (Hardcover)
A visit to an Apple Store is quite an experience. While not every location is as visibly dramatic as Apple's Fifth Avenue store in New York City with it's impressive glass cube, Apple Stores are always located in the most fashionable retail locations. But what is it about these stores that can make the most die-hard Microsoft or Android fan want to buy a MacBook Pro, a new iPhone, or an iPad?

The Apple Experience: Secrets to Building Insanely Great Customer Loyalty by Carmine Gallo is the third book of a "trilogy" that includes The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to Be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience and The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs: Insanely Different Principles for Breakthrough Success. The focus of this title is about the inner workings of Apple's retail stores, which generate more revenue per square foot than any other retailer. But Apple hasn't reached lofty revenue goals by focusing exclusively on revenue. In fact, the Apple retail store concept was widely ridiculed almost immediately as the first store opened in 2001. Instead, the focus of Apple's retail stores is "enriching lives". Apple understands that customers don't just want to purchase a computer. Customers want to know how to use a computer to achieve their goals.

A key lesson that Apple learned in the development of their retail concept was to look outside of their industry for inspiration. So instead of looking at Gateway Computer, whose retail stores were permanently closed in 2004, Apple instead looked to the Four Seasons Hotel.

And just as Apple looked to other sources for its inspiration, so has author Carmine Gallo. So while Apple's logo graces the cover and many of the book's major themes, he also profiles companies such as AT&T, Lush, Starbucks, and Zappos.

The 256-page book is organized into three parts: Inspiring Your Internal Customer, Serving Your External Customer, and Setting the Stage. I expected the book to focus on typical retail concepts like selling skills or product placement. But I was surprised that Mr. Gallo devotes nearly 90 pages to Inspiring Your Internal Customer - your employees. Hiring and training are a big part of creating the Apple experience.

At first glance, it might seem like this book is only relevant to people working in the retail industry. But I'm an IT professional that helps non-technical users as part of my job. I found a lot of the concepts directly applicable to my job and recommend the book to anyone who needs to provide superior customer service, regardless of industry.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Don't Expect too much, March 8, 2014
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This review is from: The Apple Experience: Secrets to Building Insanely Great Customer Loyalty (Hardcover)
The author could have said and written the same book in one third of the pages, because most of the observations and information are repeated again and again and the writer is a very boring writer. He can put you to sleep many times during the process of reading the book. I had to force myself to finish it.
He writes like a teenager fascinated by his idol and the company he founded, but he fails to go deeper in the mind of Steve/Apple. Possibly because he never had a close relationship with Steve J. and he is only getting information from third parties and again his observations are very flat & superficial.
You will be able to find this kind of information and so much more in other better business books .
Save your money and get a book written by the person doing and implementing the creative thinking (owner, entrepreneur, etc etc)
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for business people and Apple fans alike, March 21, 2012
This review is from: The Apple Experience: Secrets to Building Insanely Great Customer Loyalty (Hardcover)
"....visiting an Apple Store is a religious experience. Religion gives meaning to people's live, and for millions of Apple customers and thousands of employees, the brand gives them a sense of meaning, providing deeply emotional experiences that improve their lives"

"The principles in this book work for Apple, and they'll work for you, too. I'll show you the parallels, but it's up to you to adopt the techniques"

On these points this book delivers admirably. After writing The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs and The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs I think it is safe to say that Carmine Gallo is an expert in all things Apple and this book delivers just as the others have.

The book can easily be broken into three distinct parts. These parts are inspiring the internal customer, inspiring the external customer and finally setting the stage. One of the great features of this book is the questions for those business owners and entrepreneurs who want to go deeper into the content. For instance, Chapter 9 is titled Reset Your Customer's Internal Clock and provides three questions, the first goes as follows:

1) Review all of you customer touchpoints. Are you and your staff greeting customers warmly? Are you making them feel as though they have entered an organized, helpful environment? Are you letting them know how long it will take to address their needs or answer questions? - Pg. 121

The Apple Experience is a great read for any person who is merely curious about Apple's methods, those who own a business and everybody in between.

Recommended for anybody interested

Highly recommended for anyone in retail and/or with a customer satisfaction driven culture.

*Leave a comment below. I love feedback!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Well worth reading, May 3, 2013
By 
Mick Whelan (Burnsville, MN United States) - See all my reviews
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A great insight but often repetitive experience of how successful customer liaisons can be attained by companies, large and small. I definitely would come back to companies that use this way of communicating and treating customers.

Mick
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read about a great, November 30, 2014
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This review is from: The Apple Experience: Secrets to Building Insanely Great Customer Loyalty (Hardcover)
Apple and customer loyalty go hand and hand. Excellent read about a great company
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to provide an "insanely great" customer experience, March 26, 2012
This review is from: The Apple Experience: Secrets to Building Insanely Great Customer Loyalty (Hardcover)
Those who have read The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs and/or The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs already know that Carmine Gallo is a keen observer and brilliant analyst of what does and doesn't work in the business world...also why. He has already explained with rigor and eloquence the "secrets" to Steve Jobs's effectiveness as a showman and as an innovator. Now he shares the "secrets" to how and why Apple continues to provide an "insanely great" customer experience. By doing so, it achieves and sustains great customer loyalty.

It is important to note that Gallo discusses strategies, tactics, values, and mindsets for both internal and external customers. Only a fool would expect employees who are disloyal to create customers who are loyal. In fact, those who work for Apple have the same defining characteristics as the evangelists that Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba describe in their eponymous book. That is why Gallo devotes Part I to "Inspiring Your Internal Customers." Key Points in Chapter 1: Find inspiration outside your industry and make relevant connections, ask meaningful questions that obtain meaningful answers, and craft a crisp and compelling vision statement.

Then he shifts his (and his reader's) attention to "Serving Your External Customers" in Part II. Key Points in Chapter 8: Study the five steps of superior service (more about them in a moment), train all staff members to follow all five steps, and meanwhile conduct your own research to secure competitive intelligence. As for Part III, "Setting the Stage," he carefully explains the significant differences between cosmetic and organic in terms of how prospective buyers experience what is offered. Key Points in Chapter 16: "unclutter" the retail space, apply the "open space" philosophy to the website and marketing materials, and make frequent site visits to evaluate how well the purchase experience is "framed."

I commend Gallo on his skillful use of various reader-friendly devices that include a "Checkout" section at the end of chapters as well as several checklists that consolidate and highlight key points. For example, here are two from Chapter 8: "The Apple Five Steps of Service" and "The AT&T Retail Experience," six tactics that are remarkably similar to the Apple principles.

I also appreciate Gallo's provision of other "goodies" that include:

o "The One Question That Unleashed Apple's Success" in retailing (Pages 7-8)
o "Disney's People Management Philosophy" (Pages 20-23)
o Apple's Three-Step Apple Process to Hire Fearless People (Pages 28-34)
o How Apple uses "The Net Promoter Score" (Pages 52-55)
o "The Ritz-Carlton 'Wow' Stories" (Pages 77-78)
o The APPLE Acronym in Action: Approach, Probe, Present, Listen, and End (Pages 92-105)
o How to Create Wow Moments (Pages 143-156)
o Housekeeping "No-Nos" (Page 191)

Carmine Gallo achieves two separate but interconnected objectives and both of them have great value: He explains how and why Apple provides "insanely great" customer experience that creates "evangelists," and, he explains what lessons other organizations can learn from Apple, how they can "apply the magic behind an Apple adventure." He fully understands that very few organizations can duplicate Apple's success, one that required decades of collective effort led by arguably the greatest business thinker since Thomas Edison and Henry Ford. That said, Gallo reassures his reader that by bringing greater value to people's lives, "you can move society forward. Avoid the mistake of just focusing on the product or service. Instead, create a magical customer experience that enriches people's lives. Just make it great - insanely great!"
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why Do Apple Stores Earn More Money Per Square Foot Than Any Other Retailer?, November 18, 2012
This review is from: The Apple Experience: Secrets to Building Insanely Great Customer Loyalty (Hardcover)
I have become hooked on Carmine Gallo and everything "Apple."

Gallo has now added a third book, "The Apple Experience," to complete his Apple trilogy ("The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs,"[...],"The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs," [...]). In "Experience," Gallo responds to requests to explain the Apple magic and provide a roadmap for others to use in duplicating it. This book focuses on Apple's retailing excellence; Apple stores earn more money per square foot than any other retailer.

The essence of Apple's retailing success is communication - internal (employees), external (customers), and environmental (what does the design and layout of the store have to say about the brand) communication. There is a section dedicated to each of these...and within each section, each chapter (Dream Bigger, Hire for Smiles, Cultivate Fearless Employees, Reset Your Customer's Internal Clock, Sell the Benefit, Unleash Your Customer's Inner Genius, Eliminate the Clutter, Pay Attention to Design Details, Design Multisensory Experiences, and more) details how to apply one principle, and suggests activities to force the reader to think differently about "the experience" using the principle featured.

In the section on "Serving Your External Customer," Gallo provides Apple's Five Steps of Service which provides the core of Apple's customer experience, and shows how to apply each step:
* Approach customers with a personalized warm welcome
* Probe politely to understand all the customer's needs
* Present a solution for the customer to take home today.
* Listen and resolve any issues and concerns
* End with a fond farewell and an invitation to return

Why do people travel to the Apple store and pay a premium for Apple products when they can buy the products on-line or at stores that offer substantial discounts (phone carriers? Why does Apple do what it does? What other brands do something similar? And how can I learn these principles? "The Apple Experience" provides the answers.

This is a book for all interested in the experience their company or non-profit provides, whether it is retail oriented or not.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Insanely Great Case Study on Customer Service, June 28, 2012
By 
This review is from: The Apple Experience: Secrets to Building Insanely Great Customer Loyalty (Hardcover)
The Apple Experience is an insanely great case study on customer service. The steps to build a better business model by making your customers happy are laid out in a simple and straightforward manner and a constant stream of real world examples bring these concepts to life. Though the main focus here is Apple, the author includes examples of companies who emulate Apple as well, such as AT&T, Disney, Zappos, Starbucks, and more.

There is ample content here to walk away and immediately begin putting this process to work for your company, department, or team, or even just to strengthen your own customer service process. Whatever your position, and in whatever industry you work or lead, there is something in this book that you can takeaway and apply to your daily life. Each chapter reels you in a little bit more. The format of the chapters is key - the author begins with an anecdote, follows it up with a detailed analysis of the concept, process or key element covered in that chapter, provides additional examples to back up the main idea, sprinkles in some customer quotes, and ends with a wrap-up that gives clear and concise advice on how to implement the ideas from that chapter into your own job/business. It will inspire you to want to provide better service to your customers and a better work environment for your employees, and it will give you a new appreciation for Apple, and other companies like them, who bring a little bit of magic to the dry world of retail.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads program.
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The Apple Experience: Secrets to Building Insanely Great Customer Loyalty
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