Archive for the 'Apple' Category
Posted by: Peter Massey | 10.12.2012
I love this in house Microsoft video on getting engineers to share the pain – WSYP – oh that it were true, then the software would have been fixed. It’s such a laugh and MS branding people could get a long way by acknowledging the reputation of laptops…. let alone the engineers by addressing the reputation in practice.
I used to love the requests down the pub – Pete can you come and help us fix the laptop….. People are so confused about what I do for a living.
Anyway I couldn’t anymore. I havent used one for years. So I probably need feedback on where Windows is up to now….. comments please.
All I know is that 3+ years ago when all the buttons got moved around in the Office suite I decided I had to stop smashing laptops that crashed constantly at vital moments and learn the Mac apps. I’ve managed to keep the Mac an MS free zone quite easily.
I go all evangelical when talking about Macs/mac apps for 3 simple reasons: they don’t crash, they start when you open the lid and the when you shut the lid. It’s life changing….well certainly work changing.
I wish FlyBe would realise this when they ask you to start shutting down your machine half way through a flight – I confess I feign to be closing down…very slowly.
So is it still true? – I don’t know anymore, but I do know only 3 experiences of new Windows in the last month….
a) Surface can’t be found in any of the shops to which I’ve been
b) Friend of friend story about customer service nightmare on Surface in US with facebooked evidence
c) Windows 8 upgrade that left printers not working.
We don’t talk about laptops down the pub anymore – everyone bought iPads, or Macs, or both. That makes me sad as inside MS is an amazing business with amazing people. But someone needs to pop a bubble that it’s ok.
The MS ad of 2013 should read: It works. Full stop. On second thoughts, better leave out the full stop. Otherwise they should use the WSYP video and at least win lots of sympathy!
Posted by: Peter Massey | 12.10.2012
I was spurred to look up what I’d written on Netpromoter or NPS by two things this week.
First seeing a tweet about Nina at Porsche talking at Jump on Porsche’s journey with NPS. Nina has been in the Chief Customer Officer Forum since its early days (crumbs CCOF it’s about to go into its 7th year now) and as a Porsche nut, I’ve enjoyed following her smart journey through measurement and the complex job of motivating a mixture of owned and franchised outlets in a very sales led industry.
What hit me most was when I was chairing a conference 2 years ago where she presented in Brussels ( a fun few days !) was the show of hands. I asked how many people used Netpromoter and about half the audience was using or experimenting with it. I then asked those with an advocacy strategy to keep their hands up. Only Porsche were really trying to generate advocacy rather than measure an expressed intention about advocacy. At the time, very few e.g. first direct were measuring how many customers had been advocated rather than a “would you?” – obviously very different answers. And have you ever been surveyed or asked the NPS question by companies who have grown astronomically through word of mouth with little or no advertising e.g. Amazon, Google, Facebook or Skype?
And secondly being asked some questions about my point of view on measurement and NPS – that will hopefully lead to a conversation to help a charity of which I’m a fan.
In the past 3 years, I have only worked with one business, British Gas, who really had a handle on the use and value of NPS scores. It had done the detailed economics behind movement in NPS scores and was using its model to make faster investment decisions across the 4 drivers of NPS and the resultant effect on life time vale.
I just looked up 3 previous blogs on NPS which go into certain angles:
In “Raid that budget” as a result of the 2011 Netpromoter report I was talking about the balance of spending between brand and experience.
In “I dont want to be a benchmark” I was talking about the balance of measurement vs action. How come the best companies don’t try to measure you in the same way. How come other companies try harder to measure you than do something with what you tell them.
In “The big apple and netpromoter” from back in 2009, I took a detailed look at NPS in the context of Apple’s success and understanding the complexity of the drivers: brand, price, product, service.
But my, how things have changed in the last year, let alone 2. Marketing has changed so much. I wrote about it our last newsletter ‘Is Marketing dead?” concerning the debate we’d had at the CCOForum at eBay. 2011 Euro Contact Centre of the Year winner DRL illustrated it so well. Marketing as it was – brand led – had already moved on. It’s about winning in search (SEO) and actual experience so that any brand promise is met. If not met social just blows the brand out of the water.
So today word of mouth strategies are fully to the front of mind. And measurement has moved on in to a much more analytics focus.
And in this new environment companies are struggling with a couple of things:
a) Listening to what customers and front line staff are telling them - and acting on everything
b) Unravelling BIG data when there are so few high calibre business analysts in the market to use the tools at their disposal
c) Platforms in the cloud are so capable compared to their own systems. This is important in 2 ways: (i) The big guys (Amazon, Google, Facebook, eBay) fight first and foremost for the very best talent in the world and apply it to developing the business going through their platforms. They win at analytics and get faster and faster at reacting to what customers want. Facebook, although massive to branding and word of mouth, is only just starting as a commercial platform - take a look at things like Soldsie. Even the big companies won’t be able to compete on what their platforms can do – if you doubt it consider that Facebook supports 1 billion users with 1000 engineers and zero downtime. Ask your IT director what his figures are. (ii) The tech boom that’s going on in Boris’ London is all about cloud based applications and the people doing it are developing stuff for customers to value, not for businesses to buy; they are embedding service, rapid feedback and analytics in the products. They are just so much better than “IT”.
And a final point – people are being bambuzzled by ‘social” in service. For 2 reasons: (i) Executives who don’t live on social vs executives who do – you have to “get it” to see what its good for ( and to stay in touch with what’s happening in social) (ii) You have to be specific – it’s not “social”, you have to say which tool for what purpose e.g. using a customer community to allow customers to help other customers (crowdservicing) or e.g. using Twitter to identify what certain people are saying about you or e.g. using YouTube to let customers train themselves on how to fill in your forms.
So next time someone says “social” to you at work, stop them and ask them “which tool for what purpose?” and see if they can answer….
Posted by: Peter Massey | 22.09.2012
Just been fishing for an iphone 5 as many will be I’m sure.
Always fascinating to try and research and buy without help.
Start point was with my existing supplier. To access my account I have to renew the password each time – weirdly it seems to not work more than once without reset. Anyway I identified that I’m locked in for another year. Weird as I know I didn’t want a 24 month contract after being locked in with my previous supplier. My daughter tells me she’s been told the same thing spuriously with another supplier so I’ll look in to that. I need the paperwork.
This is the point at which all the trust built up over the last year kicks in. Or not.
Needs are simple – a network that handles phone calls this time. Last one would more often offer voicemail even when showing a signal. And voicemail would often be delivered a day later. But 3G data was brill and heavily used so I still want that. I have a candidate network in mind – not the ones I used the last 3 times.
So a quick run round the sites (full marks to all for making that easy) establishes that prices are near identical but unlimited data is only available on one. 12 month contract only available on a different one. Dig dig on the front candidate – ah a hint of a 12 month contract if you phone. So I ping the chat button. Here’s how it went:
Sofia: Hello, you’re chatting to Sofia. I am part of the dedicated xx Online Sales Team. How can I help you with your new order?
Sofia: Hello Peter.
peter: site mentions 12 months contracts on iphone5 but no pricing. What’s the pricing, unlimited internet, 12 month, 16Gb and 64Gb?
Sofia: I will certainly help you with that.
Sofia: You will get 12 months Iphone 5 sim only deal.
peter: ? no point to that…?? so you dont do 12 month PAYG
Sofia: And you will get Iphone 4 for 24 months contract only.
Sofia: You can call on 08000792000 to get the shorter contract
peter: what? you mean I can get a 12 month contract by phone but not by chat?
Sofia: Online we only sell Iphones on 24 months contract
Sofia: You can call our tele sales team to get the shorter contract
peter: Weird – why?
Sofia: We are just the sales advisor who can help you with the deal’s given on the website. Trust you understand.
peter: Not really. Bi
Can you hear the “not another one” in her voice? I wonder why the same offer isnt available? I’ll just give up as my half hour to sort this out is up.
Buyer inertia sets in – and they could have had my order. This “multichannel” stuff is not quite joined up. Loving chat at least instead of phones. So much more “in my journey”. And well done to all for getting the obvious things to do for iphone 5, very clear on the websites. Saved a lot of my time.
Posted by: Peter Massey | 25.10.2011
My heart sinks for Apple. I was that ultimate fan selling 3 machines per day to strangers on trains. Converting friends and people at work, buying them for family. Blogging and shouting to all who would listen. And now only a few weeks later I am turning. Why?
My expectations were different. Yes they were high – I expected things to plug in and just work as they were designed to do. I expected bigger spec to mean faster. Why wouldn’t I?
But alas its more stewed than rosy.
3 weeks in, my Macbook Pro is slower (and obviously heavier) than my 2 year old Air, only replaced when the memory was full. I reboot Safari, Mail and iPhoto every few days where it used to be every quarter or so. My Time Machine isn’t working. I’m driven hourly to distraction by the lack of a “save as” function. I’ve been without bluetooth until another reload of the software yesterday has brought it back so I can finally work on the train again.
Yes I’ve had service. Lots of it. I’m just too fed up to tell it all, suffice to say multiple service and advice issues, a swapped machine, multiple downloads. 2 days without a machine from which I’m still trying to recover. I’ve tried booking service appointments a week out and a visit a few days out, but haven’t been able to make them. I’m no further on and I’ve given up. I’ve accepted that, despite the lovely machine, I’ve paid at least as twice as much as I might have for a Microsoft style experience and 3 steps back in time.
As if to rub it in a window has just popped up with 100 problems (literally) in my third attempt at syncing my music.
A new iphone4S today caused me to back up to the old 3 which promptly jumped to iOS5 and lost all my music and half my apps. And then these things didn’t come across onto the new phone. Worse still the new phone wouldn’t accept my passwords despite resetting them several times. After reloading the software from scratch it finally worked.
I’m just manually loading music and apps back onto both phones. I don’t know what else is gone but no doubt I’ll notice over the next few days.
So why bother writing this sad list up. Because somewhere in Apple, I hope, are a bunch of passionate people stewing because stuff didn’t work at launch. You can imagine how they fought for quality over deadlines. How they fought to get back history to work with new stuff, to put reputation over analysts forecasts. How they pleaded that just more $$ spent wouldn’t solve the lack of testing.
I hope they are there and get to read this and use it as internal ammo. Root cause to reputation and revenues. Focus on it. Please.
It’s not too late – yet….
For example 2 car companies: 10 years ago someone picked up the phone to me and apologised. They couldn’t undo the issue they’d caused, but they could recognise their problem. As a result I forgave them and spent a lot of money with them subsequently. A competitor once wrote me a disclaimer letter in similar circumstances. I am still their terrorist – I stopped someone buying one again the other day.
So the message to Apple – get on the front foot fast. Start telling people what doesn’t work before they spend a lot of their and your time finding out what the geeks know first. Get back to making things work and testing the swap overs so that minimising customer effort is top of the agenda. And put “save as” back – don’t tell the world you’ve invented a better mousetrap.
Ah well, back to my new phone – the Mac can’t find the music anymore, maybe reloading it back to my old phone ate it…. another hour or two should fix it
Posted by: Peter Massey | 17.03.2011
Netpromoter scores abound and it’s interesting to see the US NPS benchmarks now being published in competition with the American Customer Satisfaction Index ( ACSI ) . Recently colleague Bill Price in the US was speaking at a conference on customer happiness and we all continue to push the case for removing dumb things under the banner of reducing customer effort (search categories: “customer effort”), another way of measuring customers.
So many things to measure: likelihood to recommend, satisfaction levels, happiness and effort.
I just wish people would stop putting their money and energy into measuring and use it to change things instead. The top scorers in all the these measures are the same people. The Amazons, USAAs, Southwesterns. They don’t need to be told their scores in order to change things. They live that way. They’re always listening and changing. Open to feedback, honest and transparent towards their customers and their staff.
The attention is on doing the right thing, not on measuring if we did the right thing.
Take two examples yesterday and today.
The Apple store in Covent Garden. So good it makes you purr. Sales help given, diagnostic tool for iphone and service given, additional questions answered, no time wasted. No one has tried to measure me.
Booking some Virgin Atlantic flights today. So poor I nearly gave up 3 times. 75 minutes in total. It was only the very poor chance of finding anything better ( in process terms) that stopped me. Measured in the middle of the process. And failed my feedback test: when speaking to the agent I asked what she’d do if I gave feedback and was offered the website as a place to put it.
There’s just no excuse for some of the obvious things…. the agent had to book my kids whilst I booked myself at the same time in order to get on the same flight for sure. Why? Neither she nor I can book flights on the same place out and different flights back – that’s got to be pretty common. Her price quote for me is higher than mine. The website rejected both bookings part way through booking and then changed the prices when I went back in. The webchat help can’t do anything to help as the process doesn’t allow. The credit card fees are per booking at £30+. I get pinged to give them webchat feedback scores on the agent – completely irrelevant and untimely. You can hardly hear the poor woman in the new Swansea call centre for background noise. She got off the phone pretty pronto when I started asking about sitting all 4 of us together.
And I’m writing this blog whilst I wait for my confirmation emails so I can book car hire and parking. 50 minutes and waiting. I’ll have to go back into the site and look up my arrival times.
OK so Ive booked with them but would I recommend them on any measure? Do they know these things are broken? Betcha they do. Do they care – they got significant sum of money anyway.
I suggested the advisor bring up some benchmarks in her monthly feedback session – easyjet, the passport office, directgov. Will it change – I doubt it very much. It was like this the last time I flew with them and the time before and so on…..
So if you cant offer good service, if you aren’t already a benchmark, then don’t measure me – it makes my experience worse still. Talk to your front line staff – they know what the score is. And they know what to do about it.
Postscript: It’s now the day after. Needless to say the only pre book seats available are in 2s.
No confirmation emails came anyway, only a text for one of the bookings so I have had to ring and get the ref for the other. No answer on the customer services line so I gave up and rang using the sales option. Despite a vehement attempt to get rid of me, I hung on in and got them to give me the missing ref. Emails had been sent and failed apparently. They never send text confirmations apparently so that’s confusing. So I called again, hung on til I got thro to customer services but couldn’t be helped. We, the agent and I, decided the only way to get 4 seats together in advance was to reach Richard Branson and get him to change the system. I really really wish I hadn’t given my money to Virgin til booking 4 people out, 2×2 back was solved. No wonder the first agent got off the phone fast yesterday when I mentioned seats.
Posted by: Peter Massey | 23.07.2009
I’ve recently made the transition from the Microsoft world to the Apple world. A rich vein for blogging but luckily for you, dear reader, I fell out of the habit of blogging as I twittered succinctly instead. Well now to make up for it….
Not just Microsoft was to be left behind. I moved from the rest of the world, as I got rid of Nokia and Dell at the same time. No offence to the Nokia world, I loved my old Nokia engine that only did simple things simply – but a waiter in Kashmir is dining out on the proceeds of our cash, phones and ipods stolen from the hotel rooms on our “LimeBridge goes trekking” global get together in June.
Digressing for a moment….did I tell you about seeing a snow leopard! Here it is! I’ll come back to that later
Any offence to Dell? I don’t know, I never tried to get help for daily crashes or a battery on their machine that struggled to make the 1 hour journey into London. Or a shoulder ache from the weight. Ok, when my last machine gave up the ghost in the middle of a seriously hot project in the Cabinet Office I had to rush out and buy the highest spec machine I could. So its my fault I bought a dog. It’s my fault I should have read the blogs in more detail, I only got as far as Dell delivery delays but found a high spec, very reasonably priced one in PC World in a hurry.
But I didnt try to contact Dell or read a Dell site. Interesting.
I did try to contact the PC World site abut the battery and the crashing but they didn’t return their nicely formatted emails. I could have gone to the store but I’d got better things to do.
I did try making sure I had the latest updates from MS and I tried their forums but crashes just seem to be an expectation with Vista. 2 or 3 times a day was becoming unbearable. Put that with slow performance on a high spec machine and the loss of an hour a day isnt tenable. Just opening the machine could take me two train stops in the morning. You could make the tea, whilst saving a 2003 compatible file. I blame MS – whether or not it’s their fault I don’t know.
The other reason MS get the blame is what they did to their standard office products in upgrading from 2003 to 2007, the other “upgrade” I experienced, alongside Vista. No new functionality, is just you cant find any of it !!! After 3 months, I’ve got used to it. But why did they do that?
When I looked at my daughter’s Mac, I realised. They were training me to think Mac!!
So back to Kashmir and the stolen phone and ipod. I’ll save the insurance story for another blog, but of course I asked my PA on the emergency call to get them to redirect voice mail (can’t do that..) and get a new phone, sim and dongle. Now call me old fashioned but every bit of customer experience work we did with telcos in the 90s said the key churn point was a lost phone. So I kinda expected this to be a slick process.
Whoops not at Vodafone. Call centre says you need a letters in writing to take to the shop. Shop says you didn’t need that letter for the phone. Whilst I’m there, can they replace my stolen dongle. Not without a written letter. But its £2 of plastic memory stick. No. I’m thinking of moving all our business account away. No. Very well then.
Off I go to the Apple store to replace my ipod. And that’s where it got expensive. Greeted as I entered by enthusiastic Apple fans, shown the tempting wares, I walked out with a ipod touch, the thing I came for. And a MacBook Air with no moving hard drive, endless battery life and the sexiest touch this side of …….well anyway. And no Microsoft stuff to crash. To date a month in, it hasn’t crashed.
The only reason I didnt walk out with an iPhone was that they can’t sell a business account, only to individuals. So off I trot to the O2 store.
Then I meet the very ordinary environment and endless queue and the business prevention officers again. Everything in writing in triplicate bla bla. I give up.
And walk back to the Apple store and buy an iphone privately there. A very chatty lady from Oklahoma configured it and set it up and showed me all about it. In fairness to O2, I bought another iphone for daughter no.3 who was out of contract this weekend in Maidstone and they’re trying very hard to copy the Apple model. Much better, but no emotion.
So you get I’m an Apple fan now? Thoroughly
You get I’m a Vodafone, O2, PC World, Dell ‘neutral’. You get I’m a Microsoft ‘detractor’ - or rather a Windows detractor. in fact I like Microsoft – they have great people, great ethos – just a lousy product that doesn’t work and they forgot the user interface was a key asset.
You can probably guess my 1-10 Netpromoter scores. Yes, a 9 for Apple and 3 or 4 for the others, I bet I can guess the companies’ Netpromoter scores, without knowing them.
But wait, it’s not that simple. I bet you can’t guess how many problems Ive had with the Mac and the iphone. Just as many as I had with the Dell and more than with my old phone. In fact the Mac wont sync with the mail server so I can’t use it fully. I can only get my old email history across if I give them both my machines for 48 hours. It turns out the solution is a mod to the operating system in September called, wait for it….. snow leopard! The bluetooth worked but now it doesn’t and the internet link option to the Mac has, impossibly, disappeared from the iphone. The gurus in store don’t know everything so refer to the c2c site (which is good) and although the call centre answers the phone, it’s very average.
Yet I’m still a raving fan – why? As a consumer, I haven’t worked it out. But as a professional what I know is it’s crucial to understand the calibration of the drivers of netpromoter scores. Brand, price, product, service relative to segment. These are all elements of the ‘customer experience’ that are being scored. And what drives each element in detail is relevant if one wants to change the promotional activity by customers on customers. And this is a really interesting example.
An example, other companies cannot simply copy parts of, without understanding the whole. The Apple experience design.
So combining my consumer and professional hats, here are a few thoughts on why I’m an actual promoter despite what has happened
I was pretty neutral about the brand. Loved how my classic ipod made my music accessible, loved the New York store where I bought it ( blogged Aug 07). Loved the London store on the odd occasion I’d been in professionally examining. But really, was I a geek or a media person or a designer…..not as cool as that I’m afraid.
Had looked before and decided it was very expensive compared to laptops, despite what fans said. Would have to buy more MS software on top because at work we only have licences for PCS.
Yes they looked sexy, but once I’d played with the iTouch, the iPhone Mac Air I was wowed. This is what did it in conjunction with parts of the other factors. The swish of your fingers to do things….. Dont ask me why. Let me try harder to look:
a. It’s very thin and very light – practicality. And the power lead is very light with light cable too so the total effect is a bag you don’t have to hump around.
b. Because there’s no moving hard drive, there’s v little heat to cool, so no fans, less power consumption and so endless battery – 7 hours showing at the moment.
c. Switching it on and off. It takes less than 2 secs to sleep and 1 second to be available when you open the lid. I just timed it mid sentence! This changes stuff. You can look up stuff on internet whenever you want. You can work on a tube. You can do the little things when you think of them, rather than putting them on a bit of paper.
d. The design is fab. The finish and surfaces are so great, the tiny magnetic power connector, the closing lid to the ports. The way the mouse pad feels
e. The touch functionaility. If I tap once, twice, three times, different things happen. I f I tap or swipe with two fingers. If I swipe up or down or across with four fingers, everything on screen whoooshes around so I can see them. If I press f8, I can see my 4 spaces – I have four screens to put different projects in so my desktop is huge. And the most basic thing, the keys are lovely.
f. The applications stay open when you ‘close’ them so they’re back in a jiff if you need them
g. The compatibility so far has been very high for files brought across or sent- the key thing I checked with other ‘promoters’ – Mac users. In fact, all bar one, all users were promoters.
h. The functionality of the core programmes is great and actually only took a few hours of playing with every function to learn. Having been in ‘confused’ mode with MS2007 must have helped. I would certainly have found it harder had I still been using the 2003 formats I know so well. Its certainly not perfect with about 3 controls needed to switch a bullet point off and on. I struggle to control the presentations full screen. Even when I use my iPhone as a remote control – so cool! But I bet there’s a control somewhere I haven’t learned yet.
i. Most of all, it just doesn’t stall, crash, or need a reboot. I have managed to fox the USB port a couple of times by extracting without ejecting!
So yes the product itself is a big bit of my promoter score.
4. The service – design first and then experience
The key element of design has been putting the face to face retail experience at the heart of things. And recognising that face to face retail experience is drab to non existent in most places, or posh and snotty in others. Either way it puts you off. Retail seems to be at the heart of getting the brand passion across. It starts in the store design and completes by having more than enough people all the time. All the stores I’ve visited are fully staffed with enthusiasts. People who really love Apple products and love working for Apple. You get approached for help in most stores, and even when its busy you can get help. The genius bar is available to book on line and get lessons or support as you wish. Just going back to the store, or different stores, a few times, you start to feel part of it. When geniuses consult each other for help you feel part of the conversation. You learn how to get the most out of the Mac and iPhone and as a result you engage emotionally with it. The c2c site seems to be at the heart of what geniuses and the web support is about – again its being part of something. Less said about the call centres in comparison, it feels like a.n.other company.
The service experience is challenging. I’ve always seen that resolution is the the top driver of satisfaction, followed by helpful, knowledgeable staff. In this case I still lack a lot of resolution for certain things but haven’t (yet) become dissatisfied. I can’t yet give away my Dell until I see if Snow leopard stops my exchange sync. Check back in Septemeber and see….
Meanwhile, I’ll start to plot more scientifically the drivers tree for netpromotion.
Get in touch, if you want to share your thoughts on how Apple’s netpromotion works and how you’re calibrating spend against netpromotion, emotional engagement and the design of the experience.
Posted by: Peter Massey | 12.08.2007
Is blogging on holiday something only saddos do? Withdrawal symptom from email probably!!
Well the view over Central Park in NY is great, but this early in the day I cant be bothered to crawl out despite the quality of US TV driving me to despair. No the adverts haven’t improved. You know those ads with 15 seconds of healthy grandparents who lived to see their grandchildren and enjoy a healthy sex life from those drugs with 45 seconds of side effects including death, pain, agony, loss of digits, nausea, vomitting and headaches. Cars can evidently be sold in the US only if they come with aaaamaaazing discounts from men with daft voices. Subtle eh?
The quality of ads contrasts so much with the quality of retail in the sprawl of sunshine and skyscrapers we’ve come to visit. We are in a 13 year old’s idea of retail heaven – Big Apple, the other Apple, Abercombie, Old Navy and Dad’s credit card !
Let’s start with our first ventures around a couple of blocks from 59th and 5th – the corner of Central Park and Fifth Avenue where FAO Schwarz and the Apple store contrast old and new retailing. FAO Schwatz ( http://www.fao.com/ ) has been around as a toy store since 1872 and represents all the traditional shopping you can muster with rows ofd stuff to look at. On the plus side there’s lots for the kids to interact with including a 10m keyboard they can jump around on and whch has featured in many films including A Christmas Story (1983). Someone from John Lewis once told me that one of their KPIs was that someone entering a shop should be greeted within one minute if they are to feel good about their visit. They even mystery shop to make sure its happening. Well Schwarz have always had a toy soldier at the door to greet you. Not subtle but it works.
The Apple Store on the other hand is probably the ultimate in designed shopping experiences. The approach is a hovering Apple logo in a glass box above street level. You know you’re in for something different.
There are greeters bantering with people entering and leaving and then your entrance is either by a glass lift inside the glass box or a glass spiral staircase. You get the picture. And then of course the “normal” for Apple, well lit, loads of circulation space, big tables, loads of demo kit, lots of savvy people to help every which way you look.
A couple of contrasts with the London store though. The design idea of taking credit card buyers out from the queue doesn’t work because so few people in the US store use credit cards judging by the length of line and lack of success the guys asking were having.
Secondly the buzz around iPhones. Everyone wants to play with one. There were hundreds out there all working, set up with data and wifi to test and play with. Yes I can vouch for the fact it feels like an iPod, does the obvious stuff easily and sexily. Gotta get one. But there are 2 issues I didnt solve – texting seemed to be a small qwerty touchscreen. Yuk. And with a max of 8 gigabytes I couldn’t replace my iPod when its time is up. It’ll be interesting to see how O2 gets on selling it for Xmas in the UK. And what Vodafone come up with in response…
Still this place is a testament to the whole design- an-experience approach with rows of tills taking tons of money 24 hours a day (and DJ’d music events on Friday and Saturday night).
2 blocks down 5th Avenue is the flagship Abercrombie and Fitch store. Now this is really what Beth came for.
The greeters look like minor film stars; and there’s a greeter on every floor of course. Everyone looks like one of the dressed models in the abundant black and white photos to be seen in strategic places, on TV and on the billboards. They show the clothes like they’re meant to be. In fact a little digging on the website (http://www.abercrombie.com/) shows that they are called ‘cast’ and can apply to be in the photo shoots and films.
The set has been dressed and lit to show the clothes at their best. The lighting is theatrical, dark and different. The clothes are piled deep in every size so you are not going to struggle to find the one you want. And if you did some model would walk up to you and offer help.
And the sound system is straight from the best night club, played loud and louder (see http://www.meyersound.com/news/2006/abercrombie/ ). And you can get the soundtrack at the website. This a place that has been designed to be good. Needless to say the tills are clattering.
It was established in 1892 and has always been a bit different. Take a look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abercrombie_&_Fitch and see what made them a different store early last century.
Well the hour has reached something decent so its time for a NY breakfast…… more on food joints next time