Apple’s Four Lessons On How To Avoid Competing On Price

Posted on March 5, 2012 by LCT Magazine

Apple, the company who brought us the iPod, iPhone and iPad, among myriad other powerful computers and gadgets has successfully avoided competing on the basis of price. The tech titan has been able to charge premium rates and still attract business, a concept dreamed about by every business owner. Fast Company expert blogger Nick Nanton & JW Dicks shares four ways the tech titan has accomplished this:

1. Powerful branding – A well-executed branding campaign has helped Apple build a brand that is trendy, cool and technologically advanced. The iPhone, in particular, has become a status symbol for many.

What you can do to build your company’s brand:
• Engage in social media to put your company name and personality in front of current and potential clients.
• Promote seasonal packages, special deals and vehicle selection with social media updates.
• Ask clients for feedback – what did they enjoy? What was their favorite part of the event/trip? What could you do to improve?

2. Strategic marketing – Every time a new product is launched, customers line up for hours, if not days, outside Apple retail locations. Every time, a product shortage prompts anxiety and even desperation from customers who were unable to get the product. The result is a feeling of scarcity and value. Customers feel privileged to spend $500 for in iPad.

What you can do to market your service more efficiently:
• Since you’re selling a service and not a product, think about how the service can provide something to clients that will improve their quality of life, even for just the time they’re your passengers.
• Do research on retail markets and seasons and make sure to promote services in anticipation for that season.
• Think about what clients really want — safe ride home after a night out drinking; clean, professional vehicle for special event; vehicle environment conducive to productivity; in-vehicle creature comforts for long trips — and advertise these benefits to clients as things your company offers year round.
• Use client testimonials, videos and photos to show the joy and satisfaction on clients’ faces after using your service. In addition to building brand image, it gets clients to associate your service with satisfaction.

3. Excellent customer service – Apple Care, the company’s warranty and customer care program, provides a level of service that is unparalleled in the electronics industry. The peace of mind that comes from knowing that expert help is a phone call away is a big part of the value Apple provides.

What you can do to prompt excellent customer service:
• Service is core to success in this industry, so make sure all staff are people-oriented and are able to see things from a client’s perspective.
• Set company standards for service, i.e. answering calls by a certain number of rings, getting a quote within a certain number of minutes, finding a qualified affiliate for work that you cannot do for a client.
• A great experience with your company can prompt clients to refer you to their friends, family and colleagues. They become your best sales force, because when prospects hear about a product or service from a trusted acquaintance, they are more inclined to give it a try.

4. A product that doesn’t disappoint — Branding, marketing and customer service don’t mean anything if the product is disappointing. Apple doesn’t cut corners to make promises that its products can’t keep, resulting in customers who are consistently thrilled with their purchases. At the end of the day, if a product can’t live up to the expectations set by its marketing, it won’t succeed for the long term.

What you can do to deliver a great product/service:
• Again, being client-centric is vital to profitability in this industry.

• Deliver great service in clean vehicles with professionally trained staff and chauffeurs.
• Great service means keeping to a minimum the level of stress and anxiety a client experiences when booking vehicles and riding in them.
•  In other words, make it easy for the client and let them know your expert staff will take care of everything for them. The less stuff they have to worry about, the less hesitant they will be to book with you.

Apply these concepts to your operation and you will be able to eliminate price as an issue. Understand the value of your service and price it accordingly. This will gain clients’ respect and weed out the types of clients you don’t want sitting in your vehicles.

Source: Fast Company Magazine; Michael Campos, LCT associate editor

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