How to Ensure Your Customers Never Abandon a Queue Line Again
As a midsized retailer, you must’ve seen this happen many times. You have customers in a queue line, ready to pay for your products, but you don’t have enough people to serve them all quickly, which leads to – you guessed it! – some customers abandoning the line. What’s worse is that many of them never come back.
It’s the “last mile” – the final obstacle before your journey is over; the unexpected traffic jam right in front of your destination; that moment when your plane lands but you’re asked to wait inside. It’s the most painful stretch of any journey, because it feels the longest. That’s why customers can’t stand lineups.
According to a survey by TimeTrade, businesses alleged that they lost 75% of customers due to waiting times. A customer analysis from the American Express® Global Customer Service Barometer has shown that people are willing to wait only 14 minutes before being served. Moreover, nearly 50% of customers find waiting in line not just annoying but highly irritating, according to this research.
With the advent of online “instant gratification” services like Amazon, we predict that these numbers will only get worse. After all, why wait when you can just purchase something on your smartphone?
With that in mind, here are some tips on how you can prevent your customers from jumping ship during the “last mile.”
1. Upgrade Your POS Tech
First and foremost, take a look at the tools your people are using to see if you can speed things up. If your point-of-sale (POS) system is either outdated or unintuitive, then it may be making it difficult for your employees to process items quickly.
Some of the biggest bottlenecks happen when a customer requires a “special” service, like signing up of a loyalty card or making a custom order. The more difficult your POS system is to navigate, the longer it will take for your employees to process such requests quickly. This problem can become even worse when you have several new hires who are not familiar with the system.
If your POS system is convoluted enough, even a seasoned employee can forget where to find certain functionalities, particularly if they don’t use them regularly.
A great POS system can make a huge difference in this instance by ensuring your people can learn and navigate its various functionalities without any delays.
2. Consider Mobile POS
Many modern POS systems don’t even require a traditional cash register since they can be run on a tablet or a smartphone. Mobile POS (mPOS) can be very useful during your peak hours since it can allow your employees to scan items, take credit card payments, sign up for loyalty cards and even process returns on the spot – significantly reducing your lineups.
You can also use mPOS to enable your staff to instantly look up items and their availability from anywhere in the store, further streamlining the entire customer experience.
If you’re curious about POS mobility, find out why it’s becoming a trend among top retailers right here.
3. Streamline Returns
Nobody likes to return items. It’s a hassle. So, if a customer has to wait in line in addition to that, they’re more likely to get upset and leave your store for good.
You have several options:
- Go paperless. Keeping track of receipts is one of the biggest reasons why returns take a long time to process. By accepting payments via a mobile device, you can easily access customer transaction history and avoid the hassle of dealing with paper receipts. Alternatively, you can also email receipts to willing customers.
- Scan on the go. Get your staff to scan return items with their mobile device anywhere in the store (thanks to mPOS), ensuring people don’t have to line up for anything in the first place. This is especially useful during the holiday season, when returns are for more common.
- Utilize all your locations. Your customers don’t have to come back to the same location where they’ve purchased the product. Instead, you can set up your return process, so that they can bring it to any of your locations. This would require some careful inventory tracking and planning, but thanks to modern tech, it’s easily doable, as you can see here.
4. Speed up Age Verification
If you sell age-restricted items, such as alcohol, one potential bottleneck can be age verification – since customers can either take a while to find their ID or not have it at all. You can bypass this hassle by implementing biometric identification that can recognize and verify a customer’s age in a matter of seconds by scanning their face.
This system is particularly useful when it comes to self-checkouts since a customer no longer has to wait for a representative to verify their age.
5. Try One Line with Multiple Cashiers
You’ve probably seen these in places like Walmart, Target and many others. If you have more than one cashier, consider having one line leading to all of them at once instead of multiple lines leading to each of them.
This ensures that no customer ends up in a slow-moving line. If one cashier is stuck, there’s always someone else to take their place, meaning that everyone is served within a similar timeframe. Customers perceive this as a fairer method because they all get served in the order of arrival, leading to less frustration.
6. Create Special Stations for Complex Processes
If the same people process all your customer needs, consider creating stations for those rare “special” requests, like loyalty card signups, exchanges or refunds. The station doesn’t even have to be its own cash register. It can just be an employee with a tablet or a smartphone that has mPOS. Once you implement this, your lineups are guaranteed to move at a much faster clip.
Final Word: Get a POS System You Can Trust
You might’ve noticed this article mention a reliable POS system several times. It so happens that Magstar offers such a system to midsized retailers like you. You might be skeptical – of course, we’d say it’s “reliable”! You’re right. We would. We love our POS system.
However, we firmly encourage you to take a look at it for yourself. After all, seeing is believing. So, if you’d like to check out it out, Magstar President Steven Greenwood would love to give you a quick online demo.
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