Just last week, a man in India was saved by his Apple Watch. Sounds a bit dramatic, but it's true: Nitesh Chopra, only 34, was feeling a bit off. So, his wife, Neha, asked him to take the ECG on his Apple Watch. When irregularities appeared, he was rushed to the hospital where doctors found 99.9 percent blockage in his arteries. Thanks to the forewarning, they were able to place a stent in his heart and avoid a devastating -- possibly deadly -- heart attack.
That would be a touching story on its own. What followed, however, is the perfect example of how EQ should underscore business leadership. Shortly after her husband's recovery, Neha wrote to Tim Cook, letting him know it was the Apple Watch that has alerted the couple to problems -- and likely saved her husband's life.
Much to her surprise, Tim Cook wrote back. What he said was a brilliant example of empathy and genuine concern:
I'm so glad you sought medical attention and received the treatment you needed. Thanks for sharing your story with us.
Short, but powerful. There are several things that stand out here.
First, Cook responded. How often does a CEO take time to respond to a customer? Seldom. Granted, this was a significant life event impacted by one of Apple's products, but it still unusual -- and a standout moment for a loyal customer.
Second, he didn't mention Apple or his products at all. This wasn't about the product -- it was about saving someone's life. That's what mattered, and Cook knew it. Responding with this as the core of his message is telling: It reveals the vision that Cook has so often trumpeted -- that Apple is committed to improving the health and wellbeing of people all over the world.
Third, Cook shows gratitude for the sharing of a very personal story. Someone almost had a heart attack. They're sharing information about poor health. These are sensitive, vulnerable topics -- which most people are unlikely to share. Cook didn't handle this flippantly, but instead, thanked Neha for trusting him enough to share.
Some may call Cook's response calculated. But that, I believe, is cynical. Instead, let's look at this as a model for what other CEOs should do: Live by your "why," by your vision, by your mission, and let it drive everything you do -- including engagement with individual customers. If this isn't at your core, how do you every hope to win hearts and minds with your products?