WPN Orientation: Customer Experience
We’ve talked a lot about your events, but what about the rest of your store? Let’s dive into the different ways of expressing your business to be more appealing to customers.
This article will cover the following topics:
- Store Strengths
- Training and Quality Service
- Code of Conduct
What amenities do you have available for player comfort?
What makes your store different than other stores? How do you capitalize on those differences?
You might not be the only game store in your area. You might not even be the only game store in your town! Even if you are, you’re certainly not the only entertainment venue. To attract the widest range of customers, you need to start thinking of yourself in the ranks of these other spaces.
How do you stand out?
There are a few elements of your business you might choose to highlight.
- Store hours. Your store is open a wide range of hours, serving family-friendly audiences, after-school audiences, and late-night audiences.
- Location. You are close to restaurants, are in a walkable area, and have easy parking access. You are aware of your neighborhood resources, so you can support your customers’ needs.
- Product Variety. You have a wide range of other products that customers can buy, which gives your non-Magic customers something to interact with and further diversifies your potential customer base.
- Organization and cleanliness. You have a regular and thorough cleaning schedule, and your store’s inventory is easy to navigate. It is effortless to want to spend more time in your space.
- Knowledgeable Staff. Your staff knows most of the products in your store or knows how to get necessary information for a customer quickly. Your staff is also able to provide game recommendations.
- Engagement. Your staff is friendly and takes the time to interact with all customers enthusiastically.
- Fun for All. You provide diverse and unique event experiences for players of all skill levels.
- Prizes. You offer interesting prizes that get players excited to participate.
- Schedule. You offer a variety of events at times that work with your community of players.
- In-Store Concessions. You offer drinks and snacks to satisfy your player’s needs.
- Local Partnerships. You have an arrangement with nearby vendors to help your players find food quickly.
- Mindful Selection. You offer an assortment of food to accommodate different dietary needs.
Variety of Functions
- Game Library. Your players have access to either board games or video games that they can play while they are at your store.
- Café/Lounge. Your space is comfortable and suitable for relaxing or doing non-gaming activities (coffee, studying, hanging out).
- Event Space. Your space allows you to host a variety of community events above and beyond game tournaments.
Training and Quality Service
Do I have a training manual?
How do you train your staff to interact with customers?
How do you train your staff to work with Wizards products?
Unless you’re a one-person team, you probably have at least one other person helping you run your business. You and your employees play critical roles your customer’s experience, so take the time to make this resource work for you.
As The Dragon's Jenn Haines points out, it’s a good idea to document your store and event processes. This will help you maintain a consistent experience and make it easier to train future employees.
Common hobby store training manuals may include some of the following topics. This is not an exhaustive list but might give you some ideas of what guidelines you want laid out in plain language for your training regimen.
- Terms of Employment
- Greeting Customers
- Staff Dress Code
- Language / Behavior Policy
- Opening and Closing Procedures
- Cleaning and Maintenance Procedures
- Inventory Stocking Procedures
- Technology Policy (Wi-Fi, Computing)
- Handling Transactions
- Buying and Selling
- Event Advertising Processes
- Discount Policy
- Food and Drink Policy
You know your store needs best, but if you have a team member representing Magic at your store, it’s a good idea for them to read the same training material you did. Here are what we consider the essential resources for them.
Understanding Wizards Event Reporter. Train your team on the software and give them their own log-in credentials. Let them know they can reach Wizards Support for additional guidance.
How to Run An Efficient Demo. Practice running quick demos of Magic with the free Welcome Decks.
Product Pathing. Your staff is on the front lines of product sales. Help them be more efficient at selling Magic.
New Player Path. Same as above, but with a stronger emphasis on the new player experience.
Set a Dress Code. Help your customers identify staff by having t-shirts with a store logo, a lanyard, nametag, or some other standards for attire.
Checklists for Store Quality
What are the fundamental traits that robust, sustainable businesses have in common? What qualities are the best predictors of success?
To answer those questions, we studied feedback from stores and players, analyzed focus group testimony and in-store play data, probed reports from store visits and interviews with retailers around the world. In the end, we compiled two helpful checklists to help your store.
Print them out and see how you compare. Can you check every box?
Store Quality Checklist—Relates to Signage, Physical Space, Calendar, Inventory, Staff
Event Quality Checklist—Relates to Announcements, Atmosphere, Supplies and Tools, Rewards
Code of Conduct
Do I have a code of conduct? How do I enforce it?
A written and posted Code of Conduct has many benefits for hobby stores.
- They help parents feel more at ease when leaving their children at your store.
- They allow players to self-police their own behavior and support them when standing up to others.
- They allow you to clearly communicate your store’s values to new players and customers.
- We have spoken with many stores who only have a verbal code of conduct, but this doesn’t have the same impact as one that is clearly posted in common areas.
You can create your code of conduct to suit your store’s needs. We have provided an outline for a Code of Conduct here if you want a place to start.
The key elements of common codes of conduct usually include the following:
- Everyone is welcome.
- Keep it clean, physically and verbally.
- Follow event, game and store rules.
- Offensive imagery is not allowed.
- Keep it friendly, respectful, and fun.
Who comes to my store now? Who doesn’t?
What additional steps can I take to make my players feel welcome and comfortable?
Creating a safe and welcoming environment for all customers is critical to expanding your player base. For advice on curating this environment, check on this article from The Dragon's Jenn Haines.
Tactics for an Inclusive Environment:
- Keep casual events casual. Encourage new players to interact with their community in a low-pressure environment.
- In casual events, try to mix newer players with people who are willing to give them a good experience.
- Ban discriminatory language and profanity from your staff. Discourage this behavior in players.
- Staff should actively engage with all new customers/players.
- A diverse staff may help to attract a diverse player base.
- Always Be Improving. Identify areas of your store that can be adjusted to better serve your customer's needs.
- Have a training plan. Have a method to train new employees to provide a great and consistent customer experience.
- Have a code of conduct. Set proper expectations amongst your community to allow a friendlier and more inclusive atmosphere.