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Mystery Shopper: Charlton and Crayford

Laura Barnes
Mystery Shopper: Charlton and Crayford

We sent our Mystery Shopper to Charlton and Crayford in search of a handsfree headset to use while driving. Here’s how they got on.

MAPLIN 7/10

The staff acknowledged me instantly as I walked through the door. One asked if I needed help and after explaining that I was looking for a good quality handsfree set, he directed to me to the headset section of the store.

The assistant recommended the Sennheiser MM30i, priced at £39.99, and explained that the brand was the second best-selling for earphones, and offered a good sound when calling people as well as being ideal for music. The assistant’s product knowledge was very good and he was enthusiastic about the headset. He answered my questions very well, which made me feel confident in the product.

What stood out in this visit is that the assistant asked different questions as to what I would use the headset for, such as phone calls and music.

He suggested going for a wired headset that connects to the jack port on my phone, saying it will always give a better sound quality than Bluetooth headsets. After a brief overall view of how well the Sennheiser brand is doing, the assistant explained that he recommend this headset because he was fond of them himself.

Although the assistant was knowledgeable about the Sennheiser headset, he did not offer any other products to look at, which was a bit disappointing.

CURRYS 8/10

On entrance to the store I was acknowledged by the manager who asked how he could help.

After explaining that I was looking for a good quality headset, he asked me to hold on whilst he got a staff member who could go through the range.

The store staff that was sent to me was really friendly and directed me to the headset section. He asked me whether it was only for phone calls and if I minded wires or would prefer wireless.

He recommended the Jabra BT2010 Bluetooth Headset and explained that this was their best selling Bluetooth headset in the store and has good sound quality and fantastic battery life. He said charging it for two hours will last you about a week, and mentioned that you can play music off your phone into the headset through Bluetooth.

The price of the Jabra BT2010 Bluetooth headset was £29.99 and it was only available in black. The assistant did not offer any other products to look at.

What stood out in this visit is that the staff member asked a variety of questions and seemed interested in finding the best possible product for my needs.

The assistant was very polite and made me feel that he had my best interest at heart. I was swayed towards buying his recommendation.

Overall this was a good visit and I would come back to this store again to ask for advice. I would have given a higher score as the assistant was so helpful, but unfortunately there were no other headsets available and no other recommendations made, which let this store down slightly.

PC WORLD 5/10

I was approached straight away by a member of staff who was smartly dressed. I explained what I was looking for and he said he was not sure if they had any handsfree headsets in stock.

He directed me to the headphones department anyway and started making conversation, asking how my day was going, which made me feel comfortable.

When we arrived at the headset section there were no headsets for phones. He apologised and asked some more questions about what kind of headset I was after. He then suggested visiting the Currys store, he was very polite with his tone and continued to try and be a help to me.

The few headsets that were on display were all USB. The display was not well laid out and it looked like the headsets had been bundled together. When I ask if the store would be getting any Blutooth headsets in the near future, he went to check with the manager as he was not too sure. Whilst he was talking to his manager I was waiting around for around five minutes until he came back, he then said they were not sure exactly when the new stock would arrive.

This visit was not a great one. There was a very poor range of headsets on offer and the ones that were there were not compatible with what I needed them for. Although the assistant was friendly, instead of asking me to come back, check the website or take my details, he simply told me to visit a different store.

STAPLES 5/10

Upon entering the store, I noticed a member of staff at a till who was organising and cleaning the area. I asked if he could assist me in looking for a handsfree headset and he left what he was doing to help me out.

He mentioned that he was not too sure if they had any handsfree products in stock, but directed me to the headphones department to check. On observation whilst walking to the department I saw no other members of staff.

He asked me some questions about what type of headset I was after and when we arrived at the right section there were no headsets for phones. What were on display were USB headsets for PC. He did continue to look even though it was clear there were none there. The assistant apologised and said the best place for me to go would be the Carphone Warehouse.

I did ask him if he had any recommendations as to what headsets would be best but he said he didn’t know and told me Carphone Warehouse would.

It looked like the headsets section was very small, but it was neatly laid out. I asked the assistant when any new stock would come in but he told me he was not sure.

Although the assistant was friendly, he was not knowledgeable about the products and had no idea when any new stock would arrive. He also suggested going to another store rather than encouraging me to come back.

COMET 4/10

I entered the store and saw numerous boxes lying around. I approached an assistant and told him what I was looking for; he said he wasn’t sure if they had handsfree headsets in stock, due to the store getting rid of all stock as it was closing down.

He directed me to the headphones department to check and as we walked, I noticed that due to store not re-stocking products, it looked almost empty.

The assistant asked me a few more questions about the kind of headset I was after and when we arrived at the right section there were no headsets at all. He apologised and explained that due to the major discounts at the store, they must have all sold out. He did continue to look around the store but things were all over the place; he finally gave up and apologised again.

I asked for recommendations but the assistant had none. I also asked if he knew of anywhere else nearby to visit and he had no answer for me. One of his colleges happened to overhear our conversation and mentioned there was a Carphone Warehouse in the retail park, and gave me directions.

This store had none of the products that I wanted to look at; it was messy but it was closing down. The assistant did try to help but didn’t know anything about handsfree headsets.

SUMMARY

I found it very difficult to find the product that I was after during the mystery shop. Most stores didn’t have the right handsfree sets, and the ones that did, didn’t have a great selection.

A number of stores were quick to direct me to a rival business instead of trying to encourage me to buy from them by offering to call when something came in stock or by directing me to their website.

Currys and Maplin had the best customer service; both assistants were enthusiastic and really tried to find the right product for me. They were the only stores that actually had the right headsets.

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Tags: Comet, PC World, mystery shopper, currys, maplin, staples, Charlton, Crayford, handsfree headsets

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