Management Feedback:  Apple Listens

 

I’ve written before that feedback into your systems is critical to ensure development and improvement.  Last week I participated again in a feedback loop that I find both amazing in its usage and the perfect example of how to use this critical communication tool.  I’ve been asked to do what Apple calls “Reverse Briefings” for Apple a couple of times, and each time I do them I am surprised how well vetted they are and incredibly useful.

In short, Apple reaches out to some of their clients at regional stores and asks them to come onsite and brief their employees on how Apple can help us better.  They want us to convey a deeper dive into what our business is, how we operate, what our goals are and how we utilize Apple products to achieve those goals.  These briefings are done before the store opens and involves most of the sales staff and management in that regional area.

First, this is an amazing outreach campaign from Apple, so many companies get large and tend to forget about their customers.  Exposing management and sales teams to the core local companies that you service while conducting busy, successful operations can be daunting.  Apple’s carving out of the time to do just that shows that you can be smart about knowing your clients while growing to a global leader in computing.

Secondly, Apple’s usage of that data does not just stop with helping those that perform the briefings.  After each event Apple spent the next couple of days talking up our company to anyone that comes through their doors and seems like a good fit.  Given the number of people that come into an Apple store daily and enlisting their usually upbeat employees as pitch personnel could have amazing long term value.

Lastly, this briefing gives me an advanced look at some of the Apple services that could assist my company.  Over my last two events at the store I have found two Apple offerings that have helped me decide a new mobile management strategy and how we can get outside help from Apple employees.

The lessons to learn from these events are numerous, namely:

  • Don’t become too big to care about your daily walk in traffic. If your competition cares more your working from behind
  • Involve sales and management from your local vendors when possible to help you succeed
  • Getting good word of mouth from a dedicated sales team that sees a lot of customers has enormous value
  • Get a look behind the curtain at your vendors whenever possible, finding ways to work better together or perhaps places where things have fallen apart always improves your ROI (time or money)
  • Building relationships with vendors is always a good idea, in both small and large ways

If you have had a similar experience with any company, or the opposite, I would love to hear from you.  Write me back and as always:  Hire good people, empower them to be the best they can be, and spend your time clearing the way for them.