I spent yesterday afternoon at the Apple Store in Short Pump, retrieving data from my still-waiting-for-a-part PowerBook. Thankfully, I was able to retrieve most everything.
I witnessed something astonishing while sitting at the Genius Bar, something all Realtors should strive for. *Note: for this analogy, please excuse the hard drive failures of my Apple products. For the analogy to work, I need to focus on the customer service and brand loyalty.
A gentleman came in with his iPod mini. The battery would not hold a charge and he apparently depended on the thing for running. The Genius (named Eric, very helpful) told him that the unit was out of warranty and he could either have the battery replaced for about $60, look for a third party battery replacement or – if he were to purchase a new iPod, recycle the old one, and get ten percent off! The new nanos start at $149. The guy didn’t even blink. He walked out with a new iPod within 5 minutes. Now that is brand loyalty that all real estate professionals should strive for.
Consumers have choices. No doubt about it. Realtors fearful that new and emerging technologies are going to lead to their own disintermediation may in fact be threatened. Change is good. The opposite of change? Stagnation. Those who see the new technologies as tools which they may use to offer better service will be able to survive and thrive, perhaps more successfully than ever before. Better to embrace the new technologies and use them, lest they be used against you.
Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. ~ Sun Tzu
The difference between Apple and the rest is both simple and complex, but equally stark. The user experience is just better (applicable commercial here). Things “just work.” The brand loyalty, call it “blind faith” if you will, is utterly enviable. They differentiate themselves by providing innovative products, constantly evolving and improving and not following the crowd. Follow the crowd if you must, but Apple’s leadership and development is aspired to by all of their competitors. Good Realtors would do well to do the same. Call it aspiring to provide Raving Fan service; just offer the very best in your market. Simple.
(Thank you for the suspension of disbelief so that I could make a point.)