WRIT 340 – Section 66748
20 November 2013
A Case Study in External Communication
On June 25, 2010 Apple released the iPhone 4. With its sleek, new, stainless steel frame design, thousands of people rushed to buy Apple’s latest gadget. Apple and its partner carriers received 600,000 pre-orders for the iPhone 4s in the first 24 hours, making it the largest number of pre-orders Apple had received in a single day for any device up to that time. By the end of the month, Apple had sold over 1.7 million iPhone 4s’.
Not long after the release, customers began to report antenna issues with the phone. They said that if they touched ...view middle of the document...
Instead of taking responsibility for the phones poor design, they tried washing their hands by saying “antenna problems were common and simply a ‘fact of life.’” First of all, this was clearly a problem that was unique to the iPhone 4s, making it an untrue statement. Secondly, Apple should not have ignored the problem the way they did.
By communicating to their consumers that they were essentially going to do nothing about the problem, they risked losing existing customers and future potential customers, alike. Furthermore, upon being given a second opportunity to address the issue with the public at a press conference, Apple failed, once again, to please their customers. Rather than stating that they would do their best to find a solution to the problem or replace the problematic phones, they tried relieving themselves of any blame by saying, “We’re not perfect. Phones are not perfect. We all know that. But we want to make our users happy.” Not providing their customers with a clear-cut answer or solution was not the way to go about making them happy.
By ignoring the problem and using poor tactics to communicate the issue to its users, Apple was risking losing a lot of money. The first thing the company would lose is its credibility. Apple has worked so hard to build a strong reputation of having some of the best technologies and designs within its industry. It would be a shame if the company threw all of that away, because of some poor external communication issue. Furthermore, unsatisfied iPhone 4s users were very likely switch to a different phone and let their family and friends know about the poor quality of the iPhone. This could have led to a great loss of the market share for Apple.
Public Uses Some Humor to Mock Antenna Problem:
The visuals below show some of the consumers’ and other companies’ reaction to the antenna problem situation. Visuals 1 and 2 are simply a humorous take on the iPhone 4s’ poor antenna location. Visual 3 is actually another company’s ingenuity in providing iPhone 4s users with a solution for their faulty phones. Intentional or not, though, the concept of having to buy a bumper for a so-called “state of the art” phone is still somewhat comical.
Visual 1 Visual 2
Some of the main stakeholders in this case include shareholders, Apple employees, and the iPhone 4s buyers. The biggest stakeholders in this case are the shareholders. If Apple lost its credibility and part of its market share because of its approach to the external communication issue, their shareholders would take the biggest hit. Naturally, if Apple lost customers, the company would lose money and market share, and shareholders would lose value in their stock.
Apple employees are also part of the stakeholders in this situation, because they are the ones who have to deal directly with the unsatisfied customers. Apple heightened their customers’ dissatisfaction with their...