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Ode to GameStop

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By Jody Padar
January 27, 2014

GameStop, one of my very favorite stores, is having a hard time.

Why is GameStop one of my favorite places?

I know nothing about video gaming.

Nothing!

I have an almost 12-year-old son who lives the life of a gamer. And, well, GameStop has taken care of me for the last five years. They have treated me with kindness and respect even though I am clueless. They have been my lifeline to video purchases and expertise for my son. The clerks are experienced gamers and know everything about all the games they sell.  They have taught my son social skills.

It is only in this store that my somewhat shy son has learned how to deal directly with the clerks and have them respond enthusiastically, with patience. They have shown him the way and marketed their way to my heart through free Pokémon characters.

Even though Big Box stores are plentiful, I prefer to shop at GameStop. I would refer my friends to their store, hands down. But word on the street is that GameStop is going to have a hard time soon because of an influx of digital gaming purchases. I hope GameStop figures out a way to combine their traditional customer-friendly approach with a new, innovative way to make money.

So what does this have to do with CPA firms?

Everything.

CPA firms need to pay attention because the way consumers purchase accounting services is completely changing. Clients go to the web first—similar to the way video games are being purchased.

If you look at the Mom clueless factor, it’s pretty similar to our clueless customer concerned with complex tax laws in that the consumer is depending on the CPA to understand and solve the problem. We have been the teachers of accounting for the small business.

It doesn’t matter that customer service has been outstanding for more than 20 years—the business environment has changed and we are playing a new ball game. All that sweat equity in customer service has to be rebuilt with a new platform in mind. And, most likely, even a new business model.

I see it happening already, the firms that get it are changing. The other firms are just losing business and will be extinct in the next few years.  Merging won’t solve the problem. Firms need to change. 

GameStop and CPAs still have time to change their old way of doing business while they still have some believers. It’s our job to figure out how to take that referral base and customer loyalty and redefine it to expand into the new business environment, so we don’t become extinct.

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