Any business should strive to be more customer-centric because only an excellent previous service experience is a sufficient foundation for a customer to return to that vendor. In other words, if a business is genuinely interested in increasing customer engagement — which translates into more sustainable niche market positioning, higher profits, and a competitive edge — a better service experience is a priority. However, this is not always the case: I describe and evaluate my service experience when ordering products on Apple’s website in this mini-essay.
The difference between the perceived service and the experience of receiving it forms the phenomenon of service failure, in which the customer may be unsatisfied until the end. I ordered an iPhone 13 Pro from Apple’s online store because I liked its features and, most importantly, the sky-blue color. It is one of my favorite colors, so I pre-ordered it right after the September presentation. When I received the product by courier delivery and looked at this phone, it did not meet my expectations as the actual color was different from what I saw on the screen. According to the service gap model, my problem is entirely covered by the perception gap and the knowledge gap. I did not have enough time to visit the store, and the visuals of the product on the website probably did not authentically reflect the phone’s color scheme. This is an essential metric for me as a consumer, and I do not want to put up with the difference I found between the product being sold and the one presented on the website. In either case, such a scenario resulted in a service failure that somewhat diminished my sympathy for Apple, although I have never been hostile to it. In this case, the gap problem was justified because I did not have a chance to get to know the phone in person before buying it online. This is one of the major limiting factors that companies need to consider retaining an audience and working to improve the customer experience.