virgin bites apple

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I’ve loitered outside Apple stores. I’ve sniggered at the long queues waiting for the store to open, or inside at the back tables. A long time ago I went inside one and photographed the layout. I’d never been in to use one for it’s intended purpose. Until now.

Does this look like a pleasant place to be?  It wasn’t.

Rosedale center Apple storeI strode down the wide mouth of the open fronted Rosedale Apple store, straight towards the watch display. I don’t like shopping, my goal was try one on my wrist, try out the interactions, buy (or not) and leave.  The back of the store was full of people

At first I couldn’t tell who was staff or shopper. I stood alone by the watch stand with my head up looking around for help.  After what seemed like ages I realised that all the store staff had headphones on and were in almost constant communication with each other. I tried to catch the eye of several staff members. They were all too busy to notice me. Very frustrating. I nearly left

I overheard one staff talk to another about a “greeter”. I looked towards the door where a lone member of staff was saying hello and introducing himself to people as the entered.

He had failed to greet me.

Maybe I need to be officially greeted before I exist as a customer in a virtual queue. I walked up to him and waited while he greeted several other people before acknowledging me. By this time I was angry. I stayed calm while he asked me my name, and worked out why I was there. I mentioned my long wait and he politely apologised, saying his colleague (name 1) would be over to help me in a few minutes

In all, 4 more staff introduced themselves to me, confirmed they knew I was interested in a watch, told me their colleague, name-2 ( then name-3, name-4, name-5) would be along soon to help me.  Each time I was picked-up, my eager anticipation of doing my shopping and getting out, quickly, rose. Each time they told me another colleague would be along to help me soon, my anger levels rose, exponentially. I nearly walked out a couple of times. I considered throwing myself on the floor and having a tantrum in the style of a toddler.

Well done Apple for balancing understaffing with ‘just-in-time’ contact

By the time someone could actually get a watch out of the case so that I could try it on, I was not in the mood to be nice. I just wanted my questions answered and to get out. I opened by telling her I wasn’t a fan of Apple, I’d been waiting over 30 mins and I just wanted a functional walk through. The shop assistant, obviously found this difficult, she tried very hard to deliver her well trained sales pitch.

No, I wasn’t interested in the exercise App, nor the representations of the globe…

  • does it fit?
  • How do I load and update Apps?
  • How do I customise the display?
  • What does each button do?
  • How do I take a screenshot

To her credit she did very well, clearly trained for dealing with ancy clientele. After I’d paid for the brick she took me to some sort of troubleshooting table where one member of staff stood surrounded by about 5 standing clientele, users. We had a few problems because of some of my default (corporate) phone settings… once we’d restarted the phone and watch about half a dozen times we’d sorted it. Definitely quicker than my trying to do that at home, and cheaper for Apple than supporting multiple phone calls trying to troubleshoot a very visual experience. I appreciated being able to walk out of the store with a working watch… ready to play with…

  • Having someone there while I set-up the watch was a big bonus, because clearly the set-up has not been made easy.
  • Having very polite staff repetitively ignore me, then pass me around like a parcel was very annoying. I’ve never experienced anything that bad outside of an NHS appointment.
virgin bites apple
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