Apple in the Big AppleWritten by Jack Horner | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Christmas time in the Big Apple is part of my annual pilgrimage to cooler climes. I try to get there every year to explore an unfamiliar neighborhood of the city. This year, I visited Harlem. As the twinkle of tens of thousands holiday lights began to explode into an electronic fireworks display, I made my way down 5th Avenue toward Rockefeller Center, the frenzied hub of the city’s holiday season, to gaze at this year’s 88-foot Norway spruce.
Walking among tens of thousands of holiday shoppers at the corner of 59th Street and 5th Avenue rounded out my quintessential New York City holiday winter experience.
That’s where I stumbled upon the Big “White” Apple and its towering glass enclosure. As I walked closer and peered down through the enclosure, its glass elevator and its glass staircase to the activity below, I saw the constant flow of people engaged in a non-stop cycle of coming, browsin, and buying. As I stood there I marveled in the genius of Steven Jobs and Apple and their development of the iPod.
With my family in tow, we joined the throngs of shoppers winding our way downward to the core of the Big White Apple. The floor was manned with an abundance of service reps donning red shirts — customer service par excellence with the resulting added benefit of corporate efficiency.
We approached the first red shirt and told him what we wanted to purchase. He asked, “Do you need a receipt now or will an e-mailed receipt suffice?” We replied that an “e-receipt” would be just fine. He then directed us to a far corner where we simply told another red shirt what we wished to purchase. The purchasing transaction took no more than a minute. Immediately after selecting my iPod model, the sales rep reached under a massive counter top, pulled out an iPod, asked for my e-mail address, and with a hand-held POS device swiped my credit card, entered my e-mail address and placed my iPod in an Apple logo bag — a done deal in record time.
From a business and operations management perspective, the system Apple developed and implemented obviously resulted in increased sales at this busy location. Evidently, they have successfully studied and mapped their operations process, identified the bottlenecks and have successfully anticipated potential problem areas in the design of their new process.
Congratulations to Apple for increasing customer satisfaction by making the buying process fast, friendly and simple. And kudos for showing the rest of us how refining a process can have such positive results.
Jack Kleban is president of Midwest Computer Support in Sylvania. He may be contacted at email@example.com.