One of the things that makes a small business stand out from the crowd? Personal interaction. Gallup found that 70% of Americans have confidence in small businesses as a result of personal experience. Conversely, only 21% of Americans feel that same confidence in big businesses. Amazon might be taking over the world, but customers still prefer the close relationship they have with local merchants.
Building a relationship with your customers comes naturally to many small business owners. As a result, you may not think strategically about the “script” that guides the interaction between your team and a customer during the checkout process. It’s just a moment for friendly conversation, no?
Actually, customer checkout is a critical moment when you can use that great relationship to boost your profits. Think of the interaction at checkout as the cherry on the shopper experience sundae: at a minimum, it can leave your customer with warm happy feelings about your business. At maximum, it can lead to a few more dollars in the bank–and perhaps some new loyal fans. Here are some ways to make sure your cashiers capitalize on your business’s great reputation to deliver bigger sales during checkout.
It sounds basic, but one of the best ways to connect with your customer is to make eye contact and smile. Eye contact can make an interaction more memorable, more persuasive, and more appealing. Even when checkout lines get busy, this is the one thing your cashiers should always do. It personalizes the customer’s experience and keeps the relationship human. When was the last time you made eye contact with an Amazon drone?
Upselling and cross-selling is important–but it needs to hit the right tone. Train your cashiers to keep the product suggestions low-key and relevant to the customer’s recent purchase. A conversational tone helps a lot. For example, try something like, “I love pairing that marinara you bought with this wonderful Barolo red we carry.” If they express any interest, make sure the cashier can send a floater to grab a bottle. Pro-tip: don’t make a cross-sell or upsell on items of a personal nature.
In improv comedy, one of the key things performers learn to be good partners is the phrase “yes, and.” Your cashiers can use that phrase too, especially since improvisation is key! During checkout, don’t make all of your employees up-sell the same product. Let them improvise and suggest products based on context. You can give them a cheat sheet of pairings they might throw out there based on a customer’s basket. Bottom line: cashiers shouldn’t sound like robots.
As a small business owner, you probably know who your regulars and VIP customers are. But as you grow, your employees may not share that knowledge. Clover Rewards lets your cashiers know when they’re dealing with a VIP and roll out the red carpet accordingly. Research shows that existing customers spend 67% more than new customers and help bring new customers through the door. Therefore, your checkout experience should be the icing on the cake when it comes to shopping at your business.
Save the small talk for when foot traffic is slow! When things are busy, cashiers need to move fast while still seeming friendly. A little grace under pressure goes a long way—and Clover can help make lines flow smoothly. The Clover Flex and Clover Mini allow you to take orders while people wait (aka, “line busting”). During rush hour, the Clover Go can help you process payments faster by activating other employees to check out customers. Plus, the Station Duo combo makes it easy for the customer to complete checking out while the cashier is freed up to bag products or run down items as needed.
Who is your team’s all-star? Figure out what they’re doing right, and share their script with the rest of the team. It gives you a good opportunity for a little employee recognition, as well as the chance to perfect what’s working. Co-creating a script with cashiers’ input will make it 1000x times better. They’ll help you reveal operational holes and ways to structure your team. Learn if you need to free up people to help during a rush, or to empower cross-selling at other points of the customer journey.
Dealing with cash? Make sure you’re cutting down on mistakes and not missing money. It’s a good practice to count back the change to a customer instead of handing them a bunch of bills. If there is ever a dispute, your cashier can show that it is unlikely to be their fault (or remedy the mistake quickly).
Your cashiers aren’t Broadway stars, nor should they be forced to memorize a script on top of their other responsibilities. Try using the Employee Reminder app to send messages periodically to your Clover device prompting them to make cross-sells, upsells, or just remember to smile. There’s no need to micromanage, but sometimes a friendly reminder is all it takes to boost a customer’s checkout experience.
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