During Apple’s return to the ‘big league’ in the late 1990’s, Steve Jobs paid special attention to how Apple products would be sold to the end user. He didn’t want to see an iMac sitting on a shelf between a Compaq and a Dell; instead he wanted to control the retail experience (Isaacson, 2011). Naturally this allows for greater control of psychological variables, which leads to higher sales performance. I’m going to discuss a few of those variables now, particularly in relation to the language of their staff.
Prior to coming to university I handled customer support in a well-known retailor of computer equipment. I will say now that we were not the most helpful at getting the users device back up and running. Because this was a regular occurrence, we developed a language and a manor of saying ‘unfortunately there’s nothing I can do’. Apple by contrast prohibits the use of the word ‘unfortunately’, and instead they say “as it turns out” (Business Insider, 2012).
What this does is it pronounces fault upon force majeure, instead of placing it upon Apple and their repair process. This brushing off of the guilt directs the customer’s frustrations away from Apple and towards a ‘crap-happens’ perspective.
Another language factor that is controlled is pronunciation of product names. If someone mispronounces iPad, then the iPad will be pronounced the same way the customer has pronounced it (Business Insider, 2012). Since pronouncing is quite a subjective matter anyway, this philosophy respects the customer as an important equal. This would lead to feelings of empowerment and a perception of a good relationship with the Apple brand.
A similar approach has been taken with brands such as GAP. Jobs’ approach of maximum control over the product experience, as well as his meticulous attention to detail, has contributed to the success of Apple, not in the least in the factors described above.