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Apple Retail: Second to None.
Apple Retail Store
Member Name: stuntpilotx
Apple Retail Store
Advantages: Great service, lots of support, well laid out, extra services
Disadvantages: Can get really busy on weekends.
I've used the Apple retail store on a number of occasions for a number of different purposes, and the high level of customer service that Apple deliver has never been anything but exceptionally good.
Every Apple retail store has a uniform feel, they're all pretty much one and the same, but I feel that this adds to the experience as you always know exactly what you are going to get. The staff are always visible in their bright blue t-shirts (these change seasonally), all members of staff are approachable and the product knowledge of the staff is second to none. For example, if you express interest in any product, the staff will be happy to give you a full demonstration, making note of what you wish to use the product for, and tailoring the demonstration to your needs. They're also happy to explain add-ons such as Applecare and so forth but are not pushy in forcing you to purchase them.
All products are highly visible in store. The computers, iPods, Iphones and a variety of other products are laid out on large tables around the store in order to allow customers to try before they buy. All of the products are fully functional to allow the customer to have a full trial before making the decision to purchase. This is something that PC World and many other computer stores don't allow you to do. Furthermore, there is a dedicated area in each store for software purchases and accessories so everything is easy to locate.
Making purchases in the Apple store is a smooth process. Your customer service adviser will put your order through the computer, and take the payment on their portable machine (or take you to one of the cash-sale points in store), while a runner will bring the product to you, ready to go. If you pay by card, there is the option to have the receipt e-mailed to you to save paper, which is a great idea! Overall, the transactions are smooth and quick, and all of the information such as your product serial numbers are scanned into the portable machine to save time.
The Apple store however, does not just offer the opportunity to purchase items. All Apple stores offer the 'genius bar' service. The 'genius bar' is an appointment-only service where you can take your Apple products to be fixed by one of their technical support specialists. The geniuses will assess the problem and do their best to fix it as soon as they possibly can. And for those whose product is still under warranty or who have applecare this service is totally free. It can be hard to get a weekend appointment, but early appointments tend to be the most available on weekends. Furthermore, most Apple stores now offer classes for those who are new to Apple products in order to help them learn to use the products to their full potential. There is a price for these classes, however the general consensus appears to be that they are exceptionally helpful.
Overall, the Apple retail store is a great customer experience, which is to be expected due to the high quality products that are available in store. The services offered are second to none and for anybody wishing to purchase an Apple product I highly recommend buying in store for the maximum support and guidance in making the correct purchase.
Summary: The best customer service around.
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