Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A Stroke Of Genius

Bars are pretty hot right now. And I’m not talking the kind where you sit down and have a pint with friends. Beauty bars give manicures in-store, yoghurt bars double as tasting labs, Lexus has a service bar that helps customers understand the advanced technology their cars have to offer.

I’m a fan of this concept because it puts the customer at the heart of business. It’s the opportunity for brands to develop strong relationships with their customers and provide the personalized service that people are looking for. For consumers, it’s the chance to work through issues with a real person who is trained to answer your question or fix your problem in the fastest way possible.

The key for any bar concept is that it needs to retain its original associations as a place to socialize and have a good time. Despite being a ‘help desk’, the Genius Bar is a lively, friendly atmosphere where customers sit down, relax and chat about their issues with one of Apple’s resident Genius’. They may have come in with a problem but they almost always walk away feeling inspired and empowered, rekindling their passion for everything Apple.

3 comments:

Brian (Saatchi DE Intern) said...

I recently had problems with my Mac and after bringing my laptop to Apple's Genius Bar, they not only fixed my problem, but really reassured my love of Apple (a love that was fleeting after such computer problems). Great points!

Matt Furlong said...

I couldn't agree more with your point about putting the consumer at the heart of the business. Online retailers are also flirting with this concept further by moving into the bricks and mortar space [e.g. Amazon in Seattle], so they can have those closer, more personal relationships with consumers. It's a interesting move when only a few years ago thinking was that the high street would pretty much migrate online...

That, said the success of Apple's Genius Bar has almost seen it lose it's friendly atmosphere and ability to informally chat. Customers have to book before they visit, from an online concierge, for an appointment three days away, effectively removing the essence of the bar concept...

Michael Kieloch said...

Genius indeed. Apple's customer relations and brand-building strategies are stellar in both innovation and in actual outcomes.

Imagine if other industries took notes and implemented such strategies? How much closer to your car brand would you feel if the local dealership had a genius bar where you could freely, without obligation, talk to factory-certified techs about your car issues, questions, or even get basic help or guidance (those DVD/entertainment systems are just as complex an an iPad sometimes!)?

How much more likely would you be to shop at a particular premium grocery chain if there was a chef and/or nutritionist hanging out in the store to help you with meal ideas, product suggestions, recipe assistance, and nutritional advice?

This concept isn't brand new — Apple has been having noted success with this for years. So where are the rest of the world's companies? Have they not been taking notes?