Apple’s iMac, introduced 25 years ago, featured a unique handle not for portability but to foster connection and approachability with technology.

In today’s post-pandemic landscape, with the challenges of staff shortages and a digital-first world, businesses need to reinvent customer service. Unbeknownst to us, Skyscape’s ‘Buzz Concierge’ mirrors the philosophy behind the iMac’s handle, ensuring that healthcare providers feel connected and understood. As we navigate this new age, it’s not just about addressing problems but fostering genuine, empathetic relationships with our customers. Just as Apple’s iMac transformed the customer relationship with tech, Skyscape is reimagining the healthcare customer service experience.

iMac Arrives

Twenty-five years ago, the world witnessed a revolution. Apple introduced the new iMacª — it wasn’t just another computer but an experience. Amidst the grayscale world of desktop computing, this machine burst onto the scene, splashed with audacious colors, almost defiant in their vibrancy.

But there was another feature, subtler yet profoundly insightful: a handle.

A handle? Yes. At a time when tech products were sterile and intimidating, this handle wasn’t merely functional; it was symbolic. It whispered an invitation, urging users to interact, engage, and ultimately embrace the future. This simple yet ingenious design choice transformed our relationship with technology and set the stage for the ethos of customer engagement we champion today.

You may wonder why I am discussing the iMac and its handle today. Before I get into that, let me talk about a pesky trend in today’s new age of post-pandemic world.

The Customer Service Conundrum in a Post-Pandemic World

The global pandemic has irrevocably transformed numerous facets of our daily lives, and the world of customer service has not been immune to its effects. Staff shortages are among the most pressing challenges emerging from this seismic shift. As businesses grapple with a diminished workforce for various reasons, from health concerns to changing work paradigms, the pressure on the remaining staff has intensified.

With fewer hands on deck, the expectations for those who remain have soared, leading to overburdened employees and, consequently, a compromise in the quality of service offered. The pandemic has ushered in an era where customer queries are more complex, patience runs thin, and the need for human connection and understanding is paramount. For many, ensuring consistent, high-quality customer service can seem like an uphill task in such an environment.

Moreover, the very nature of customer service inquiries has evolved. With the world going increasingly digital, there’s been a surge in tech-related queries, compounded by the fact that many consumers, forced to adapt to a digital-first lifestyle, are still navigating the steep learning curve of technology.

Against this backdrop, businesses encounter a conundrum: maintaining impeccable customer service standards while navigating the challenges thrown up by the post-pandemic world.

As many are discovering, the answer lies in innovation, adaptability, and a renewed emphasis on the human touch.

Revisiting the iMac’s Ingenious Handle

The handle, to some, might seem like an odd choice for a desktop computer. The product engineer was Jony Ive. According to him, the handle wasn’t about mobility but accessibility and connection. He recalls his rationale: “Back then, people weren’t comfortable with technology. If you’re scared of something, then you won’t touch it…so I thought, if there’s this handle on it, it makes a relationship possible. It’s approachable. It’s intuitive. It gives you permission to touch. It gives a sense of its deference to you.”

To Ive’s delight, Steve Jobs saw the handle and said, “That’s cool!” Jobs needed no further explanation.

Customer Service is Not an Afterthought

Whether Jony Ive created the handle intentionally to develop the ‘relationship with the computer’ or it just makes a great story, it is a valuable lesson about human connection and empathy, the two most important tenets of any business.

The illuminating book “Leading Loyalty: Cracking the Code to Customer Devotion” by Sandy Rogers et al. provides a roadmap to winning customer allegiance with exceptional clarity. At its heart, the blueprint to earning enduring loyalty revolves around a few fundamental principles that differentiate everyday businesses from truly outstanding ones.

The first principle is “Powered by People“. Every organization’s most potent asset is its people. It’s not just about the tools, technology, or branding – it’s about individuals who breathe life into the business’s vision and purpose.

Secondly, let’s explore the “Empathy and Genuine Human Connection”: When automated responses and digitized interactions are the norm, genuine human connections help understand and feel the customer’s emotions, needs, and aspirations.

Taking ownership and demonstrating “Responsibility and Follow-ups” are vital facets. It’s not merely about addressing an issue; it’s about ensuring its resolution and following up to affirm that the customer feels acknowledged and satisfied.

Lastly, unexpected gestures of goodwill and kindness often leave an indelible mark. Whether offering additional support, unexpected discounts, or simply going the extra mile, these acts of “Generosity” can turn a regular customer into a lifelong advocate.

By integrating these facets into their operations, organizations exceed expectations, delivering surprises with those cherished unexpected extras. It’s not just good business; it’s the art of cultivating unwavering loyalty.

By integrating these facets into their operations, organizations exceed expectations, delivering surprises with those cherished unexpected extras. It’s not just good business; it’s the art of cultivating unwavering loyalty.

Skyscape’s Concierge Approach

In 1998, many found technology daunting. Apple’s response to this challenge was a handle, not for carrying, but for connection.

In today’s fast-paced healthcare landscape, approachability and connection are paramount. We’ve all heard the stories of endless hold times and impersonal interactions. Skyscape’s ‘Concierge Approach‘ seeks to transcend this narrative. Though not directly inspired by the iMac’s handle, the parallels are striking. Just as the handle invited users to connect without fear, our approach assures healthcare providers that they have a genuine partner in us.

The stakes are high in healthcare. Our customers aren’t just dealing with queries or complaints; they’re dealing with patients’ lives. By empowering healthcare providers with timely, empathetic, and practical support, we are indirectly touching the lives of countless patients. It’s not just about problem-solving; it’s about patient care, our most profound value.

In a recently conducted interview with Dr Cleamon Moorer and a subsequent case study with American Advantage Home Care (AAHC), here is what he had to say about the Concierge service,

I’m spoiled. I could have an issue, and with others, you got to get on a calendar. Rarely it is on the same day. But these guys? They buzz in real time. They’re right there, always. Every single time.

“Real-time support, every time. Discovering the Skyscape difference.”

In the true spirit of establishing value of one’s business, you’d want your customers to love you as exemplified by, “You need a partner that’s going to relate to you and relate to your business needs…when you look at an invoice and say, Hey, I got value for this, I can’t wait to mail this one in, I can’t wait to log in to pay this one. That’s value.

Beyond the Handle: Crafting Authentic Digital Relationships

Just as the iMac’s handle signified approachability and transformation, Skyscape’s concierge approach is our handle to the healthcare providers, ensuring they are always connected, supported, and appreciated.

While most businesses may not consider the cost of such initiatives as a worthy investment, they might be shortsighted about the value or benefits. The recessed handle that costs a lot to manufacture did not deter Apple from attempting to turn iMac friendly and playful. Similarly, Skyscape allocates its precious resources to ensure excellent customer service through the concierge approach. This philosophy, rooted in empathy and understanding, is the cornerstone of Skyscape’s customer service ethos.


ª A trivia: Incidentally, the iMac, introduced in 1998, was the first product in Apple’s history that had the prefix “i” in a successive series of products & services such as iPod, iPhone, iPad, iCloud, iMessage, etc. Forgive the iDigression!