The reasons for Apple’s High NPS®
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Apple is popularly known as a multinational technology company that is based in America. It has its headquarters in California and the company is known to develop various products such as electronics, computer softwares as well as online services such as music and OTT platforms. The most popular products of Apple consist of iphones, ipads, Mac personal computers, iPods, Apple TV and Apple smartwatches. Apple uses iOS and masOS as operating softwares. Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronal Wayne founded Apple in January 1977 and was incorporated as Apple Computer, Inc. It was later renamed as Apple Inc in January 2007 to reflect the shift of the company towards consumer electronics.
Apple is known for having a steady growth in customer satisfaction and loyalty. This reflects the positive view of the consumers on the brand that Apple represents. NPS® Benchmarks has found that Apple’s NPS® score was at 72 in 2017 which was found to be significantly higher than the average NPS® score of other electronic brands. Apple continually focuses on improving the Net Promoter Score® and this focus has been working in the favor of the company. For instance, Apple’s NPS® score grew from 58 in 2007 to a whopping 72 in 2017 as mentioned above. The score did decrease to 63 in 2018, but it was still higher than the average score for other consumer electronic brands.
The reason why the fact that Apple’s NPS® is important is because NPS® reflects the growth of the company. It also shows that Apple has high consumer retention levels and the brand has a large network of loyal customers. NPS® reflects how many consumers are satisfied with your brand and how many of them promote it to others through social media or word of mouth. NPS® also indicates how well your brand is performing as compared to others in the industry.
The reason why Apple has such a high NPS® and is focused on increasing it is because a high Net Promoter Score® reflects positively on the brand. Apple focuses majorly on customer service and consistently offers better products one after another. Apple is also highly motivated on working on the feedback it receives from its customers whether it is good or bad. It does not take a defensive approach and handles the negative feedback with humility and patience.
Apple understands that the devil is the details and thus continually works on improving the services it provides to its customers. It gives customers an extraordinary sensory experience right from unboxing the purchased product to its long term use. It also offers outstanding support to its customers which helps in relieving purchase anxiety, it also offers self-help centers that are available online 24/7 and an excellent practise of providing free repairs of defaulted products and even replacements.
Improving your customer service like Apple and applying many of the practices that we will outline in this article can help increase the Net Promoter Score® of your business and in return make it more successful. Learning some of the practices of Apple that results in a high NPS® can help you apply the same in your business and achieve results similar to Apple.
Even though Apple’s Net Promoter Score® is extraordinarily high as compared to other companies in the same industry, it is not unattainable. By gaining a comprehensive understanding of why and how Apple has gathered such huge customer loyalty and stands out in customer satisfaction, you can apply the same value for your own company whether you run a technology business or not. The tips to improve your Net Promoter Score® using some of the practices of Apple will work for every business regardless of the industry. We hope this article serves you well in what you’re seeking for.
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The factor that inhibits customers to purchase an expensive product is the anxiety that follows about whether or not the product will work effectively. There are also concerns that the company will not respond if the customers receive a faulty product. Apple eases this anxiety by providing excellent customer service that lets consumers know that for any purchase that they make at Apple, they will receive full support from the company. According to Brain X. Chen, the review of any product does not provide the full understanding of a company without an insight into the company’s customer service facilities. Customers don’t purchase a product just based on its quality but also on their faith in the services provided by the company.
So what is Apple’s customer service like? It provides a 1-year warranty on all the products from ipods to macbooks, it does not charge extra for the repair of the products and even offers to replace the products for free if they end up malfunctioning during the warranty period provided. Apple also has a huge network of retail stores and that is another added reason why it does not feel like a risky decision to purchase one of their products. If the product malfunctions, customers know they can easily track a local Apple store near them and use their services.
Apple’s Support Page is a brilliant solution to serve customers too. It contains ample content for the customers to help themselves. Some customers find it easier to read an article and help themselves than to seek help from customer service representatives.
All of the strategies and techniques have proven to have a positive impact on helping reduce purchasing anxiety in customers which contributes to Apple’s high NPS®.
Apple has a long lasting practice of paying a ton of attention to the finest details along with offering quality products that are reliable in nature. Customers actually notice this habit of Apple paying attention to details. If you simply type “Apple’s attention to details” on google, you will come across plenty of articles that highlight the brand’s excessive or sometimes even unthinkable obsession with details.
We have highlighted some of the examples to portray this:
‑ The weight of Apple Pencil is designed and distributed in a way that ensures that irrespective of the way it is placed, it will always roll over and display “pencil”. Its weight distribution is designed in a way to reduce momentum while rolling and reduces the risk of falling off the table.
‑ The new Mac laptops contain a “smart” fan feature which reduces the speed of the internal fan automatically when the user uses the voice dictation feature. This is so that the laptop can hear the user more efficiently when the user is speaking.
‑ In order to prevent accidental strokes on the Caps Lock key, MacBook Air and the newer version of MacBook Pro have a feature of “smart Caps Lock”. This feature requires the users to hold the Caps Lock key a little longer than usual to turn on to avoid the annoyance of accidental Caps Lock keystrokes.
Apple’s attention to detail is not only limited to its products but also to the packaging as well as the experience that is attached to unpacking an Apple product. Instead of simply delivering a purchased item in the standard cardboard package, Apple has hired a dedicated packaging designer whose sole task is to open prototype boxes made by the designers working at Apple. This packaging designer ensures that the unpacking experience is as joyful to the customer by excessively testing the packaging.
This results in giving customers a sensory experience when they purchase and open an Apple product. From the get-go, Apple has captured the attention of the customer and the customers get an understanding of its priority to details and the philosophy of Apple’s design. This small factor has shown to have huge effects on the purchasing behavior of the company and helps it stand out from the competitors in the field by delivering this extremely unique experience to the consumer.
Apple’s strength can be summarised as selling an experience to the customer instead of a product. This sensory experience of unpacking the box of the first purchased product from Apple can leave a mark on the customers’ subconscious memory. This memory influences them each time they use an Apple product and makes the experience even more meaningful. This practice has a huge impact on increasing Apple’s NPS®.
Making sure your employees are satisfied in your organization is a good practice. It is often said that when you have happy employees, they transform that satisfaction into productivity. This is because they identify with their workplace and are hence more motivated to work there. This has led to the development of eNPS® survey (employee Net Promoter Score® Survey) which is crucial for all organizations to address the issues that the employees may be facing. In a nutshell, eNPS® helps one find out how happy their employees are while working in the company, and how likely it is that they recommend your company to be a good place to work in.
This is important because studies have found a positive correlation between employee satisfaction and productivity. It has been found that when employees are satisfied, their productivity increases by 12% while less satisfied employees are 10% less productive! It has also been found that employee satisfaction not only increases productivity but also increases profits and decreases employee turnover. Studies have also found that trusting, easygoing, and empathetic leaders increase employee loyalty, voluntary behaviors, as well as fosters a good social network between employees.
Happy employees also mean happy customers! This is why eNPS® alarms you about the levels of satisfaction in your employees so you can take action when needed. Apple was one of the very few companies that first adopted eNPS®. They survey their employees every four months to inquire about the likelihood of the employees recommending the store they worked in as a good place to work. Apple as a company is aware of the importance of having a loyal staff (employee Promoters) because employees who believe in the products they are selling, are the ones who can transfer that excitement to customers. They are the ones who can turn other customers into Promoters as well.
The eNPS® is calculated similarly to the NPS® score, and the scores range from -100 to +100, where -100 indicates all employees are Detractors (unsatisfied) and 100 indicates all employees are Promoters (satisfied). Apple has an eNPS of 24, which may seem like a small number but it is considered to be a good score. This is considering the fact that employees tend to give stricter ratings and criticisms as compared to customers, thus, the eNPS® is generally lower than NPS®.
‑ When employees are assigned to work in teams, the rewards systems are based on the performance of the team.
‑ Employees at Apple are given regular training sessions that are aimed to improve their skills and help them make advancements in their individual careers.
‑ Apple does not rate employee contributions on the basis of how long an employee has worked at Apple but on the number of projects undertaken by the employee. The best performing employees are also rotated between several projects to help them enhance their skills.
‑ Apple employees also get a raise without necessarily being promoted. Hence, a designer is likely to get a raise without being promoted to a higher position if they would not be happy doing the job at a higher position. Apple’s focus is on employing people in the areas that are best suited for their performance.
In today’s era, customer satisfaction and the experiences of customers will be the key factor that will decide brand differentiation in the market. The importance of product and pricing on the brand will be a close second to customer experience.
However, this fact will not change anything grand for Apple because it already outshines in customer experience than any other technology brand. Apple has truly excelled at its unique way of satisfying customer experience which has made it the most valuable company of all times. A simple search on the search engine will showcase the satisfaction customers have with Apple’s brand. Some of these practices include; replacing a faulty phone for free, or replacing a computer that is a month-old with a new one because of problems the customer had with the keypad. These simple practices are quite effective at making Apple ahead of the customer experience game. Apple actually follows a 5 step service plan that also has an acronym “APPLE”. Let’s look at the steps in detail:
‑ A: Approach customers with a personalized and warm welcome.
‑ P: Probe politely to understand what are the needs of the customer.
‑ P: Present the customer with a solution that they can take home today.
‑ L: Listen for and resolve issues or concerns of the customer.
‑ E: End with a fond farewell and an invitation to them to return.
The 4th step of listening encourages Apple employees to empathetically understand the concerns of the customers and actively listen to them. This active listening results in the employees getting to know the customers better and offer the customers a high sense of personalization and convenience. Personalization helps because customers want a company to be better able to manage their needs and help them with relevant product suggestions based on those needs. Customers value personalization and if the company can provide this sense of a personalized experience on more than one channel, it can increase the spending of the consumer on the products by 500%!
Apple delivers personalization in a unique form that is very pleasing to its customers. For example, Apple Music makes use of personalization to organize the best soundtracks for every user, and each soundtrack is unique! Apple also makes good use of the information such as the purchases and download history of the users to create “Personalised Recommendations” on their App store or iBooks store.
Apple also capitalizes on its efficiency to get meaningful feedback from its customers. The company then works on the feedback and uses it in creating user-oriented experiences which are personalized. For instance, Apple seeks feedback on most of the products and services it offers and makes it easy for customers to access this feedback option by mentioning it on their site. Apple also works on every shop assistant to have an enriching ongoing relationship with the consumers.
Offering simplicity is the best way to ensure a positive customer experience. Research has shown that customers value simple, fast, and seamless engagement with brands. Apple has a minimalist approach and this focus on simplicity is often reflected in the way Apple products operate. For example, your Apple ID can be used to access all the services offered by Apple which makes it easier for you to use them. This works wonders for customer experience because they don’t have to keep a track of a zillion IDs in order to use several other services.
Apple also offers omnichannel support to its customers. Omnichannel support, in a nutshell, means having a multi-channel sales approach that assists the customer to have an integrated customer experience. Customers can get in touch with the Customer Service team of Apple through either live chat, email, or by phone. It also offers support through social media platforms like Twitter and youtube. Research has shown that about 55% of companies have no cross-channel customer support. So it clearly gives Apple an edge over other rival companies.
Apple’s unique hardware, as well as software, is its biggest strength. The reason for this to become Apple’s selling point is because Apple focuses on innovation. They don’t create new products, they make sure that the products will lead to some sort of change, they will bring useful consequences in the life of the customer.
Airpods and Apple Watch are some of the greatest examples of Apple’s capability to innovate and strive in the market. Apple made it past through the skepticism it was met with when launching AirPods and delivered. When users encountered problems with AirPods, Apple did not act defensively but acted on the feedback quickly.
Studies have shown that the ability of Apple to be innovative has been linked to its high NPS®. Most customers (around 84%) state that the company’s ability to be innovative is important to them and they (75% of them) are also likely to pay premium prices to access the innovation. If the customers’ are satisfied with the products they purchase, they are more likely to recommend it to others through word of mouth or online mediums. Thus, this increases the likelihood of customers becoming Promoters (loyal) who will stick around with the company through good and bad times. Thus, Apple’s NPS® also gets a boost due to its focus on creating innovative products.
Apple not liking to listen to its customers has turned out to be a big myth. Apple, in fact, was one of the first big advocates of using Net Promoter Score®. Apple, in fact, has been using NPS® even before 2006 to improve its growth. Right from day-to-day operations to the big picture, Apple continually focuses on improvement and working towards getting high NPS®. Reichheld explains that Apple encourages its retail store managers to use NPS® in everyday practice. The managers pay careful attention to the comments that customers make in order to work on the services and make recovery calls to Detractors in order to end the feedback loop. These phone calls as well as the comments from customers result in important messages that are then passed on to the employees and the entire team works on bettering their services.
Thus, Apple stores focus and analyze NPS® feedback on an everyday basis. Whenever Apple receives negative feedback, usually from a Detractor, the store managers follow up with the issue of the customer within a day. The response is rapid and thus it has shown to improve the ratings customers give to Apple. According to Reichheld, the Detractors who were contacted by Apple within a day were more likely to purchase products from Apple in the future as compared to those who weren’t reached out to. Thus, Apple realized pretty quickly that Detractors would be able to add at least $1,000 worth of revenue for the company in the future.
Research has found that companies that are customer-centric make 60% more profits as compared to companies that don’t focus on the customer. According to a study done by CMO Council, it was found that only 14% of marketers believe that customer-centric practices are important. However, the infographic below describes how important customer-centric practices are for retailers. Thus, there is a huge gap between the perceptions of marketers and customers. Thus, improving customer experience should be a company’s number 1 priority.
However, this is what sets Apple apart. Their focus on their customers has paid off in unimaginable ways. Today, Apple is one of the most profitable and highly successful tech companies. It controls around 40% of the smartphone market in the US and has about 87% of customer loyalty towards their brand across the United States and Europe.
So, thinking about customer value over profits can give you great pay-offs in the future. Instead of focusing on profits, focus on how you plan to create products and provide services that will create a difference in the life of your customers.
Like Apple, many other companies maximise their customer experience with the help of NPS®. Some of the most popular companies that use Net Promoter Score® to improve growth are: Airbnb, Amazon, AT&T, LG Electronics, Netflix, Sony, Facebook, Tesla, and the list goes on.
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Apple’s high NPS® scores have consistently indicated that it has a bright future ahead. The efforts put in by Apple to have a unique customer experience with the help of NPS® has shown to benefit the company in many ways. High NPS® is one of the best metrics that can be used to calculate and improvise your company’s functioning. Like it did for Apple, NPS® can also lead the way for you to achieve enriching customer experiences, higher customer retention rates, long term loyalty from customers, and more referrals from customers. You can capitalise on this opportunity to get big returns in the future.
Learn how to derive insights from the distribution of your NPS® scores, anticipate industry trends and combine other metrics with NPS®.
Hence it is established that the general strategies used by Apple, such as, having an innovative product which is backed by unique customer experience and great customer service is something that your brand can implement. From Apple to other companies that are leading in their respective industries, one of the most effective ways to gain customer retention is by surveying your customers regularly. By reading feedback of customers continually, you understand what you need to improve in the product, service, or experience you are offering to your customers.
Having access to this feedback data collected from customers can help you make relevant and useful decisions about approaching customers depending on the groups they belong to (Promoters, Passives, or Detractors).
Creating and running NPS® surveys can seem a bit overwhelming and complicated if you don’t have any experience in implementing them in the past. But, in reality it is quite easy if you use the NPS® platform that adapts to your needs and understands the goals you want to achieve for your business.
You don’t need to worry about the complicated steps that are required to make these surveys, Voxco provides you with a sample survey. You can also make use of the free survey tool and explore it.
Having personalised and unique customer experiences is key to gaining customer satisfaction and improving their trust in your brand. Studies have shown that most customers prefer to do business only with brands that induce feelings of trust and care. Voxco helps you organise automated surveys and run them, send customers the targeted surveys for them, and lets you use multi channels to run your surveys on (emails or embedded surveys in-app).
Net Promoter®, NPS®, NPS Prism®, and the NPS-related emoticons are registered trademarks of Bain & Company, Inc., Satmetrix Systems, Inc., and Fred Reichheld. Net Promoter Score℠ and Net Promoter System℠ are service marks of Bain & Company, Inc., Satmetrix Systems, Inc., and Fred Reichheld.