Being on the play is generally where you want to be in Magic. There are exceptions, sometimes the extra card is more important but most of the time having the tempo of playing first is a big advantage.
The same idea applies to life and our everyday interactions that we have with those we encounter.
The first time a customer walks into your LGS, they have no idea what situation they are going to walk into. Will it be a positive experience or a negative one? The result is largely up to how they are met by those running the show. If that’s you, you have to decide each time someone walks in how you’re going to handle it.
The trouble here is we know what we should be doing, it’s obvious.
The best way to approach a new customer is to greet them warmly and welcome them. Introduce yourself and get to know them, find out their name and make an honest effort to understand and help them find what they are looking for. Ideally, this approach would be used by everyone when they meet someone new.
One of the easiest ways to differentiate your LGS from those of your competitors is to have better customer service. Going above and beyond expectations can give you an overwhelming advantage when it comes to customer loyalty.
A great example of this is Zappos, a shoe company known for its fanatical devotion to its customers. Zappos will do almost anything to make sure their customers are happy. One customer story goes like this:
Zaz Lamarr needed to return some shoes to Zappos but her mother had just passed away and she was still coping with the loss so she didn’t have time to do it. When Zappos emailed her asking about the status of the shoes, she replied about what happened. Zappos took care of the shipping and had a courier pick up the shoes for her at no extra cost.
Zappos didn’t stop their customer care there, Zaz writes:
“Yesterday, when I came home from town, a florist delivery man was just leaving. It was a beautiful arrangement in a basket with white lilies and roses and carnations. Big and lush and fragrant. I opened the card and it was from Zappos. I burst into tears. I’m a sucker for kindness and if that isn’t one of the nicest things to happen to me, I don’t know what is.”
The success of Zappos in a competitive market like shoes is largely due to their exceptional customer service and stories like the above show this. They treat their customers as more than just customers, each one is a person with thoughts, feelings, aspirations, and value outside of the immediate transaction. And that’s the exact reason they will keep going back to Zappos.
Customer service should be the core of your strategy for building your customer base. The essence of a local game store is the experience, that’s what we’re selling. It’s more than games, cards, and miniatures. It’s the camaraderie and community, the knowledgeable support and friendly staff that keeps the business going.
Everything else is important, but without great customer service, without a great experience, an LGS can’t achieve its true potential.
As much as we all know customer service is important, we all know of many shops that don’t bother to put it in the effort. Take advantage of that fact and stand out.
Another reason it’s so important to be proactive with the people you meet and the people who come into your shop is that our default in life is to react. We let life happen to us rather than make life happen.
Don’t wait for someone else to say hello, be on the play. You might be surprised.