Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Let's talk

We have become more social than ever, in a digital speaking way. On average we spent around 120 minutes per day on social media. Facebook and Instagram are the favourite platforms, but are we social? Countless articles speak about the real problem about social media, and how, far from connecting people, these platforms promote psychological states of distress, anxiety and depression. We tend to show rather than the real lives we have, the ones we aspire or desire, or also feeling frustration seeing the ‘success’ that our peers accomplish in life by judging the pics they post on their social profiles. But the truth is that just a few people speak openly about real emotions or how we feel, or even worse many people do not face the fact that there is an emotional problem that needs to be addressed.

Last Friday I went to Regent Park, with the specific purpose to visit the exhibition ‘Let’s Talk’, a photography project campaign that aims to open the conversation about mental health. The idea was to put literally in words the most dreadful thoughts of people in their faces. The photographed people are persons who have passed mental health difficulties. Charlie Clift, the photographer, worked with the people who volunteered for this project. He interviewed them and selected the words that best described their feelings. Lettering artist, Kate Forrester, has the assignment to transfer these sentiments in their bodies. She spent at least two hours of hand-lettering these words onto the people’s faces. Then Charlie photographed them in a session full of openness and conversation about the struggles of life, their passions and hopes.

The result is a series of beautiful and honest big format portraits photography. The exhibition looks to inspire other people to talk openly about mental health. It now has become an itinerary exhibition that travels around different areas of London spreading awareness, encouraging people to speak out and to get help.

The project contemplates all the aspects that make it a successful campaign. The exhibition in Regent park consisted of a group of big format panels of photography allocated in a way that people would transit around the installation. A video production that records the process of painting the volunteer’s faces and their opinions about mental health perpetuates in the website specially created for the campaign.

The successful campaign is the result of a collaboration between the two artists and the support of Mental Health UK which is taking the exhibition to different open spaces where more people will be able to appreciate this work.

Reference list:


Friday, December 7, 2018

A tale of the cracked laptop screen

A couple of days ago, when arriving at my apartment, I took my MacBook Pro out of my bag only to discover that the screen got broken. Cause: a stuck pen between the screen and the keyboard. Level of damage: very high, level of desperation: even higher.

The next morning, I approached the nearest Apple store to my place. GPS coordinates dictated: Apple Store Covent Garden.

I have been many times in an Apple Store before, but every new Apple store is always like the first time. The recently renovated store combines the modern style of Apple (spiral glass staircases, brown leather upholstered benches, giant television screens) with the classic architectural 19th-century building features, the exposed brick and the archways.

But probably what it takes to live the Apple experience is its customer service approach. There is no doubt Apple has mastered this formula, they not only sell their products but engage with its customers with very effective communication, building relationships and delivering the experience.

When arriving in the store ‘an Apple expert’ immediately approach to me with a warm welcome and a smile. I explained the problem and the ‘expert’ told me to way for five minutes, and after that, the same person took me to the third level where they will be receiving my laptop for examination. The process was quite simple, they examined the device carefully and then explained process of repairing, possible risks, timing and cost. Also, they listen to every question I made and respond in a clear, easy way.  Before you agree to the service, they make sure you understand and are comfortable with all the process. My laptop would be ready in the time-lapse of 4 days: ‘but maybe you might receive a call sooner’ the expert explained.

The next day I received an email from Apple, my laptop was ready to collect. Five minutes later, I received a call from Jack, (the Apple expert) giving me similar news. An hour later Jack received me in the store and invited me to take a seat and wait in the store’s central atrium and enjoy a music performance happening at that moment while he brings the laptop.

Carmine Gallo, the writer contributor of Forbes, describes Apple’s Customer Service formula as follows:

A: Approach customers with a personalised, warm welcome
P: Probe politely to understand the customer’s needs
P: Present a solution for the customer to take home today
L: Listen for and resolve issues or concerns
E: End with a fond farewell and an invitation to return

Apple certainly trains its employees on how to engage and to make feeling special to each of their customers, by delivering a unique and personalised experience. The communication is not based on what they want to sell but on building relationships with the customers and meeting their needs and desires, making the whole process and enjoyable experience.

Reference list:
How the Apple Store Creates Irresistible Customer Experiences