Delivering the best customer service experiences at the checkout makes a tremendous difference to the success of your business.
The checkout is often the final interaction customers have with your team, making it your last chance to delight and impress. With this in mind, it’s important for cashiers to be courteous, smile, dress professionally, thank the customer, and do everything they can to make the checkout process as quick and efficient as possible.
While all of these are crucial, I want to focus on one small part of this final experience that can often be overlooked:
Using an impactful word choice when asking the customer:
“Did you find everything all right today?”
The importance of making the final impression a positive one
For an average list of ten items, there is a 40% chance the customer will not be able to find one or more of the items they need.
This is a significant number of customers who will leave the store feeling at least slightly unsatisfied with their shopping experience. Since checkout is often the last part of a shopping experience, it can be the biggest takeaway they’ll remember the next time they need to go shopping.
So how does such a simple question make a big impact on the customer’s experience?
An opportunity to solve a simple inventory issue
Twenty-five percent of the time products appear to be out of stock to a customer, it’s still in the store––just not on the shelf.
Other times, customers assume when a product isn’t where they think it should be, it must be out of stock when in fact it’s just in a different area of the store.
While asking customers if they found everything might seem like an insignificant service detail, it can be the only opportunity to let customers know you’re carrying something they couldn’t find. This is especially true if the customer doesn’t feel comfortable asking an associate themselves.
By identifying the issue before the customer leaves, you have the opportunity to find the product and have it brought to the checkout for them––a simple and almost effortless way to transform a disappointing experience into a positive one.
A chance to identify products you should start carrying
In addition to solving a quick inventory problem for customers on the spot, asking this question also gives you the opportunity to gather extremely important feedback about the products you aren’t (but should be) carrying.
If you don’t carry the item the customer is looking for, have your cashier fill out an item request form for the customer. If you can carry it, this saves customers a trip to another store in the future for just that one item. Whether you end up carrying the product or not, make sure to follow up on all item requests via email or phone call to let the customer know the outcome.
With that said, a customer’s inability to find an item doesn’t just hurt the overall customer experience, it also has real financial impacts on the store.
The average store loses 4% of their sales each year due to out-of-stock items
Let’s do some simple math here:
If cashiers identify instances where customers can’t find what they’re looking for just half of the time, and 25% of those can be solved right there in the store, that’s a .5% increase in sales each year. In other words, that five second question can generate a significant amount of money in sales alone.
31% of the time an item is out of stock, the customer will go to a different store to get it.
When this happens, it benefits competitors directly. Since your customer knows they’ll be making a second trip, they may put back other items that are on sale or are cheaper at your competitor’s store. Now one out of stock item has started a domino effect that:
hurts your overall customer experience
cuts into your sales, and
gives your competitors those sales instead.
Don’t give your competitors that opportunity.
While the data I used here comes from a supermarket focused research study, the same principles can be applied to any retail setting. Even if you aren’t able to get the item for them, it still shows you care enough to try, and like we saw earlier, the benefits far outweigh the tiny bit of effort it takes to ask.
Interacting with customers is just one of many dimensions of the in-store experience. Making sure all of your operations are running smoothly from store to store requires a system capable of managing daily tasks in a single platform.
If you’re in need of a better way to manage checklists, keep staff accountable, and perform effective audits, download our free eGuide filled with everything you need to know about task management systems, check out the guide below!