My Trip to the Apple Store

My Poor, Cracked iPhoneA few weeks ago, I dropped my iPhone and cracked the screen (see accompanying picture of my poor iPhone).

I don’t use a smartphone case (I know, I know), but I also haven’t dropped my phone in 8 years. So I was bummed.

Oh well – time to visit the Apple Store! I found out that they’ll replace your broken iPhone screen (for $109+tax). That was cheaper than other smartphone-fix-it places in town, so I decided to go for it (after pieces of screen started flaking off in my pocket).

Here’s what happened during my trip to the Apple Store.

First, finding information on Apple’s website about the repair process was really easy to do. At Apple’s website, you simply click Support, then iPhone, then Repair. Then choose the huge button that says “Screen Damage” (guess I’m not the only one who drops their phone).

I love what this page says: “Accidents happen. Sometimes a screen can get cracked or shattered. We’re here to help.”

After that, I was able to choose Make an Appointment. The only bad thing about that is that there are no Apple Stores in Topeka, KS. So I drove about an hour to the Kansas City area, and visited the Leawood, KS store.

Interrupting my own story for a sec. So far, my “visit” has been online, and it has been excellent. No clicking around, no confused hunting for stuff. Nothing worded weird or lingo-y. Everything made sense, and I was quickly able to follow the trail to my “destination” – the “Make an Appointment” page.

And they reassured me about dropping my phone by saying “accidents happen … we’re here to help.”

OK – back to the story. The in-store experience was just as good.

When I was about 5 feet from the store entrance, I received a notification (see the image) welcoming me to the store, reminding me about my Genius Bar reservation, and telling me what to do next (check in).

Remember my articles awhile back about iBeacon technology? Apple Stores use it, so I was able to see it in action.

On the other side of the door was an Apple Store employee, ready to greet me and help me figure out what to do next (i.e., check in). Once checked in, I browsed around the store for awhile … and then another Apple Store employee was able to find me (via my iPhone – iBeacons in use again).

She walked me through the process, took my phone …. and told me it would be a 2 hour wait (it was a really busy Saturday at the Apple Store!). So I goofed off at a nearby Guitar Center for awhile (and played a sweet bass guitar), then went back to the Apple Store.

My phone was ready, so yet another Apple Store employee brought my iPhone out to me, made sure it worked fine, and then helped me pay, right where I was. I didn’t have to go stand in a line.

My iPhone is back to normal. Yay!

Here’s what I noticed. At the Apple Store, the experience was built around me:

  • I received a reminder about my appointment right at the door.
  • I was greeted by a friendly Apple Store employee.
  • Apple Store staff were easy to find, because they all wore matching blue shirts.
  • I could browse around the store until they were ready, and then they found me.
  • When it was time to pay, I paid right where I was. I didn’t have to stand in a line or go up to a check out counter.
  • The website provided a similar experience – it was designed to move me to the information I needed, when I needed it.
  • And of course, they did pretty much everything using an iPad. Without an attached keyboard.

I think libraries should be more like this! Think through my story, and compare it to your library:

  • Are your customers greeted at the door?
  • Are your staff easy to find, or do they blend in?
  • Do staff approach customers, or do customers have to approach staff and a desk to get help?
  • When ready to check out, can customers do it anywhere, or do they have to stand in a line or approach a desk?
  • How about your website? Is it designed to move customers to the right place at the right time, with the best information? Or is it more of a jumbled mess of information and services?

No, I’m not necessarily suggesting that libraries buy matching shirts for everyone. But I DO think we can learn a thing or two from the Apple Store. And I think we can make our in-library and on-the-website experiences better than they are now.

Serving People Who are Different Than You

Crafting the Customer Experience for People Not Like YouI just read the book Crafting the Customer Experience For People Not Like You: How to Delight and Engage the Customers Your Competitors Don’t Understand, by Kelly McDonald (that is one long title!).

I read it around the same time I attended ALA’s annual conference in San Francisco. There was a lot of discussion about diversity, as there always is at a library conference. Which is awesome.

When we talk about diversity at one of those events, usually “diversity” means minorities, gender, and sexual preference.

This book had a slightly different take on that. Kelly says this (on page 7): “I define diversity as “any way that I can be different from you.” For example, if you have kids and I don’t, we’re likely to have different priorities and face different pressures. Your entire focus shifts when you become a parent, because it has to. Parents think about and evaluate everything differently from people who aren’t parents. But that difference has nothing to do with race, ethnicity, age, or even gender; it simply has to do with whether or not you have children.”

Then Kelly goes on to talk about the customer experience, both physically and online (primarily through social media), and discusses serving “people not like you.” She includes generational differences, women and families, Hispanics/Latinos, different racial and ethnic communities, and GLBT customers.

I really appreciated this slightly tweaked explanation of diversity, since I’m usually the white married dude sitting in a large sea of women talking about creating a more diverse workforce in libraries. Just sayin :-)

So – interesting book. Give it a spin!

Make your Website UX ROCK

I recently spoke at the New England Library Association’s ITS Spring Event in Portsmouth, NH. Fun day, cool people!

I spoke about library website UX, and provided some tips on making library websites easier to use. They made a video of my talk – here it is!

Here’s another talk from that day. This panel includes two case studies of library website redesign projects, from Andrea Bunker and Sarah Leonardi. They have different perspectives – so watch this one too!

Enjoy!

Mobile-only Use Overtakes Desktop-only Use

I’m still at Computers in Libraries 2015 – great conference as usual!

I also just saw this from Gary Price on InfoDocket, and thought it was worth sharing.

In the US, the number of mobile-only internet users now exceeds the number of desktop-only internet users.

Here’s what ComScore says about this: “While the share of mobile-only users has climbed over the past year to 11.3 percent, the desktop-only population has drastically declined to just 10.6 percent. Of course these numbers also tell us that the vast majority of the digital population (78 percent) is multi-platform and goes online using both desktop and mobile platforms.”

What’s this mean? More of our us are carrying the internet around in our pockets, bags, and hands. We’re in front of small screens more often than we are in front of a desktop computer, which makes sense.

It also means that we need to make absolutely certain that our library and organization websites work on mobile devices. Having a great mobile-friendly website is more important than having it work fine on a desktop computer. Why? Because our customers are in front of the small screen more often, and have access to a small screen more often, than desktop or laptop computers.

For many things, it’s simply more convenient to pick up a smartphone to quickly check something. Not always the most optimal – but it is generally more convenient.

So – how’s your website’s mobile experience? Not too hot? If not, then … it’s time to start working on it!

Photo of my iPhone taken by me

Non-Retail Uses for iBeacons

Airfy - home use of iBeacon TechnologyIn my last post, I explained what iBeacons are and a bit about what they do, especially in retail stores. There are some pretty cool non-retail uses of iBeacon technology, too.

Here are some examples:

  • CES: At CES, if you had the CES app installed, you could play a scavenger hunt and win a prize
  • Education: Teachers are using them to automatically take attendance. The iBeacons recognize when a student has entered the classroom
  • Museums: Hanging around a painting? iBeacons could send you more information about the painting and the artist
  • Hotels: automated check-in and check-out
  • SXSW: install the SXSW Go app, and you’ll be connected to over 1000 ibeacons. The beacons will tell you what’s happening nearby (if you’ve ever been to SXSW, you’ll know that is important!), and who else has arrived.
  • Disney World: Disney has created an iBeacon-compatible wristband that acts as a room key for their hotel room, pays for stuff in the park, acts as a park pass, gets you into the fast lane, and helps collect photos.

In my next post, I’ll talk about using iBeacons in a library setting.

Pic by iotlist