Our Mystery Shopper checks out the customer service in

Mystery Shopper: Cardiff

This month we sent our intrepid Mystery Shopper to the capital of Wales to seek out what the market offered in the way of speaker docks with the new iPhone 5 lightning connector.


The store was located in the newer building of Cardiff’s main shopping centre. As this is a new complex, the stores within have a triple ‘A’ appearance and this store was no exception, boasting bright and enticing window displays with Point of Sale advertising the latest offers.

It was mid-morning, and whilst there were quite a few shoppers in the mall, there was no one in this store. I felt conspicuous by the fact that I was the only customer and knew in my mind that I’d probably be approached quickly by an eager sales person.

The store was very well laid out with plenty of hardware on display to try out with information clearly shown. As expected, I was quickly greeted by a shop assistant. She was easy to talk to and after explaining
that I was looking for a speaker dock for an iPhone 5, she ran through a few options.

There was only one actual speaker dock, the Gear 4 speaker dock priced at £49.99, which had a connector for the iPhone 5. Keen to talk through other options, she explained that I could use double jack cables, Bluetooth or adaptor unit options to use my phone with the other products. This was not what I had originally gone into the store for, preferring to keep with my goal of looking for a dock with the new connector.

The sales person was very helpful and was very keen to talk through other products. This was good as it gave me food for thought for future purchases.


This was a relatively small store situated on a retail park close by Cardiff City Football Ground. It was well maintained and had an inviting appearance. It was very clean and presentable.

I was greeted by a member of staff as I entered. After browsing the store for a few minutes, I decided to ask for help as I couldn’t find what I was looking for despite plenty of signs pointing me towards products that I didn’t want to buy today.

I spotted what looked like a very approachable and presentable sales person in the distance. Noticing me looking across, she quickly came over and asked if I needed help. I explained that I was looking for an iPhone 5 speaker dock and was keen to understand what she could offer as so far I had only come across one in the centre of town.

Her reply was one that I didn’t expect to hear. She advised that the store did not have any new gadgets and that they were usually the last to get ‘new stuff’ in store. However, as the sales person in Currys/PC World in St. David’s Centre had done, she offered other products that would play music from the iPhone 5, but only through the use of a jack cable.

The customer service was quite good and the sales assistant was friendly, although it did not fill me with confidence when she said Maplin was usually the last to get new products. It was a shame that the store did not have a speaker dock that fitted the iPhone 5.


This Staples store was large but looked a little run down, at least from the outside. The store entrance was concealed by a delivery truck which had obstructed part of the entrance with boxes.

Once inside, I noticed there were members of staff stood near the entrance. Passing by, I overheard them talking about the previous evening. Deciding to leave them talking, I looked around the store myself.

The store signage made it easy to find the stock, although alas, there were no speaker docks with iPhone 5 connectors in sight.

Not finding what I was looking for, I decided to seek out a member of staff to help. This was quite difficult to accomplish considering there had been quite a few staff near the entrance when I first entered. After finding someone to help, I was advised to go to Apple to buy an iPhone 5 connector.


This store was located on a retail park next to one of the main roads into Cardiff. It was huge and well-presented with clear signage throughout.

I wasn’t greeted upon entering so decided to look for the speaker docks section myself. After a few minutes of not being able to find the product, I looked around for someone to assist me. After a few minutes, I came across four members of staff who had converged on one customer.

It looked quite an intense discussion and I had to wait for them to finish talking to each other about different products before being asked if I needed help even though I was standing in front of them.

After explaining to one sales assistant that I wanted to buy a speaker dock that fits the iPhone 5, he showed me the range of stock on display and spoke for a few minutes discussing the products.

There was a good choice, but yet again, no speaker dock with an iPhone 5 connector.

Pushing the iPhone 5 connector with the assistant again, he suggested that I try the adaptor. After insisting that I wanted to buy a dock with the new connector, he, like the staff in Staples, advised that I should go to Apple.

I did not feel that the staff at this store cared much about helping me find the right product and I was waiting around for quite a while before anyone would help. I would not return to this store for any advise on future purchases.


Overall, this was a challenging Mystery Shop. Despite the iPhone 5 being on the market for a few months now, only one store, the smaller of the two Currys/PC Worlds, had a speaker dock that was compatible and in stock. Most stores offered other options such as connector docks and Bluetooth, but Staples and the Currys/PC World at Newport Road just told me to visit an Apple store.

Currys/PC World at St. David’s Centre was by far the best visit, the customer service was good and the store actually had a speaker dock that had a connector for the iPhone 5.

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