9 May 2019 | 14 Comments
I’m not a coffee drinker (unless coffee ice cream counts), but I’m fascinated by a coffee shop in Japan.
I was recently listening to an episode of a podcast called Acquired about Blue Bottle Coffee, a US coffee chain that has a very focused approach to serving coffee. The founder of the company, James Freeman, apparently conceived the idea after visiting an unnamed cafe in Japan where every coffee cup is unique. The barista asks you a few questions, takes your order, and then hand-picks your mug.
I’m absolutely delighted by this idea. There’s something special about an expert catering specifically to me.
I’ve experienced this same feeling at game stores and game cafes when employees take a moment to learn a little about me and connect me to products that I wouldn’t otherwise have thought of. Also, similar to the coffee mugs, I’m able to pick up the game on the spot and even look through the components if a demo copy is available.
While it’s more difficult for online stores to provide custom “barista” service, I think there are ways to make it work:
- Many big online retailers have algorithms that look at your purchase history and suggest related products.
- I’ve seen some webstores that feature a little tag on the side of the page that opens a customer service window.
- Stonemaier Games offers a detailed gift guide that can help you navigate through various options based on your personality type.
- I once tried an online clothing service where I shared a few photos and measurements with a consultant, and they selected some clothing and sent it to me. I kept what I liked and sent the rest back.
I can’t help but wonder that I could do a better job of this when serving customers who visit the Stonemaier Games webstore (whether they end up buying from us or from a retailer). Sometimes people will post questions online or e-mail me for clarification, and that’s good, but I wonder if there’s a more proactive way to do it without coming across as pushy. Have you seen publishers provide this type of “barista” service in a way you appreciate?
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