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The Apple Experience: Secrets to Building Insanely Great Customer Loyalty Hardcover – March 29, 2012
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About the Author
Carmine Gallo is the communications coach for the world's most admired global brands. A former anchor and correspondent for CNN and CBS, Gallo is a popular keynote speaker and has worked with executives at Intel, Cisco, Chevron, Hewlett-Packard, Coca-Cola, Pfizer, and many others. Gallo writes "My Communications Coach," a regular column for Forbes.com. He has written several internationally bestselling and award-winning books, including The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs, The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs, and The Power of foursquare. Gallo has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Success magazine and on CNBC. Learn more about him at www.carminegallo.com.
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"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.
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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
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.
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.
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!"