2002: As more people switch over to the Mac, Apple will have to be more diligent and responsive to consumer needs. This is would appear to be self-evident. If there are more consumers, there are more people to get annoyed with your products or what might be perceived as corporate arrogance.
Apple is surely familiar with this idea. After all, it’s desire to control the computer market led to its spectacular downfall.
Users want what?
The new switchers have less incentive put up with problems from Apple than the old guard. Years of Apple’s corporate shenanigans and general disregard for its user’s concerns has dulled some of the anger that would normally appear when a product is inadequate, overpriced, or just plain bad.
This is not new. In the software industry, people are resigned to their fate and believe that the darn computer just doesn’t work, wasn’t meant to work, and never will work. For example, in the last two weeks, I’ve had to troubleshoot five Windows machines – two for Internet connectivity problems, one for a scanner issue, and one for a hard drive failure. These types of problems are considered normal for Windows users.
Enter Apple and the Switch campaign. Apple has built itself up to be better than the competition. Better by a long shot.
I personally believe that this is true.
However, switchers are moving from a bad experience and expecting something a whole lot better. This will definitely reduce their tolerance of glitches and general computer issues.
The .mac problem that plagued Apple last weekend is a prime example of this. Users are paying a premium for the service and receiving sub-par performance and reliability. In addition to this, Apple has more or less distanced itself from the problem. Does this remind anyone of a certain software company (besides Apple, that is)?
While long-time Mac users more or less swallow the bitter pill after an initial protest (.mac subscription prices anyone?); switchers may not. After all, the reason they went with Apple was to escape corporate arrogance and computer problems.
Switchers also differ from the traditional Mac user in that they are willing to switch. Many Mac fans have the attitude that their fingers must be cold and dead before you can take their Mac from them. While not nearly as zealous as that, switchers may have given up a lot to join the Mac crowd. They were willing to restart their computing experience from scratch.
After successfully switching, the fear of switching may disappear, making switchers more susceptible to switching back.
In other words, Apple must work harder to hold on to the switchers. To do so, they must focus on customer needs more than ever before.
And that means that, if Apple plays its cards right, all Mac users will get better service in the long run.