The Retailer’s Guide to Cashier Training
The Retailer’s Guide to Cashier Training
Why cashiers are so important
Cashiers are often the first, and sometimes the only point of contact for your customer during their visit. Therefore, you rely heavily on your cashiers to give a great impression of your business.
Good cashiers can delight your customers, offering pleasant interactions, knowledge, and insights. This can help to build trust, improving your sales and increasing customer loyalty. They can also boost revenue through point of sale upselling and cross-selling.
On the flip side, poorly trained checkout staff can make errors. This could potentially cause all kind of problems, creating errors in your inventory count, causes financial losses or even upsetting your customer, costing you reputation and maybe even customer retention.
So you can see why it’s important to implement a proper training program before your staff ever get to meet your customers. Take the time to ensure they are competent instead of throwing them in at the deep end. In the long term, that could be a costly mistake for your business.
Realistically, cashier training can be expected to be ongoing for up to a month, depending on their experience. Training a new staff member may seem time consuming, but it’s time well spent in the long term.
It’s a good idea to create a training manual for your store as you go. This will ensure training is consistent between staff members, and that some self-learning can be undertaken. It will also save you time and resources in the future, as your guide can be used and improved on an ongoing basis.
Firstly, get your documentation in order. Once contracts are signed, go through your important policies and procedures. These might include:
- H.R. processes
- Injury or emergency procedures
- Daily/weekly/monthly procedures
Outline what your business does and give a tour of the store and facilities, highlighting what’s where and who’s who. Give new starters a feel for your company culture and your expectations.
Talk about areas of responsibility. What will their own responsibilities be? They might include:
- Greeting customers
- Processing transactions
- Cash handling
- Operating the POS system
- Promoting sales and loyalty programs
- Answering the phone
- Assisting customers
- Pricing items
- Stocking shelves
- Stock ordering
- Maintaining store appearance
- Brand image
Other people’s responsibilities are just as important. Who are the experts? Where can they go for help? Introduce other staff members and line managers, and highlight the chain of command.
Let your new staff member know clearly what’s expected of them. Run through things like appearance, dress code, checkout procedures.
Outline how to handle common questions and issues from customers.
Teach upselling and cross-selling skills, and let them know your expectations when it comes to counter sales.
Are there particular greetings or deals you like to offer your customer? For example, do you like to welcome them by name, if you know it? Or greet them with a ‘welcome to your store name’ and a smile?
Maybe you need to check if they bought fuel, or if they have a loyalty card? Do you encourage your staff to offer package deals or extra products based on a customers purchases? If you do, be sure to included these in your training.
Set them some goals and targets, and outline how they can achieve them.
Your customers should be everyone’s priority. Their instore experience will affect whether or not they return, if they will recommend you, and can even determine how much they spend. Ultimately, customers can make or break your business.
It’s valuable to teach new staff members the importance of great customer care from their very first day. Remember, they may never have dealt with customers before, and some simple advice on customer care can make everyone’s experience better:
- Be friendly and professional. Customers generally respond well to staff who are pleasant and friendly, but there is a balance. Over familiarity can be off putting, so it’s also important to remain professional.
- Be helpful. we are all somebody’s customer, so ask your new staff member to channel their very best customer service experiences. Encourage willingness to help: answering peoples questions, resolving their issues, and going that extra mile. Chances are, they won’t be able to help at the beginning, so encourage asking lots of questions.
- From up-selling and cross-selling to conflict resolution, your best tools are your ears. Ask your customer questions, encourage them to speak and then listen to what they have to say.
Impart your company values as well as your procedures, so everyone is clear what’s expected and there is consistency. This can help you to create a happier work environment with reduced complaints and staff turnover, which of course, benefits everyone.
Assign adequate EPOS system access and a unique log in code to your new recruit.
Run through the basic system functions, how to complete a transaction, where to find products and information. Teach them how the system manages inventory and generates reports so that they can see the importance of accurate input.
Here are some ideas to add to your POS training list:
- Overview of the system features
- Inputting and looking up products
- Taking all types of payments
- Arranging with refunds and discounts
- Selling and redeeming gift cards
- Dealing with promotions
- Age restricted products
- Using the barcode scanner and receipt printer
- Reconciling the till
- How to use any integrated features
- Your EPOS provider may offer training resources, including manuals or video information. If you need more assistance, ask if they can offer online, telephone or in-store training.
Once you’ve provided basic training, pair your trainee up with an experienced staff member to oversee how they do things, before trying it out for themselves.
This may seem like a waste of resources, especially when you are short staffed and busy, but correcting errors will take longer in the long run, and can negatively impact your new staff members confidence.
It can be useful to identify new staff members as learners. A ‘trainee’ badge or sign forewarns customers who are in a hurry, and encourages shoppers to be patient while they learn.
Once your trainee is confident to carry out their duties, try to ensure they are never left truly alone. There should always be someone available in the early days to answer questions that arise.
Your business will benefit from staff knowing some basic selling techniques.
As your cashiers will often be the only point of contact for your customers, teach them how to make the most of each sale.
Start by ensuring they are knowledgeable about your products, and encourage ongoing learning.
Every customer should be acknowledged. A friendly welcome, a smile or simply make eye contact; it doesn’t need to be over the top.
Have them ask questions where appropriate, and most importantly, listen to the answers. There may be an opportunity to improve sales through cross-selling or upselling
Encourage your team to share their own positive product experiences. An honest personal recommendation can be more persuasive than any promotion.
Take some time to talk about security. There are plenty of schemes and scams out there that can leave your business vulnerable. Make sure that your assistants know what to look for.
Watch out for common schemes like counterfeit bank notes (you can keep a marker out the counter in case there’s any doubt), price tag swapping and return fraud. Also, have them keep an eye out for suspicious behaviour and check for stolen credit cards.
There’s a lot to take on board for a new starter. It might seems easy to you now, but be prepared to revisit training material and repeat yourself more than once for the benefit of new staff. Ultimately, well trained staff will bring greater benefits in the long term.
Training should be ongoing for everybody. Retail is fast moving, so it’s important to make sure everyone is up to date when things change.
Ensure staff are kept in the loop about the business. Upcoming plans, new products and services, anything that can affect them and your customers should be communicated.
Who are we?
Retail Solutions is a market-leading EPOS provider with over 25 years of business experience. Our leading sectors are convenience stores, supermarkets, forecourts, and pharmacies.
We are dedicated to providing your store with the most up-to-date and reliable point of sale hardware, along with software management tools to help you manage your business effectively.
Our self-checkout partners are NCR, who are global leaders in self-checkout technology.
To find out more about what we do, get in touch to chat with one of our knowledgeable consultants:
About the author:
- Susan McGuire is originally from London, United Kingdom, and has now lived in Galway, Ireland, for 15 years.She has been with Retail Solutions for almost 7 of those, and during that time has enjoyed various roles within the areas of Maintenance, Finance, & Marketing.You can follow her on LinkedIn!