Quick as Lightning, Apple Ruins the Customer Experience


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If you follow me on Twitter @Camulli then you will know I am a fan of Apple. I received my new iPhone 5 a few weeks ago and I like it very much, as the hardware is quite impressive. However, they made a few monumental mistakes that bruised the Apple in my eyes and has caused me to question their legendary commitment to the customer experience.

First, the Maps app (as part of iOS 6) is a terrible downgrade, which is unfortunate since I rely upon maps so heavily. I lament over once being able to type in the names of local shops and have them quickly and accurately mapped. No longer. So, I’ve turned to MapQuest and Waze. But the simple, crisp, ad-free interface just isn’t there like I had before. Second, is the removal of the native YouTube app (also an iOS 6 thing). I was shocked to discover that it had disappeared. I downloaded Google’s version from the App Store, however, this has also been a disappointment because it’s cluttered and lacks the same intuitive interface as well as user friendliness. So, with some lingering disappointment, I am adjusting to these downgrades and I’ll be fine.

Now let’s move on to another mistake…the Lightning connector. My beef is not with the connector itself because I think it is excellent. After all, it’s very small and it’s reversible… everything you could ever want in a brand new cable. However, I have half a dozen of the old cables strategically located in my car, house, office and computer bag. I imagine others have accumulated just as many cables over time, if not more. So my customer experience tale of woe comes in the form of $29 for a Lightning adapter and $19 for a Lightning cable. This is highway robbery, in my opinion, and I’ll tell you why. The steep price takes advantage of a loyal customer base in a way that insults their incredible loyalty. To add insult to injury, I can’t even find them. They always seem to be out of stock when I visit Best Buy or the Apple Store.

The Lightning connector was big news. It was the first time in ten years that Apple had changed the form factor and the ratio of cables to devices in circulation is probably 3 to 1. Therefore, I am left with two obvious questions for Apple: Why price gouge, and why not ensure ample stock of such a simple item? This situation was completely avoidable if they had only thought through the impact this would have on the customer experience. They could have easily anticipated the backlash and come up with a strategy that built more good will as opposed to destroying it. For example, $14 and $9 would have gone a long way in helping millions of people make the switch and I have a feeling they still would have made a healthy profit.

So why did Apple do this? Why would they abandon perfectly useful applications, gouge its loyal customer base, and in the process, obliterate good will and deliver a poor customer experience? Some thoughts: First, in its war against Google, I can only conclude that this was for selfish, prideful reasons. In the Walter Isaacson biography, Steve Jobs makes it clear that he wanted to bury Google…but this is where revenge may be clouding judgment. Second, with becoming the most valuable company in the world comes complacency…and complacency is the mortal enemy of the customer experience.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Eric Camulli
As Vice President for 7signal, Eric is focused on helping organizations bring high quality and highly productive experiences to people using Wi-Fi networks everywhere. In today's connected economy, our dependency on robust, reliable Wi-Fi is paramount. Eric is dedicated to ensuring that companies deliver peak wireless performance so that they can compete in a marketplace exploding with wireless devices.


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