People love going into an Apple Store. Even though these retail stores are in almost every major North American city, people still make a point of visiting them when they travel to other states/provinces.

Not only are people visiting the Apple Store, they are doing crazy things inside Apple retail locations. People record themselves dancing and post videos to YouTube, people make marriage proposals, and one comedian even brought a goat into an Apple Store!

Why do people do such things? Why do so many individuals love spending time in the Apple Store?

Because Apple trains their employees to follow five steps of service. Starting from the moment an individual walks through the door, Apple employees are expected to go above and beyond. These steps not only help to enhance the customer experience, but create an amazing environment for everyone involved.

A-P-P-L-E: A Guide To Consumer Satisfaction

A – Approach each and every customer with a personalized, sincere welcome. Every customer should be greeted by a friendly, passionate and committed employee. How a customer feels towards their buying experience begins within the first ten seconds of an interaction, so make sure your front line employees make the most of their introduction.

P – Probe (in a polite manner) so to understand all of the customer’s needs. What does this mean? Employees should simply ask a series of question in order to match the customer with the best product/service. For a non-profit example, a closed-ended question elicits a simple yes or no such as, “Will this be your first donation to the X fund?” An open-ended question is more general and gives the employee more information to guide the conversation. For example, “What is it about human rights that are you most passionate?”

P – Present a solution for the consumer to take home today. Apple likes to remind its front line employees that they are not in the business of selling computers, but rather in the business of ‘enriching lives.’ With this slogan, Apple employees create a confortable customer experience and, in turn, build loyalty. For non-profits, this might mean presenting a simple donation experience that matches the change that the potential donor is hoping to make. Really listening is the key to being able to present the right solution.

L – Listen closely for any concerns and resolve any issues. We have two ears and one mouth for a reason! Customers can sometimes have “unexpressed wishes” or “unexpressed concerns”. Apple employees are trained to seek out and understand these concerns during the ‘probing’ step. By identifying these nuances/concerns/wishes, your staff will better be able to communicate with and engage potential donors.

E – End with a positive goodbye and an invitation to return. How a person feels when leave a store or ending a transaction stays with them; the last note of an interaction always rings loudest in a consumer’s mind. How a consumer feels when he or she is done engaging with a company or organization significantly impacts how he or she perceives the brand and whether he or she is likely to return to/recommend.

Who is the team in your organization that meets with donors face to face or takes donations over the phone? These seem simple, but they are all great reminders for them of how to provide exceptional “customer” service to your donors.