How To Make a Winning Impression At Checkout
Every successful small business knows the value of a great reputation for quality customer service. In the highly competitive retail marketplace, customer experience often creates a stronger differentiation from your competition than product selection and even price. The checkout process is often overlooked in the context of customer experience. After all, the customer is already converted and waiting to hand over their payment, right? The reality is that the checkout process will remain in the customer’s consciousness as they leave your store and has a strong impact on their likelihood to become a return customer. Here are some strategies to make the checkout process as enjoyable for your customers as it can be.
Make Your Point Of Sale Accessible and Easy To Manage
All shoppers have experienced retail stores with hard to find and seemingly hidden checkout terminals. Even worse is the image of a crowded checkout station next to registers that are empty because of poor staffing. No matter what the overall decor and ambiance of your retail space may be, always be sure that your points of sale are easy to find and that there are employees nearby and ready to help. Your checkout area should be as roomy as possible, with space for customers to place their items while they are preparing to make payment.
Ask Customers For Feedback At Checkout
Engaging customers with some questions at checkout is an easy way to improve satisfaction. Asking for feedback should go beyond just “did you find what you were looking for?” Asking simple questions about whether the customer got assistance while shopping and what kinds of things they were shopping for will make most customers feel that you are invested in their satisfaction. You also will be able to address any issues that they are willing to share so that you can address them on the spot and turn an otherwise negative experience into a positive outcome.
Understand That Checkout Stations Involve More Than Sales
Customers often approach checkout with something other than a simple sale. They may be looking to return items, ask where something is inside the store, or make a complaint. Every staffer at checkout should be ready to transition immediately into a top-quality customer service agent. When possible, offer whatever assistance is needed. If a manager or other agent is needed to help, the customer should be engaged in a positive way until assistance is available. Customers do not identify positively with a “not my job” attitude, which can destroy a customer relationship beyond repair in an instant.
Customers are often completely desensitized to “How are you today?” and “Thanks, please come again.” Your retail brand is not enhanced with ordinary small talk that does not register with customers. Asking simple questions about how customers enjoy particular products and offering sincere compliments is far superior to scripted greetings. Even small efforts at personal interaction can improve customer experience, and personal contact also has a strong impact on employee experience and satisfaction. A simple kind word and a sincere smile go a very long way in making both parties to the conversation feel better about your business.
Train Employees To Enhance Customer Experience
Finally, it is vital that every member of your team who handles the checkout process is properly trained to make the checkout process enjoyable. Employees who fail to engage with customers or are not proactive in handling any potential issues during checkout will leave customers with a negative impression when leaving your store. That’s a virtual guarantee that they will not be coming back to shop with you again. Make customer experience the centerpiece of employee evaluation and rewards.
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