Point of sale (POS) software has become commonplace in most retail stores today. Large chains have the advantage of analyzing their sales across the country with a few clicks of a button. And small, independently owned stores have learned how the software eases their month-end accounting duties. A basic point of sale software system provides all businesses an efficient and easy method to assess, monitor and respond to sales data. However, some businesses concentrate so much on the behind-the-scenes data that they fail to consider how POS software impacts the day-to-day interactions between customers and customer service representatives.
Imagine being stuck in a line up to a cash register. It might be the Christmas season or simply a busy shopping weekend. You peer down the line to see what the problem is. It is the cashier – they are having difficulty with a transaction. Perhaps their computer will not scan a coupon properly or an item’s sale price is not appearing. Maybe the credit card terminal is not working or perhaps the clerk is having difficulty exchanging an item. Whatever the issue is, it effects both the customer who is directly involved as well as the other customers who are waiting. POS software has the possibility to hinder sales as much as help them. The longer a transaction takes, the more likely a store will be to lose customers.
These day-to-day interactions between customers and cashiers are a key site to evaluate when considering POS software. The system may promise a myriad of statistics, evaluation tools and accounting functions. But if it delays a sale or affects a customer’s perception of a business, then it does not matter how wonderfully it tabulates data. Cashiers have to be able to easily use the software so they can serve customers.
POS software has as much of an influence on employee retention as it does on customer service. If a cashier’s role is confined to how well they operate a point of sale system, and the system is consistently difficult, then the cashier is likely to start looking for another job. Consider how the point of sale software contributes to an employee’s duties. Do they have the autonomy to trouble-shoot when necessary? For example, if a cashier has difficulty scanning a coupon, does your business allow the cashier to over-ride the computer so the customer can still use the coupon? Is an employee able to do a quick product exchange for a customer or is the system designed to make the process embarrassingly arduous?
One of the simplest ways to evaluate and improve the use of POS software is to offer training to employees. A formal training session helps businesses in three ways. One, it supports frontline staff in providing superb customer service. Second, it provides employees with the confidence to use the system efficiently while giving them a safe place to make mistakes or ask questions.