Word to the Retailwise I

Upgrade and simplify systems to avoid losses due to POS errors.

The majority of retail employees can tell you at least one story about something ‘weird’ or ‘unexplainable’ that their POS (Point of Sale)system does. Honestly, you would be surprised at how many of these systems are not user friendly.

And anything that is not user friendly….is, by definition, error friendly! And errors cost you money.

Retail store employees are not sitting back in a calm, quiet office environment – plucking one thing out of their in-tray at a time. They are usually running around doing several things at once, all the while their workplace is open to the public. Talk about multi-tasking!

We heard about a Store Manager who was not allowed, or able, to open her cash drawer with a key. So, if the POS system would not obey a command to open the drawer for any number of reasons…and, yes, there are plenty of very good reasons…then everything stopped. Staff were frustrated and customers were angry.

She recalled a day when the drawer was closed after a sale. The moment it was closed the cashier realized she had short changed the customer. Too late! Too bad! You can imagine the scene there!

Anyway, the point being made is that POS systems must be designed to take the nature of the business into account. Don’t go out and buy one based on price alone. Make sure it does everything you need it to do…and make sure it does it simply.

One last thought….receiving merchandise into the POS system, and transferring merchandise out, must be a straight forward and quick process. If it’s not, you’ll see the results in your shrinkage – real or not – you may never know.

Make sure your customer knows that you value their business.

It sounds straight forward but, here’s a story about an employee who thought that he was doing me a favor by processing my order! Seriously.

I was driving home from an afternoon spent with relatives in a distant city. I spent about 8 hours in my car that day. I was tired and hungry. So, I stopped at one of those service centres that are dotted along major highways and I went in and placed an order for some food. I had two or three different choices of food vendors.

The employee took my order, and my money, and told me to move aside while I waited for my food. No problem, I didn’t want to be in the way of other customers.

Then, after a few minutes, the employee put my hot sandwich on my tray. He told me that the other item I had ordered would be ready in about 5 minutes or so. You know, 5 minutes…’or so’… is not really a long time but, at a fast food restaurant you kind of expect it to be…well, fast.

So, I told him that he should keep the sandwich until my second item was ready. He said “No, you can just go ahead and start eating and then come back when it’s ready.” I told him that I understood that I could but I would rather have them at the same time. His reply was “What’s the problem? You have something to eat, just come back in a few minutes.” And he had a fake smile pasted on his face the whole time.

I was tired and exasperated….tired of these employees who treat me like I’m being difficult…like they really don’t care if they have my business or not.

In no mood for a battle of wits with the guy, I found a place to sit down and I ate my sandwich.

Several minutes later, after I had finished my sandwich, a different employee brought my second item out to me and I thanked him. But I still felt that I wasn’t treated properly. This feeling could have been avoided if the employee I encountered first had responded differently; if he had just shown a tiny bit of respect for his customer. He had plenty of options open to him.

Many might say this is no big deal…but when, exactly, is it a big deal?

Very few companies go down overnight. It’s a gradual process which happens one dissatisfied or disappointed customer at a time. Be good to all of your customers…one at a time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *