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Plotter & VP Tip #4

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  • Plotter & VP Tip #4


    One of the main responsibilities of a Lead on the Lovecraft Country team is to have a care for our customers. Not just handle customer service issues, but to put aside the fact that we ourselves are paying Skotos customers and take the mantle of responsibility for ensuring the game we work for has happy, satisfied customers.

    When bringing on a new plotter or veteran player to the LC team I try to underline the guidelines that emphasize good customer service in our staff practices. That is because a plotter, while telling stories, has direct interaction with all the LC customers coming to play the game, and could find themselves in the middle of all manner of situations as any given moment.

    Recently, a question was posed to me that went something like this:

    “If I am supposed to have a care for the customers, the paying players of Lovecraft Country, who is supposed to have a care for me? Am I not also a paying player of Lovecraft Country? Are we not all customers together? When do my feelings and opinions matter if ‘the customer is always right’?”

    I found this question quite intriguing, because I couldn’t give a clear, decisive answer to the asker. But it is an important question. It’s a question that every Skotos game staff volunteer should address every day, it’s a question every player who wants to volunteer for staff should address in themselves before they apply for their favorite game, and it’s an issue that every member of the Skotos community should keep in mind as we all work to play together.

    My answer in regards to LC staff was that the paying customer who volunteers to be game staff is a “tweener”. Basically we fall in between the cracks of things, and therefore, it will take a specific mind set that I look for in a volunteer for the LC plotter staff. As LC staff, to some degree you are no longer a player the moment you get your staff powers. In accepting these additional abilities you agree to help develop the game through coding, plotting, or guiding. Each and every one of those roles includes customer service. Therefore each and every staff member has a responsibility to do their utmost to have a care for the customers that come to Arkham By Night or Tomb of the Desert God looking for a good time. Even to the point of putting your own customer needs aside.

    While this may seem extreme, I feel it is imperative for the success of our little world. Without players we have nothing. We could code a kick ass game. We could write the most mind-bending plots ever imagined. But without players to enjoy the fruits of our labor it all means nothing.

    I’ll admit it again. Yes, this is an extreme view. Basically I am saying that the LC team members are paying their Skotos fees just like everyone else, and are giving up their customer status to be pseudo-employees with no compensation other than the expectation that they must put in an agreed upon number of hours a week to further the game.

    But wait. There is intrinsic compensation. Those okay with this arrangement get to experience the camaraderie of a team of dedicated people working together to achieve a common goal, and they get to enjoy the adoration of some hard core Lovecraft fans who cheer them on while they work. As a Lead I also try to make sure I the team doesn’t fall too far between the cracks. In Plotter & VP Tip #3 I try hard to make sure the staff is having fun. If that means I have to juggle scalpels while balancing on the back of a nightgaunt in flight to ensure they have fun, then that’s what I do to make sure my team is laughing and smiling while they pick up that next assist, code that next object, or plan that next plot.

    A happy staffer will be more likely to give good customer service. But a staffer must also be prepared from the get go to give customer service at all.

    On the other hand, I can not automatically demand the LC staff to give up their own needs and desires as paying customers. That is something you must find within yourself. Do you feel okay with such an arrangement? Do you feel a burning desire to help others? This is where you must ask yourself if you are up to the challenge. And on days when you aren’t, don’t log in. But in order to be staff, be ready for your players to expect this of you.

    On the player side of things, I often see that players new to Skotos don’t realize that game staff are volunteers who are amateurs at game development and amateurs at customer service. How could they know? Yet it’s bad form to preface every conversation with, ‘Hey man, I’m just a volunteer, cut me some slack.’ As customers, how you approach game staff is up to each of you. I can’t speak for every Skotos game either. I know LC is all volunteers. I naturally figure that anyone I interface with staff-wise is also a volunteer. Even so, when I go into a regular business, like the post office or a restaurant, if I open up with a royal tirade it is natural that the person I unload on will not want to help me. So, I find I get my way more often if I’m polite but persistent than when I bitch up a storm.

    So, the next time you file an assist in your game of choice, I do hope that you’ll receive the level of service you want. At Lovecraft Country we want your feedback. Let us know how we’re doing, good or bad. We’re here only as long as you’re here, and I promise you all that as long as I am part of the Lovecraft Country staff that I will not let my fellow teammates forget the imprortance of customer service, and I will try my best to make it fun for them to be a Tweener.
    SH Willow