Industry Commentary

Legacy Nintendo Support Provides Lesson in CX

By September 17, 2020January 10th, 2024No Comments

Sometimes the world gets so wrapped up in what appears on the horizon that it becomes easy to lose sight of the fundamentals.  This is certainly the case with customer experience management, a sector that is constantly fraught with changes and shifts.  Yet, getting distracted from the core values of what it means to provide consumers with the best service and support risks alienating end-users and sacrificing long-term revenue streams. It counts a lot in life to look for historical references, in order to level-set and get back on course. In this spirit, customer experience professionals need only to look toward how Nintendo approached CX in the early 90s for inspiration on how to do things right.

For anyone who has not yet seen it, the brilliant documentary series High Score on Netflix is a must.  Over the course of six bingeable episodes, High Score takes viewers on an in-depth evolution of the video game industry’s lifespan, chronicling its commercial peaks (such as Space Invaders in the late 1970s) and valleys (millions of ET cartridges buried in the New Mexico desert during the early 1980s). However, it is in the second installment, which discusses the approach to support for the burgeoning gamer community that was taken by Nintendo in the early-1990s, where customer experience professionals should pay particular interest.

Nintendo recognized early on that customer loyalty was essential to long-term success, both in terms of buying hardware upgrades and also new games. So the firm developed a formal game play counsellor team. This was a group of dedicated, mullet-sporting Nintendo experts who were charged with providing eager gamers with tips, tricks and advice that would help them reach the next level.  The training for the role was intense, with a lot to absorb, but according to those interviewed for the documentary series Nintendo grasped that having skilled counselors at the end of the line helping consumers get the most of their gaming experience would pay dividends over the long-term.

Neon clothing and questionable hairstyles aside, those appearing in this episode of High Score show that Nintendo’s approach to customer experience never goes out of style.

Nintendo’s CX lessons are clear for enterprises and their BPO partners.  No organization should lose sight of the fact that an enthusiastic team of people who are passionate about the product or service they support will exceed consumer expectations. This will in turn cement the relationship with the end-user.  However, what recent experience also shows is that it is not always straightforward to bring in this profile of individual to the customer experience setting, no matter the pay or benefits. But what is becoming abundantly clear is that the business model used to provide support can have a much bigger impact on sourcing the needed talent.

For some CX operators, they are likely to find that a more devolved way of engaging prospective brand ambassadors is the way to go.  In the case of technology or digital services, this is obvious. Many enterprises in these sectors and their BPO partners are finding that work from home or freelance ‘gig’ opportunities attracts the right demographic for their needs. Meanwhile, more conservative industries or companies could make better use of traditional facilities-based operations, where the required agent profile would feel more comfortable working.

But, the key element in this dynamic is finding people who are driven by a passion for a product or service and deploy them on the voice and digital frontlines.  After all, Nintendo captured this lightening in a bottle three decades ago, and it is still going strong; does anyone remember Vectrex?