For its products, for its service, for the customer experience it delivers, Apple and its retail stores have been the subject of countless case studies, articles and blog posts. This is the first in a series about how financial service organizations can emulate all the best features of the Apple corporation. Today I’ll be discussing client service and relationship management, and in future we will explore the topics of product offerings, presentation/packaging and building systems that enable your employees to deliver the highest quality service possible.

Earlier this year, Vocalabs released the results of a survey of more than 2,300 customer comments and complaints related to Dell, HP, AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Bank of America, Chase, Citi and Apple. The maker of the revolutionary iPhone and iPad beat all the other consumer-facing companies, with just 0.44 percent of respondents saying that they were considering bringing their business elsewhere. Apple was also on the low end when it came to complaints about rude behavior and language barriers.

At first glance, it may seem facetious to compare an independent financial services organization to a multinational electronics giant, but there are ways to emulate Apple that can differentiate your business from the competition. Think about the most positive experience you have had as a customer, and then reflect on what you do to make your clients feel that same satisfaction. What did the company do to make you feel special? Was it the smile of the client service representative? The ease with which you were able to make a change to an account or reservation? The feeling that your question, concern or request was taken seriously by the business? Even if you are not an Apple customer yourself, chances are you know someone who is a dedicated fan of the company’s products and mission.

It does not cost much to deliver high quality client service. The larger challenge is being aware of how you and your employees present yourselves to clients and what you do to make every interaction as pleasant and easy as possible. If clients call you with a concern about their accounts, do you listen, present a solution and then follow through with that? Are you patient and friendly?

Build an emotional connection with your clients, not just a business partnership. Benefits from this effort expand beyond client relationship management to sales, marketing and entrepreneurship. When you have satisfied clients, they are more likely to continue working with your organization and to recommend your services to friends and acquaintances.