An email from my friend John:
I was just pricing a new laptop. I like the new G4 12" iBook. Bump up the HD
from 40 to 80 gigs for 100 bucks and that’s a very useful machine.
Here’s where Apple falls down for me: The Apple Care package is $250! That
raises the price of my iBook by 20%. It’s almost like they don’t *want* to
have to support their products. And as much as I’d love to roll the dice,
I’ve owned laptops before and I know it’s going to get dinged up at some
I find it amazing that Apple is so good at creating brand apostles while
being so insanely shady about supporting their own stuff. There’s a lesson
to be learned here. You don’t actually have to be good to your consumers to
get them to love you. Apple is the Bill Clinton of computer companies.
Well, gosh. That is something to chew on. I can tell you first hand that we have had similar experiences with Apple. What is it that keeps people heading back for more? I think it’s this: Their stuff is so cool that people are willing to put up with crappy support. But is that a sustainable strategy?
Here’s the thing: Eventually someone, somewhere is going to catch up or even beat Apple in coolness. If a significant number of Apple zealots are actually steaming under the surface , there may well be a dramatic backlash.
So, what is the lesson? For Apple it would be this: Take stock now and invest in making your service the best it can be. Inoculate against a service backlash. For the rest of us? Take stock now and invest in making your service the best it can be. I know my company doesn’t have nearly the power of Apple to keep customers in the face of silent anger. Yours probably doesn’t either.