Great article in a recent edition of Incentive Magazine entitled, “Steve Jobs’ Legacy: 360-Degree Engagement.”
In it the author, William Ng, relates a story of Paul O.Radde who happened to be in an Apple store on the evening of October 5. While in the store, the store’s manager called for everyone’s attention over the speaker system.
“We have a tradition of ‘clapping out’ Apple employees when they leave the store at the end of shifts. We have been informed that Steve Jobs just passed away and we would like you to join us as we clap him out.”
Fifty people, customers and sales associates, in the Apple store proceeded to applaud for three minutes.
According to William, Apple pioneered the core concept of 360-degree engagement — emphasizing the connection between passionate employees, customer retention and business profitability.
Following are the four lessons from the Apple model that Jobs created:
- Build a culture of fandom. Apple’s legions of customers and fans believe in the organization as much as the employees do. According to Jeff Grisamore, president of New York-based engagement agency EGR International, “they are its apostles.” Does your company have apostles? Who are they? How can you empower them?
- Emphasize employee retention. Even after leaving Apple, its employees “bleed six colors” in reference to the Apple logo, according to Joe Moreno, a former Apple engineer. Communications plays a role in creating that loyalty. At Apple, employees can raise issues with upper management by posting on the “Can we talk” section of the internal human resources website.
- Create great customer experiences. Apple believes high-quality buying experiences, with knowledgeable sales staff who convey the value of its products and services greatly enhances the ability to attract and retain customers. Also, Apple prefers it associates to help customers understand how to use the technology rather than sell it. This is a tremendous differentiator in today’s marketplace and consistent with the new paradigm where customers and prospects prefer inbound marketing over outbound marketing.
- Focus on projects, not silos. At Apple, it’s never “how long have you worked for the company? but rather, “how many projects have you worked on?” It’s not uncommon for employees to move between several different divisions and jobs. This is directly related to one of Steve Jobs’ core values for himself: focus on specific projects, and the roles of the departments will fall into place.
While I am not a user of Apple products, I am a great admirer of the company and what Steve Jobs accomplished. I’m also pleased with the performance of the stock which I am sure is a function of the firm’s 360-degree engagement with its customers.
What can your firm learn from Apple to become more engaged with customers?