Consumers have recently discovered that Apple has developed a software change that impacts the performance of iPhones. The software changes cause older iPhones to unexpectedly shutdown and significantly decrease the speed of the iPhones. Apple promises that the company has never intentionally slowed down its phones and, as an apology, is offering customers with the iPhone 6 or later to replace their batteries for $29 instead of the original price, $79.
Before this incident, Apple had a well-established brand and its customer value proposition was very clear. Customers knew that when they were buying from Apple, they were buying a reliable, high-quality product. Now, it is being questioned and Apple will have to work hard to fix that. For many, the customer experience has been spoiled. Apple has always centered itself around caring about the customer and the customer’s ability to develop their lifestyles around the iPhone. Customers will now question Apple’s loyalty and whether the company cares more about its profit than the customer experience.
Because we are in the customer relationship era, customers can be picky. They can get angry at a company if they feel they were wronged. They can switch to Android. To prevent that from happening, Apple must resell the image of the iPhone and the company itself. It must remind customers why they chose Apple in the first place. Apple is already beginning to do that.
The company is now taking a different approach than it usually takes and is adding safety features rather than style features. It is also promising increased parental controls in its next update to address the addiction of smartphones that is increasingly present among children. This strategy allows Apple to get involved in an issue that is bigger than itself. Usually, Apple’s new features give its consumers something they didn’t know they wanted. One example of this is Siri. This feature, however, provides a fix for an issue that many of its customers are already concerned about.
This strategy is a smart one. If Apple decided to come out with Virtual Reality instead, customers would see it as a cop-out. This is a great way for Apple to prove that it truly cares about its consumers, because the company is recognizing itself as part of the problem. It is also smart for Apple to target parents. Parents buy phones for their kids. If parents know that they can control their child’s phone usage through Apple, then they will buy their children iPhones. This child will grow up using an iPhone and will be more inclined to buy one when they are paying their own phone bill. This strategy is allowing Apple to create brand loyalty in a market that can’t even buy their product yet, and it is genius.