Retail sucks. That’s just the bottom-line. Don’t try to kid yourself; retail is literally the worst. I work a retail job. I’m about two weeks away from finishing up my bachelor’s degree but I’m currently working a customer service job. I was working a cash just the other day and I thought to myself: “Either I turn this into a game or my head is going to fall off”.
Luckily for you and I my head is still on my body.
Customer Conqueror is a turn based combat game based on the player’s interaction with each and every customer. Please feel free to take this idea and apply it to your own job because I know retail sucks. Ugh retail is literally the worst, but I digress…
What I needed was an increase in engagement, a serious increase in motivation and to create good habits for myself. Here is how the game is played:
The player: You
You have 100hp.
Think about either 4 things that you are required to do or 4 things you would like to start doing. These are the 4 things that will do damage to the customer. Here were my attacks:
- Ask if the customer needs plastic bags for their order for 5 damage
- If the customer needs bags then
- Charge for each and every plastic bag that they require for 5 damage OR
- If the customer has their own bags
- Bag all of their items in their bags yourself for 5 damage
- Ask if the customer has an Airmiles card they would like to use for 5 damage
- Tell the customer to have a nice day for 5 damage
These were all things that company required of us cashiers. While we don’t intrinsically want to ask for bags or even charge for bags (bleh), the game mechanics provided motivation to take these actions.
The enemy: Each and every customer
Each customer has 20hp. (In the case that they didn’t want plastic bags and didn’t have their own bags then their HP would only be 15. Balancing issue)
Their job is to race you to certain cues (at least it was for my job) but they don’t know it; this will be discussed further in the combat section.
Now I know most managers don’t want their employees to see the customer as enemies. But what this did was increase employee engagement at the very least. I was excited for each and every customer that came through to do “battle” with them.
To beat a customer I would have to hit all of my damage points in a single order to defeat them. If I missed any of my attacks during an order I would take 10 damage from the customer. For example:
- Me: “Hi, how are you?”
- Customer: “Pretty good and yourself?”
- Me: “Good, good. Would you like some plastic bags for your groceries today?”
BOOM. 5 damage to the customer. Thanks for coming out.
If the customer beats me to one of my attacks then I would take 10 damage. For example:
- Me: “Hi, how are you?”
- Customer: “Ya I need bags thanks”
BOOM. Not only was the customer kind of a jerk for not saying “hi” back but a 10 damage blow!
Healing activities were simple habits that I wanted to develop to give the customer a better experience. There were also certain things that I had trouble remembering so I included them in this as well. My healing tasks included:
- Asking if the customer would like to use the money off of their Airmiles card for 5hp
- Starting a genuine human conversation with the customer for 5hp
- Putting the customers groceries in their cart of them for 5hp
These were things that I intrinsically wanted to do to better myself at my job.
One experience point would be given for each customer I defeated. Each level-up required experience in multiples of 5 experience points. Example:
- Level 1 to Level 2: 5 experience points
- Level 2 to Level 3: 10 experience points
Whenever you level up you gain full health and begin again.
The difficult part of combat was that if I took damage at any time during combat, I would gain no experience from that customer. This actually made the game really fun. The game became harder as you levelled up. By level 6 you need to defeat 30 customers perfectly before they can do 100 damage to you. My lowest was about 25hp and I really had to ramp up my healing activities while also juggling my attacks.
The game was born of my hate for the retail game. But the truth is that I intrinsically want to be good at my job. Work politics can get in the way of your personal success which can really start affecting you negatively in other areas of your life. What I needed was more gameful work; that is, work I chose for myself.
While serving 100 customers per day can be exhausting and frustrating, defeating them in combat was very rewarding.