Monday, December 28, 2009

5 Things Customers Should Know

If I could somehow share my knowledge and embed it into the heads of our regular customers, here's what I would want them to know:

  • You Need Each Other. Every game "department" is needed for the survival of our store and for us to continue to offer services such as play space. As much as groups like to throw scorn on each other, all of them are needed for us to do what we do. What we would like to see is a little more mutual respect, even if it's grudging respect. Myself and my staff need a little more of this too.
  • The Customer is Always Right. Our goal is superior, exquisite customer satisfaction. If you think we've slipped, let us know. Sometimes we screw up or let standards slide if we're stressed or extremely busy. It happens. Call us on it. Remind us we're not being exquisite. Sometimes we have to say no for various reasons, but it should be a consistent no, rather than an "I'm busy, buzz off" kind of no.
  • The Caveat (No Customer is Indispensable). The caveat to the customer is always right is that no customer is indispensable. Rarely, we'll need to "fire" a customer when they become overly demanding out of a sense of self-importance. This is extremely rare, but it happens. Our number one customer bought a little less than 1% of our total sales this year, a tremendous number, but by no means critical for our survival.  At the same time, it means we can generally treat customers with an equal level of respect.
  • No Game is Indispensable. I suppose that's something for manufacturers to understand.  Although there are a couple companies that we would be foolish to cut off, there is not a single game that can make or break us. That's something to remember if we don't seem to be providing the full support you think we should. Sometimes it doesn't make sense for us. If you're a store owner with a make or break product line, I'll tell you now I think it's a weakness.
  • Nobody is Getting Rich. Well, that's not entirely true. The shareholders of UPS and our property owner are probably getting rich off us, but we're certainly not. At the end of the day, we do this out of an irrational love of the hobby. Anybody successful in the game trade is fully capable of generating great wealth doing something else.