Our Mystery Shopper visits Chester to look for a gaming mouse

Mystery Shopper: Chester

This month we sent our Mystery Shopper to Chester on the hunt for a wireless PC gaming mouse. Here’s how they fared…

As soon as I was through the door I was immediately greeted by a very friendly shop assistant who asked me if he could help me locate anything if I was after something in particular. He was enthusiastic and smartly dressed. Although busy at the time, he put down what he was doing and took me straight to what I was after.

Maplin had two mice in that they sold: the Corsair Rapture M3, priced £34.99, and the Corsair Rapture M4, priced £39.99. Both mice were black with red buttons, sited on the end of a gondola as part of a store promotion.

The guy admitted to me that he wasn’t a big gamer that much these days and as such wasn’t quite sure of the differences between the two models, so had to check the boxes. It didn’t take long for him to identify the difference between them both – it was in the DPI, so I would be better off with the M4, as it would offer faster mouse scrolling. At this point a different shop assistant said that he was an avid gamer and would also thoroughly recommend the M4.

Overall the store was really good. The staff were friendly, helpful and knowledgable and there were items in stock to take home there and then. The only thing I could’ve asked for was a wider range of stock.

When entering the store I noticed that it was surprisingly busy for that time of time day and that all of the staff were already busy with customers. As I made my way through the store I wasn’t acknowledged by anybody. The section with the mice was quite easy to find, as it was signposted well and I could see a lot of related products so I knew roughly where to head.

Standing in the mouse section, I was surprised at the large range of general-use mice they had for such a small store. However, there was only one gaming mouse available to purchase – the Mad Catz R.A.T 5, which cost £49.99 and was available in a colour choice of silver or black.

After some time, roughly four minutes, I was finally able to catch somebody’s attention, as I hadn’t been approached by any of the assistants. The man explained briefly that it was the only model they sold and that I’d have to check online if I needed more choice. He seemed a bit flustered and wasn’t particularly knowledgeable on the subject of gaming mice. However, unlike the other staff, he was wearing a white shirt, which may have meant that he was a new recruit, and so I’ve given him the benefit of the doubt.

The store was busy, perhaps understaffed, but not being approached and having to wait for someone is far from ideal. However, they did stock a gaming mouse and had it available to take away that day.

After walking into the store I was approached by a worker who introduced himself to me as ‘Jim’. He was very friendly and directed me straight to the computer mouse section of the store. All of the other staff members were busy with customers. There weren’t any obstructions or difficulty getting to where the products were allocated, and having been directed by Jim it was easy to find.

When I explained to him that I was searching for a gaming specific mouse he said he would help me try and look, but expressed some concern that gaming mice might not be the kind of item that they sell, which as one of the biggest household names for electronics, surprised me. Jim helped me check the range, but as he had feared, there wasn’t a single gaming mouse sold in store and so he recommended that I either try online or instead visit one of their bigger stores, which are combined with PC World, as he knew they sold them there.

My Currys assistant was enthusiastic, helpful and smartly dressed and if they had have stocked the item I would have probably purchased it.

Therefore, on customer service alone, I am awarding Currys a six out of ten, with four subtracted solely on the basis that they didn’t have the item I was looking for in store. But six is still a very high score just for service.

I immediately noticed that there were no store staff to greet me once inside Staples, and no other customers present. The store was quiet, but despite this all of the staff seemed busy, meaning that nobody approached me. I waited in the Accessories and Mice aisle, which, having been offered no assistance, I had found for myself. Having said that, the row was easy to find and was well advertised. After five minutes, I had to approach a member of staff myself as still nobody had come over to me, and it didn’t look like they had any intention of doing so.

Once I had approached the member of staff, he gave me his full attention and was dressed well in trousers and a branded Staples shirt. However, as he explained to me, they did not stock any specific gaming mice in-store. I was recommended by the man to try online as there is a much bigger range available on their website.

Seeing as I had to approach staff myself and they did not stock the item I needed, I have rated Staples four out of ten. Once I had made the effort to seek help, the assistant was helpful enough, but due to the service I would probably previously have left and gone elsewhere to find my desired item.

There is a clear winner of this mystery shop – Maplin. While only two of the stores had the type of mouse I was looking for, the customer service provided at Maplin was far above and beyond that provided by PC World. However, PC World did have plenty of related products.

It’s a shame that Currys didn’t stock any gaming mice, as my helpful assistant ‘Jim’ would’ve clenched a much higher score if it had.

Staples, on the other hand, had poor initial service and no stock, despite redeeming itself slightly once I had taken the time to ask for help.

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