Store Employees: what do you want them to know?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Camp, Aug 20, 2002.

  1. Camp

    Camp Cinematographer

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    I'm taking on a new training program for sales associates at TRU. My job is to educate them so they can speak more confidently (and correctly) about the video game products we sell.

    I thought I'd illicit your help. I'd like your thoughts and opinions (from a customer perspective) of what you expect from store sales assocaites. Not just TRU but any store. What do you expect when you enter a store? What would really impress you? What do you hate?

    If you have the time I'd also love to get a working list of the forthcoming titles/accessories for each console you're looking forward to this year. I think I know what most of them are but I certainly don't want to miss any "enthusiast" games when working with these folks.

    Thanks in advance,
     
  2. Chris Rock

    Chris Rock Supporting Actor

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    I'm impressed by store employees who only offer their opinion when asked.
    I HATE it when I am looking at a game and they try to sell me a different one because they happen to prefer it. A good example is an employee who tries to talk a customer out of buy Sega NFL2K3 because THEY prefer Madden (or Vice-Versa).
    Additionally, I think it's important that an employee who offers his advice be well-read in the subject in which he or she is advising on. I HATE it when I know more about a particular thing than one of the employees who is telling someone about something.
    All employees should be members of the HTF. [​IMG]
     
  3. Morgan Jolley

    Morgan Jolley Lead Actor

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    I want them to offer an informative opinion about the quality of games while not trading gossip and incorrect rumors. Tell them to only say things that they themselves know as 100% fact.

    Then again, at my local (or most local) TRU, I never see store employees just walking around and helping people buy games. They're always busy at checkout counters and stocking.
     
  4. Joseph Young

    Joseph Young Screenwriter

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    1. A little less elitism, more direct information:
    The number one question I overhear being asked at stores is "what are the differences between the consoles available right now?" Most employees aren't equipped with informed, objective basics that differentiate each console.
    The usual answer I hear is "just get system X, since it's the best. systems Y and Z are not worth your money. just stick with X." Educate the customers, don't just pound them over the head with fanboy propaganda.
    There are major differences between each system, and it's a good idea to supply a customer with as many objective facts as possible. Game selection, load times, graphics, controller, size.. they all come into play. Give a customer the benefit of the doubt and let them make a decision based on as much information as possible.
    2.Adopt a pluralist philosophy:
    Educating the employee on the number of systems and different types of games available for all age brackets and denominations, not just the games and systems that are 'badass.' I mean, we'd all like to live in a world with nothing but Lodoss War and Mech Games and Final Fantasy, but for this industry to grow, its proponents have to be schooled in even the 'uncool' concepts.
    A good example of the type of good customer service: last weekend I bought a copy of Shenmue 2 at a local Babbages.. the (very nice) employee made sure to ask me if I had a boot disc. I did, but I appreciated that little bit of knowledge and assistance.
    A bad example of customer service was a recent trip to a creepy store at one of our local malls (coughcough westfield coughcough). I purchased the last copy of Marvel vs. Capcom 2 with a jewel case/instruction. The guy behind the counter started throwing a fit because he was going to buy that copy, and I had it instead. Mind you, it had been on the shelves for at least two weeks... he had his chance. Bottom Line.. if you work for a gaming retailer, it's not your own personal playground. You're there to educate and share your enthusiasm with others, not to buy up 10 copies of the latest shipment and sell it on Ebay.
    All this said, my 'most anticipated games' list is actually quite typical and fanboyish. I'd appreciate anyone contributing a list that might enlighten me as to some of the 'fringe' title coming out for each system that may fall under the radar (brianB?)
    Some games I'm looking forward to:
    PS2 (Sequels)
    Frequency 2
    Red Faction 2
    Ape Escape 2
    GTA Vice City
    Rygar: The Legendary Adventure
    Gamecube
    Mario Sunshine
    Timesplitters 2
    Metroid
    Zelda
    -Joseph
     
  5. Dave F

    Dave F Cinematographer

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  6. Morgan Jolley

    Morgan Jolley Lead Actor

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  7. Andre F

    Andre F Screenwriter

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  8. Calvin Watts III

    Calvin Watts III Supporting Actor

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    I think that they should be as informed as possible about what product they are selling.
    In this case,having gamers as associates would be a good idea. Not fanboys,mind you,but honest people. If you like what you are selling,then it will show to the customer.
    Getting the immediate sale isn't always the best option,though. Helping the customer is. That way, when they want to get another game, they'll come to you.
    I speak from experience [​IMG]
    And it looks like my former store could use my help...
    We shall see.
     
  9. Chris Bardon

    Chris Bardon Cinematographer

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    I've found for the most part that employees of chain stores often have no idea what they're selling-especially when it comes to games. For example, when I call to get a price check on a game, I've often received a fairly quizzical response from the other end when I gave the title. I wouldn't expect every employee to know about every game, but when I ask about Morrowind for Xbox, or Grand theft Auto 3, I'd expect them to have at least heard of it.

    Conversely, the smaller game stores are usually run by gamers, meaning that the employees have some idea of what they're selling. This also leads to the problem of rumor being passed off as fact though, which is definitely not a good thing.

    Ideally, I think that all of the employees should at least know what is available for each of the systems (e.g. not have to think about what "super mario sunshine" is), and have a basic grasp of the games themselves. As for hardware, I think that they should be encouraged to help people choose the hardware that they buy based on the software that's available. Finally, just making sure that everyone has the facts about each of the systems is a big bonus. I hate going to buy electronics where the only things a salesman can tell me are what's listed on the box.
     
  10. Camp

    Camp Cinematographer

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    Good input thus far. Thank you all so much. I'm taking notes!
    Do you guys like to "talk games" when your in a game store? Do you use it as a face-to-face version of this forum in any way?
     
  11. Dave F

    Dave F Cinematographer

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    Camp,
    Don't worry about that R2. [​IMG] The Star Wars collecting pages are abuzz over it, but the info is being held hush-hush so I was just joking around. I wouldn't want you to get in any hot water. (Just for the curious, it looks like a freebie promo for the ultra-cool 2ft tall droid that Camp mentioned. Link 1 , Link 2)
    We now return you to your regularly scheduled topic... [​IMG]
    One other thing that I can't stress enough about what constitutes good help in shopping for games: an associate that doesn't try to impose his/her favorites upon a customer. I've overheard a couple conversations where the employee was suggesting games that were wholly inappropriate for what the customer wants (ex: like suggesting GTA3 to a dad and his 2 under 8 yr old kids).
    But for me, I usually know exactly what I want - it's just a question of when I can get it in my greedy little hands!
    -Dave
     
  12. Morgan Jolley

    Morgan Jolley Lead Actor

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    The people who will need the help the most are the parents. Kids generally know what they're looking for.
     
  13. MatS

    MatS Screenwriter

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    I'd like to see the giraffe working the register one day [​IMG]
     
  14. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    Know what you're selling is the bottom line
    and make sure they know the difference between widescreen & P&S while you're at it [​IMG]
     
  15. Joel Mack

    Joel Mack Cinematographer

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  16. Iain Lambert

    Iain Lambert Screenwriter

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    One thing that is an absolute boon, and sets a good store apart from a poor one, is when I know what title I want, walk up to the counter to ask if they have it, and not only get the right answer but they have a clue where it is. Customers don't make store people's lives easy when it comes to keeping the stock in order, but having to turn the shop upside down just because they think they still have Wip3out:SE or whatever in stock somewhere is a nightmare. EB's filing system makes it a nightmare to find things most of the time.

    The other thing thats a real help is believing the customer a bit more. I understand that many customers don't know what they are on about, but please don't tell me that a product doesn't exist because you haven't heard of it, or even worse insist that the release date has been put back simply because your particular shop didn't get its stock in on time - my local EB accused the nearby HMV of breaking street date on Rez, and said that I was either lying or should inform Sega!

    Anyway, thats all ranting against clueless UK EB employees, not your TRU people.
     
  17. Dean DeMass

    Dean DeMass Screenwriter

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    Please, don't let the employees talk bullsh*t rumors.
    Example: While at my local EB last week picking up 2K3, there was a gentleman there talking about how much he still loves his Dreamcast. The lady at the counter, who is also the store manager, tells him that if SEGA makes enough money this year that they will have a new console next year. [​IMG]
    I then start to laugh, she looks at me funny and asks what is so funny? I tell her that if SEGA had any kind of hardware in development that the whole world would know about it. I then told her that SEGA being software only is the smartest thing that they have done in years, financially. She looked at me like I was high. I then tell her if she is going to be selling videogames she should know a little bit about them. [​IMG]
    -Dean-
     
  18. BrianB

    BrianB Producer

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    I'm sure I'll be re-iterating what other people have said:
    • Solid education on hardware capability without resorting to fanboy polygon count nonsense.
    • Advise on the ratings - don't sell/suggest GTA3 to an 8 year old for example.
    • Don't spout "This is a really good game" as someone buys it. "No, Really? I was buying it because it was rubbish, thanks for the warning!". A personal annoyance of mine.
    • Be educated enough to not need to lie to customers to sell software.
    • Be enthusiastic without being a fanboy.
     
  19. Joseph Young

    Joseph Young Screenwriter

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    BrianB: [​IMG][​IMG]
    Exactly. [​IMG]
    Camp, I am someone who spends an inordinate amount of time in game stores (as opposed to online ordering, it must be the 'thrill of the chase' that brings me back). I've observed the typical behavior of game store employees and overall the customer service has been lacking, especially when dealing with Parents or small children.
    One family came in asking about Hydro Thunder and the young guy behind the counter convinced them it was a PS2 game and that it was out of stock. I stifled a laugh.
    Another time, a Gamestop employee in Saratoga, CA had sold his 8-bit Nintendo to a little ruddy faced terror in an 'under the counter exchange.' A lot of gamestore employees like to fiddle with the hardware that passes through the store, make modifications, or just resell it for a profit and pocket the money. This time around the employee and the little terror almost had a brawl.
    "This system's broken.. I wanna get my money back dude..."
    "Watch and learn... (comic book guy voice) watch and learn. You see, it is in perfect working order. There was nothing wrong with it two days ago."
    "Dude you're trying to rob me dude "
    In other words, just some crazy shiz-nit that goes on in some of these places.
    I agree though, that stores should implement a layman's version of console comparison. Meaning, don't quote specs or polygon counts to inquiring customers in order to help them make a decision. Instead, come up with smart, decisive terminology to distinguish the pros and cons of each potential purchase.
    Joseph
     
  20. Andy Sheets

    Andy Sheets Cinematographer

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