Customer is…

You’re all in the hamburger business. Do not forget that

What is a customer? A pile of miserable secrets? No, a customer is someone who is being marketed at and exchanges money or other valuable assets for goods and/or services. This much is clear, ja? Then why is the customer a god? Customer is what determines the value of your firm, association, group or whatever you are in that offers service/ goods. Your brand, whatever it is at the moment, is what the customer perceives it to be, not what you make it out to be. Customer’s perceived quality is what you wish to achieve and what you wish to reach to.

Having customers is an extremely good thing, because that means your services are of some worth.

I can’t understand people who say they have no customers, like that representative from Desucon. If this was true, they’d have no perceived value or a reason to market themselves. Yet there is a marketing campaign and exchange of money for goods and services. While they offer augmented service offering via lodgings, these have been more or less limited successes rather than complete successes. Perhaps using GAP model between the organization and the customers would help these people to get rid of negative impacts in their service, thus reducing the time spent on fixing things rather than, y’know, enjoying the event and so on.

One thing that any company wants to achieve is a relationship with the customer, and one of the most important aspects of this is to have the same view on quality as the customer has. For example, CAPCOM clearly doesn’t think that games like Mega Man Legends 3 could’ve been a quality product, whereas they seemed to agree with themselves that games like Resident Evil 6 and DMC are a pinnacle of their genre and the product line CAPCOM has. As we’ve seen, the customers at large didn’t really care for either of them. Their perceived quality was less than the assumed quality CAPCOM put in there. Tameem or his company shouldn’t be even mentioned here, as he sucks at his job worse than a dead rhinoceros at living.

This is one reason why the video game industry is and has been for a long time in such a steep decline; the firms do not recognize their products and services having low quality and qualities the customers do not value.

This bears emphasizing, as fixing this would yield positive results for the industry, but the creator god myth, or the rockstar developer myth, is holding everything back. I’ve hammered this in far too many times, but these people are there to please the customers and not themselves. They are not artists. They are people who get paid to create products and services that we purchase from them. If the things they try to sell us fail, they need to start fixing all the problems as soon as possible, or loss of money will happen because time is spent on these failures rather than on successful products.

What Customer is god means is that the customer is what builds your firm/ organization. It’s never enough to push out something the firm itself sees as something of worth, it has to be seen of worth by the customer and no one else. Hell, even the brand a company has is determined by the customer and not by the marketing department.

Then how can you fulfil the customers’ expectations? The best thing is to offer them service of adequate quality, something that they will perceive as decent service and will not stray off from their quality tolerance. Every customer has a levels of tolerance for bad service, and bouncing within these limitations is challenging, but worth most. However, it would be best to achieve the level of quality the customer expects rather than bouncing on his tolerance zone, as at times you can surprise them with overquality. I wonder when was the last time a video game company surprised me with overquality?

Nintendo keeps talking about surprising the gamer. This and aforementioned overquality are not the same thing by far. Nintendo’s surprises are things that the customer does not expect, or more accurately, does not want. One example is the 3DS’ 3D screen. The only people who wished such from a handheld console were the developers. The customers wanted something more along the lines of Nintendo DS 2 or a named successor to the GameBoy brand. However, when talking of consoles we need to notice that they live on the augmented service offering, which they need to survive; the games. The game quality on the 3DS is abysmal. I freely admit that I got swept by my own hype on Project X Zone, and that it ended up being pretty damn bad game, which is why I am completely dumbfounded that the game is coming to Western shore after crashing and burning worse than Red Ninja on PS2.

The augmented service offering, in short, is additional services provided next to the core service. Video game consoles live on this type of additional services as they’re just the boxes you play games on. The games themselves have augmented service offerings as well, like updates and patches. DLC is is not part of this, as they are a separate product to market and sell. In most cases all video game firms lack quite a lot of these augmented service offerings and concentrate only on the core product, which is pretty stupid model when you notice that the consumption of video game, especially in modern days, is very dependant on constant little services provided by the service provider. It’s a good question whether these services are of good quality, as differences between SONY’s and Microsoft’s models are quite different when it comes to their account systems. It’s also notable that the playing of video games itself is the service procedure we consume; during this time the companies are responsible of working video game, both from technical and gameplay stand points, and on the function of the console we are using as they too offer the service of being able to play games. If any one of these and what they consist of fails, the service procedure’s quality drop significantly and in the future we will be more vary of buying product from the service provider. I need to bring Mega Man Legends 3 back into this, as the service procedure on the game had already been started and was cut short. CAPCOM not only got free workforce in the help in designing the game, but also offered a non-billable service which would’ve ended in the customer purchasing the game and consuming the product. CAPCOM’s decision of cutting the service procedure after it had been initiated and was well under work shows that CAPCOM doesn’t know how to run a goddamm business.

Thinking that game developers are just product providers is an old fashioned concept. Nowadays they need to offer more billable and non-billable services in order to provide the quality needed. Not only that, everyone in the game industry needs to change their habits and start accepting that you’re in the business to make games for other people.

I couldn’t give rat’s ass about what any organization thinks they do if I’m at the paying end. The only thing I care is whether or not they are able to provide me with high quality service I’m paying them for. If they aren’t, they deserve all the flak they get. From that flak they should be able to weed out the unnecessary problems with customer service and further enhance their service quality, because that’s what it all is about.

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