Editorial – March 2024


Eddie Adlum caricature by Julian FrancoEvery successful businessman, as well as every satisfied customer, knows the value of good, honest customer service. Both the seller and the buyer of goods or services…from the shoeshine guy to the CEO of Ford Motors…deals with both sides of this necessary facet of business. The very phrase “customer service” can be a quick telephone fix or a dressed-up moniker that replaces the old fashioned “complaint department.” On occasion, it can also mean a compliment sent to express thanks for a satisfactory conclusion of a problem.

RePlay’s operator readers are the kind of business people whose customer service employees are usually on the receiving end of a problem (e.g. the ever-present out-of-order) rather than praise. That’s part of running a route or an arcade. The real problem arises when the glitched machine is ignored until the second or third call; a sure way to build bad will and possibly an eventual “sayonara.”

We print RePlay at a place in Pontiac, Ill., named Johnson Press of America. They issue a periodic newsletter to customers like us called “Print Matters.” Their recent edition zeroes in on customer service, reminding its readers that not only are the customers “always right” (even though they’re often dead wrong) but that clear and friendly communication is necessary when dealing with their issue.

For example (not that most operators don’t already know), there is a huge difference in out-of-order responses between: “Try plugging it in, Dummy!” and “Believe it or not, (name), but sometimes players misuse games and the plug falls of the wall. Please check to see if it’s in before we send our guy out.”

When a customer service response needs to be written (letter, email or text) the Johnson Press newsletter recommends using simple, straightforward language whether you’re answering a question, addressing a problem or promoting a deal. Whether written or verbal, complaints from locations and/or players should be answered with empathy, transparency and clarity. And never forget to listen attentively and ask questions to fully understand the situation before responding.

No matter how you respond to a problem, always try hard to be friendly, professional and even conversational. Unclear, abrupt and even angry responses from your side can and will drive people away. “Clear, attentive communication is an effective means of expressing respect for your customers and over time, it can go a long way in helping you strengthen your bonds with them,” says Johnson, and we couldn’t agree more.

P.S. Thanks to Zooom Studios’ art genius Julian Franco for this clever caricature of me on the job. Fun stuff!


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