Whether you like Apple or not, there is no doubt in my mind that they are extremely customer-focused at their stores. Yes, the cynic in me says that they can afford to be given the money the technology giant has amassed. But I have to hand it to them for fantastic customer service when you visit one of their shops. As a blind person, this is incredibly important to me. If a sales staff member is happy to spend time with me, answers all my questions, and makes me feel I am the most important person who has walked through the door, then that is worth a swipe of my credit card any day.
There is also something really nice about walking into one of their stores and purchasing something rather than buying it online. Whether it is the hubbub of noise around the place, or the excitement of buying a new tech toy and walking out with it in a carrier-bag, I’m not sure. Whatever the thrill, a friend of mine went with me to the Belfast Apple Store on Friday 24th July, and I loved it!
For a start, the gentleman who served me couldn’t have been nicer and more helpful. Secondly, he went and found a stool for me to sit on throughout the visit as I just cannot stand around for long because of my back problems. When someone makes that kind of effort for me, I can assure you it is much appreciated.
As usual, the place was heaving with people on both floors. But this didn’t seem to bother the nice gentleman who looked after me. I wanted some hands-on with an Apple Watch, and he brought over a tray of dummy versions to let me feel. While I didn’t buy one, and made it clear I just wanted to get an idea of size and how it worked, this didn’t seem to bother the salesman. After that, we moved onto the new iPod Touch and Beats headphones. I spent quite a long time listening to a pair of Beats Solo2 on-ear headphones, I was in my element!
My guide dog Bumble was with me, so the friend I was with took her for a walk while I played with all the Apple tech.
It was a shopping experience I loved, thanks largely to Apple’s customer care. And of course there was the fantastic shiny packaging to dismantle when I got home. Yes, I bought a pair of Beats headphones!
If you have always wanted to visit an Apple Store, but wondered what sort of reception you would receive, my advice is to try it. They will always turn on VoiceOver for you, or find a colleague who is more clued up on the screenreader. Staff are really helpful, and will do their best to answer your questions and let you have hands-on with their products. Even when I don’t want to buy, I still love the Apple Store experience.