I have recently been thinking of purchasing a new MBP for my better half, and over the festive period went into the Regents Street store in London to buy one. I knew which model I required and went to a member of staff to purchase it. The assistant promptly said that it would be around a 20mins wait, so having other bits to get off I went. I returned around 90mins later. The same assistant took my name, and again said there would be a 20mins wait. After around 30mins another assistant was introduced to me, then once led over to one of the Imacs he promptly ordered it from stock. A further 10mins wait for a third assistant to finally give me my order! This maybe the way Apple operate in their stores but it led to many frustrated customers and a poor retail experience. Of course my experience may be a one off, as it was at a busy festive period. I would be interested to hear other peoples experiences. On a positive note the new MBP is fabulous.
About a month before Christmas I visited the Covent Garden Apple store, just looking! but during the course of my visit spoke to two of the numerous assistants, one of them on two separate occasions. I found them to be knowledgeable, courteous and most helpful. Very willing to show me items I was interested in as well as sell them to me. In spite of drooling over the 11inch MacBook Air and being favourably impressed by the usability of the screen in spite of its small size, I resisted but have added it to my birthday wish list!
In summary it was a very pleasant and useful experience and I was made to feel a valued customer without being in any way pressurised. Perhaps the experience in Regents Street was due to the Christmas rush.
I've only ever bought a few small off-the-shelf items in store (so just pick them up and go straight to the till) For anything big I take advantage of cashback arrangements from the online apple store using quidco. It's only 3% ... but 3% discount is 3% discount!
I think there are also a lot of 'browsers' who have no intention of a purchase and just want to surf the 'net!
I think this is a case of Apple being very clever. They have in effect a free internet café in the centre of the city. Students (mostly) who have never tried a Mac get unlimited time on one and get to see how they compare to PCs.
These people make the store feel full and popular and maybe even trendy. If you are interested in buying, a member of staff will politely ask one of them to leave the machine for a while whilst it is demonstrated to you.
A clever system that has served Apple well I think.
Another clever thing, I think, is the way they give "free" training sessions, children's holiday clubs etc. My daughter goes to the Summer Camp every year. It teaches her that Macs are the only computers - a lesson I hope lasts for life! - but also builds a sense of "brand loyalty" in me. And, of course, when I go to the store with her, I frequently end up buying something. I'm sorry theweddoes had such a bad experience. Seeing that her/ his location is listed as Greater Manchester, I would suggest trying the Manchester Arndale Centre. I've always found the staff courteous, helpful and efficient. Similarly a switching friend recently went to the Trafford Centre - which I've always boycotted, but came back raving about the helpfulness of the staff and clutching both an iPad and an iMac.
Btw - as M. le Chat says, welcome to the Forum. Let's hope we are quicker and more responsive than the staff at Regent's Street were!
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