In efforts to franchise the business, the arcade founding team decided to codify store operations through an operations manual.
New to the team, I provided valuable feedback by auditing the current process and sharing my thoughts. I then used my copy writing expertise and analytical thinking to (re)write various parts of the manual. After taking the lead for the project, I delegated each employee to focus on just the part of our operations they were most familiar with. Finally, I reviewed and iterated on the manual by training new hires with the documentation.
As a result of this process, we were able to improve our customer service, which increased our 5-star reviews from ~150 to over 500 across multiple platforms. It also decreased the time it took to train new employees from a month to less than a week.
See more info about the front and backstage in the next slide.
A new company with no documentation
iSimu VR is Georgia's first and largest VR arcade. The most popular arcades across the country franchised early in order to gain brand recognition. We wanted to do the same, and needed to codify our operations to be franchise-ready.
These are the biggest problems we needed to solve:
It took roughly a month to train new employees due to disparate systems.
There was no standard way to quickly troubleshoot technical issues.
Every employee had their own way to interact with customers.
How to distinguish ourselves from local competitors who all had the same general technology with additional features.
Using fresh eyes to spot overlooked problems
This project was already in motion when I joined the company. Since I was the newest member of the team, I was able to provide feedback on parts of the business that was not easily understood.
I first inspected the most visible part of the business: front desk operations.
I then reviewed my favorite aspect of our arcade: the games and the virtual game selection menu.
Additionally, I analyzed various backend processes: troubleshooting, cleaning maintenance, and our inventory system.
Streamlining the employee experience to create better customer service
Confident in my knowledge of how every aspect of the business functions, I not only gave suggestions on what to document, but also what improvements we should consider:
The POS system needed to be simplified to reduce employee mistakes, subsequently increasing customer experience.
Our website needed to be more clear since ~60% of phone calls were asking about basic information that was inadequately explained on the site.
Employees would benefit from having a policy and a guide to communicate more effectively and consistently.
Troubleshooting needed to be standardized and communicated with the team more efficiently.
Delegating tasks to increase productivity
At this point, the prior project lead wanted to pass the project on to me. After gaining ownership of this initiative, I decided to restart the manual and pivot to reflect the changing landscape.
The original format was via powerpoint slides, but this made it too difficult to fit all the information we needed, so I created a document that was more comprehensive.
We eventually realized that franchising wasn't necessarily an appropriate goal, so I encouraged the team to focus on internal documentation that was more detailed.
I found Superhuman's product-market fit survey and used that to determine customer types as well as the best/worst parts of our service according to each of those customers.
I introduced the idea of Objective Key Results (OKR) to address concerns the owner had with productivity during slow times, and employee alignment with the vision.
This is a snapshot of our old project status sheet, where we tried to maintain some record of everything we were doing/planning to do. It's quite chaotic, to say the least, and mines was one of the more up-to-date!
As you can see with our updated sheet, it is much easier to focus on key assignments, measure progress, and keep track of everything over time.
We were able to improve the business in a number ways through my contributions. I was promoted to the new Arcade Operations Manager position to continue implementing and improving end-to-end operations where I could.