Are you looking to improve the quality of service provided by your business? Let’s be real, who isn’t? There is always something that can be improved. Retailers, restaurant owners, and many other product or service providers can see significant changes if they are willing to give customer service the attention it deserves. For those who use Point of Sale (POS) solutions to help run a business, have you ever thought about how a good POS system can affect your business? We have asked 20 customer experts from 20 different industries how they believe customer service can be improved. Take a look at their suggestions and after we will see just how interrelated customer service and point of sale really are. Real estate Ramya Menon – Editor for Bayut “The person complaining will know it’s not your fault, as will the onlookers, but blaming or passing the buck is never a good look for a company, and somebody taking the heat on social media will help diffuse the situation quicker.” Virtual private networks Will Ellis – Founder of Privacy Australia “Going the extra step to make clients feel as if they are part of a community is the best approach to customer service. Finding an angle to make your customers feel as though they are being supported when you’re not talking to them takes a lot of work out of your hands. You can do this by helping your clients to feel as if they are part of a group, not just one of your many clients.” Project management solutions Ben Ashton – Founder of The Digital Project Manager “Customer service isn’t just about responding to complaints and helping customers troubleshoot their issues. To really take it to the next level, you should be capitalizing on all of the valuable feedback you’re getting (complaints, reports, support tickets) by routing it to your product or development teams.” Baby gear rental Trish McDermott – BabyQuip McDermott provides a rental service to travelers who need to rent cribs, high chairs, and other equipment. She says, “We learned that small acts of kindness, like showing up with cold water on a warm day when greeting a family at an airport, or offering to pick up a few snacks and leave them at the customer's Airbnb, made a big difference in a customer's experience. And when we took calls from customers with concerns, we knew exactly what they were talking about and how to solve the problem.” Customer service Mike McCarron – VP of Customer Success at Gladly “First and foremost, customers want to be treated like people, not ticket numbers or cases to be resolved. To create a loyal customer base in today’s highly competitive market, brands must offer customer service that’s not only seamless and convenient, but feels personal and tailored to them.” Products for Mothers Luna Feehan – Founder of Legendairy Milk Feehan credits customer service to the success of her business in the form of a supportive community. By providing education, understanding, and support to new mothers, there is a trust and comfort level for Legendairy Milk. She has been able to do this through a variety of platforms including social media, email, telephone, and in-person at consumer events. Data Solutions David Selden-Treiman – Director of Operations for Potent Pages “It's also essential that you always learn from every client interaction. Not all client interactions will apply to every scenario, and never assume that all clients will match your past experience. However, the more experience you have, the more you can understand how to communicate with clients. Focus on bringing out what you need and helping the client understand how you will make their needs happen. That's how to get happy clients for life.” Transcription services Benjamin K. Walker – CEO for Transcription Outsourcing LLC “We improve our customer service internally first and then externally second. By internally, I mean we listen and provide feedback to each other on how that call could have gone better and talk about it amongst ourselves.” Eyewear Greg Bullock – Marketing Manager at TheraSpecs Bullock suggests that you go through the following 4–step process to see how you can improve your customer service: Measuring your current service level Identifying pain points Developing a roadmap Experimenting, measuring, and iterating Retail transformation Carlos Castelán – Managing Director of The Navio Group “In today’s competitive business world where consumers can shop online for many different options, in-store owners and managers must offer outstanding customer experience and service to attract and keep return shoppers. Small businesses can compete with online retail giants like Amazon by providing great customer service, or an imaginative experience.” Strategic Marketing Paige Arnof-Fenn – Founder and CEO at Mavens & Moguls While encouraging representatives to provide timely responses, take responsibility, and be professional, Arnof-Fenn also feels that you should always work with, not against customers. She says, “The goal is not to wear them down or impress them with your smarts. The goal is to connect, communicate clearly, solve the problem and move on.” Press Release Distribution Services Snow Qu – Founder and CEO of Linking News Qu suggests a short list of tips to help these interactions be positive and forward-moving: A customer not only buys the product, but the experience as well You need to focus on and understand each customer’s needs Empathy and patience are central to your success Hired representatives should not only act as trained professionals, but they should be trained professionals. Funding for businesses Jared Weitz – Founder and CEO at United Capital Source Inc. “Your customer service employees are your first customers. When you treat your employees well, they will treat customers even better. From our first customer service hire and onward we have stressed the value that they hold within the company.” Energy pricing solutions Ollie Smith – CEO at Energy Seek “By routinely educating your customers, you elevate the importance of your relationship in their eyes. Additionally, knowing your customers’ names offers a more personalized service and humanizes the relationship you have with them.” Website-based communications Solutions Patsy Nearkhou – Digital Marketer for Talkative “Having a multichannel approach is a necessity, but to deliver truly exceptional customer service, an integrated approach is key. However, there is a catch. It is better to have slightly fewer customer contact channels which can be managed properly and efficiently than to offer a plethora of channels with half-decent support.” Financial services Valerie Moran – Head of Operations and Client Relations for Prepaid Financial Services Moran notes that vulnerable customers may need a bit more attention than others. She offers the following suggestions to ensure quality service to these individuals: Be aware of the needs and comfort level of your customer Treat everyone with dignity and respect Ask the customers for their preferences Set clear expectations for the conversation Avoid assumptions and listen Clarify understanding after each main point Life insurance Brian Greenberg – True Blue Life Insurance “Focus on “ABN,” always be nice, instead of “ABC,” always be closing.” This has helped generate excellent customer reviews and facilitated kind, peaceful, and respectful service to customers. Revenue and potential solutions Kean Graham – CEO of MonetizeMore While working with clients over the years, Graham has pin-pointed three key points to help improve customer service: Measure your customer experience (through surveys or ratings) Set goals (aim big and reach for the stars) Give feedback via examples (make them actionable) Immigration law Joshua L. Goldstein – Founder of Law Offices of Joshua L. Goldstein Working to help immigrants to get green cards, visas, citizenship, and more, Joshua has to practice excellent customer service every day. “To drive this home, I return my clients’ calls right away, I greet them with a smile and learn about them and their families, and I do other little things to make their experience of working with me more positive. One way or another, the client will feel the full weight of this firm behind them and in their corner.” Wedding rentals Kim Hawkins – President of www.EventsWholesale.com “It is most important that you acknowledge and validate ANY concern that a customer brings to you, even if your business is not responsible. If you do not validate their concern, the customer will not feel that you are taking them seriously.” How are customer service and point of sale connected? According to all 20 representatives from different industries, customer service should be personal, kind, patient, and responsible. Recent integrations in point of sale solutions allow for businesses to connect directly with customers via email, text messages, and phone calls. This is all a part of the POS software provided. Customers are also able to leave reviews or complaints that are delivered directly to the business POS system. One other incredibly useful feature in recent POS solutions is creating customer profiles. In these profiles you can leave notes regarding past purchases, personal preferences with service, frequency of visits, etc. Knowing this about your customers helps you to serve them far better than they expect you to. How would you like to walk into your favorite coffee shop that you drop by every morning at 9:00 a.m. to see your order hot and ready on the counter awaiting your pickup? POS solutions are no longer just payment processors; they are hubs for excellent customer service and satisfaction. If your current POS solution does not provide these features, it may be time to look for a new one. This list of POS service providers will help you with your research.
Are you a business owner? Do you work at a business where your current point of sale solution is causing problems. It may be time to explore your options to ensure you are getting the best bang for your buck. The following five companies are POS solution providers come highly recommended. Each of these companies has been ranked with over a four out of five rating by customers. Hopefully this can help you find the right company for your POS needs. Clover: Best POS system Types of POS — Clover provides solutions for full-service restaurants, quick-service restaurants, retail businesses, and service and repair businesses. This is a great perk because a large number of POS providers cater to the needs of just one industry instead of having compatibility with software to run any of these businesses. Software and hardware — Both POS software and POS hardware are provided in these packages to provide optimal services and functionality. This helps you to create a reputation of seamless transactions with all of your customers which builds customer loyalty. Mobile compatibility — Clover software is compatible with mobile devices making management and use that much simpler. Pricing — The Clover Mini Retails for $399 but check for promotional sales for new users. The Clover Flex is on sale for $450, the Clover Station is being sold for $1,300, and the Clover Go is being sold for just $90. These are promotional prices, so it is not guaranteed that they will remain the same. The software and apps each have their own price. Common complaints — Users have complained that the system seems to be catered towards restaurants even though it says it is for many types of POS. They also mentioned that they struggled working with customer service when trying to get help or to cancel the service. TouchBistro: Restaurant point of sale solution for iPad Types of POS — TouchBistro specializes in restaurant point of sale solutions. It is not easily compatible with retail POS or other POS needs. Software and hardware — The software used by TouchBistro allows owners and managers to run the restaurant from an iPad or an iPhone. The only other hardware used are payment processors and receipt printers. Mobile compatibility — This software is compatible with iPhones. Pricing — A number of pricing options are available. Solo plan — one license can be purchased for $69 per month if you are only going to use the software and for $105 per month if you would like the hardware as well. This is used mostly for quick service venues. Dual plan — two licenses can be purchases for $129 per month for just the software and for $209 per month for the software/hardware bundle. This is most commonly used for quick service venues and small restaurants. Team plan — three to five licenses costs $249 per month for the software or $359 per month for the bundle of software and hardware. This plan is used for midsize restaurants or bars. Unlimited plan — six or more licenses costs $399 per month if you just want the software and $539 per month if you would like the software and the hardware. This is most commonly used for high-volume restaurants or bars. Common complaints — The two main issues that users have with TouchBistro is that it is only compatible with iOS devices and that it only caters to restaurants. LightSpeed: Restaurant and retail POS provider Types of POS — LightSpeed provides POS solutions for both restaurants and retailers. Software and hardware — LightSpeed provides customers with both software and hardware. It provides iPad as well as desktop hardware including label printers, cash drawers, bluetooth barcode scanners, USB barcode scanners, and receipt printers. The software includes reporting, inventory management, customer management, and much more to help managers keep things running even when offline. Mobile compatibility — This software is compatible with a mobile device allowing you to see reports, manage employees, and much more all using the cloud system. Pricing — The retail POS payment plan starts at $99 per month and includes a register, access for five employees, 24/7 support, free updates, basic reporting, and secure cloud backup. All payments are subject to a 2.6 percent + $0.10 service fee. The restaurant POS starts at just $69 per month and includes a register, personalized onboarding, 24/7 support, free updates, secure cloud backup, and basic reporting. Common complaints — The most common complaint that users had for LightSpeed was the pricing. They felt that it was pricey compared to other POS providers. Square: Free software for retail, restaurant, and appointment POS solutions Types of POS — Square POS offers POS solutions for retailers, restaurant, and small business owners that schedule appointments with clients. A good example of appointments is a hairdresser. Software and hardware — Square offers a number of software and hardware options. Hardware for sale includes: The Square Register, Square Stand, Square Terminal, cash drawers, USB receipt printer, printer paper, eero Wi-Fi, USB barcode scanner, and the Ethernet Kitchen Printer. Mobile compatibility — Square is compatible with mobile devices allowing business owners to keep things running even when not present at the business location. Pricing — The only thing you pay for other than the hardware is a basic fee for each transaction. Depending on the hardware you decide to use, the fee will be between 2.75 percent–2.5 percent + $0.10 per transaction. The hardware available includes the square register which can be purchased for $799, the Square Stand that facilitates contactless and chip transactions which costs $199, and the Square Terminal costing $399. Common complaints — The most common complaint among customer reviews is poor experience with customer service. LivePOS: A retail POS specialist Types of POS — LivePOS provides a number of software options to retailers. This includes clothing and apparel stores, jewelry shops, liquor stores, cellphone and accessories providers, fitness and health stores, service and repair shops, vape shops, retail stores, and kiosks. Software and hardware — LivePOS unfortunately does not support a long list of hardware options. The current devices that are supported are a LivePad, a tablet, receipt printer, cash register, USB credit card swiper, and a Verifone Pin Pad. The software provided facilitates cash sales, credit card sales, split sales, coupons, text alerts, gift cards, clocking in and out, company chat, offline mode, refunding, exchanges, barcode printing and scanning, inventory, and cash registers. Mobile compatibility — You are able to use any type of mobile device to access your dashboard to see company data and statistics and communicate with employees. Pricing — For a single outlet plan, you can pay $89 per month. This plan comes with a real-time dashboard, customer relationship management, sales and inventory reports, and inventory management. If you would like to add an additional lane, it will cost an additional $39 per lane. For the growing chain plan, you will pay $129 per month and this plan includes all of the features in the smaller plan, employee payroll and commission, vendors and purchase orders, custom access levels, chat and sms alerts, customized tenders, work order and repair, invoicing and accounts receivable, analysis and reporting, and an additional discount. For franchise pricing, you will need to contact a representative for a bid. Common complaints —The main complaint made by users is the high pricing. The majority of those that complained of this mentioned that though the price was higher, the quality of the product was well worth it. Getting to know the competition will help you to make the best decision for your company’s future POS solution! Good luck!
Do you remember the days when you still carried cash to make purchases? The truth is, credit cards have been on the market now for almost 70 years causing a change in the point of sale industry to facilitate credit card transactions. Currently, about 50 percent of the population doesn’t carry cash with them while the other 50 percent carry between $10 to $15, mostly for the purpose of tipping. In large part, this shift is due to the major changes that have taken place in the technology industry. Simple, easy-to-use point of sale (POS) systems are now easily accessible to businesses of all size and type. In this article we will discuss a bit of the history of point of sale, some new incredible features, and possibilities of what POS may provide in the future. The past As a first job in high school, Baron Christopher Hanson, current lead consultant and owner of RedBaron Consulting and Baron Christopher Creative, was installing point of sale software and computers. According to Hanson, the CPU’s that were used were slow, causing static lines of people waiting for each transaction to be completed. In addition, though salespeople were able to be out on the floor helping customers, they had to know the status of their inventory, otherwise they would take a significant amount of time checking the back for a product that they didn’t even know if they had in stock. While the introduction of POS systems was an improvement, its implementation was a painful process. Perhaps no industry has been impacted more by the technological revolution than merchant services. Over the last 10–15 years, you have seen major players in the POS space — Square, Stripe, ShopKeep, Clover, TouchBistro, Toast, etc. — emerge with tech-forward solutions aimed to help a merchant run transactions and manage their business more efficiently. — Matthew Speiser, Merchant Services Expert at Fundera The present Since the time that Hansen was installing point of sale software in the 80’s, a number of things have changed. Technology has exploded over the past couple decades, allowing for a number of new features that have changed the way a number of businesses are run. When is the last time that you went to Chick-Fil-A during busy hours? At some highly frequented locations, employees are now helping in the drive-thru lanes, taking orders and payments on hand-held POS devices. Who would have thought when McDonalds started the first “fast” food chain that processes could become even faster and more efficient? Another incredible feature that has increased customer satisfaction and employee efficiency significantly is inventory management. Software now tracks each item that enters the store. This could be clothing, shoes and accessories, ingredients, etc. When an item is sold, it is taken out of the inventory allowing the retailer to see exactly what they have left in stock. Business owners can also set up automatic product refills from their providers to be sent when product reaches a set level in the inventory. As a business owner, have you ever had the desire to check on the status of your inventory, see a couple of quick statistical reports, adjust employee schedules, make clock-in or clock-out corrections for employees, or anything else that your POS system helps you to do when you are not in the office? Ryerson Schlitt, Director of Product Management for TableSafe, feels that one of the greatest achievements made by the POS industry in recent years is the development of remote management capabilities. This recent change now allows business owners the option to work on the go. The need to be on the floor at all times to ensure efficiency is diminishing and time is being spent improving the company in other ways. Chris Ligan, Vice-President of Acquisition for Auric (a merchant services company), agrees that remote monitoring has had an impressive effect in the running of businesses. POS systems provided by Auric have been calculated to save business owners up to eight hours each week. That is approximately 32 hours per month that business owners can spend with their families or participating in other activities. This is not just an update in technology, this is an update in quality of life. The future Looking at how far POS has come in the past 65+ years is truly incredible. What will come next for POS. Our panel of point of sale experts hopes to see the followng features incorporated into the industry in the near future: Chris Ligan — VP of Acquisitions for Auric (A Merchant Services Company)Ligan would like to see more time, effort, and money invested into improving user experience to ensure that POS systems though made by engineers don’t look like the product of engineers. With a background in and passion for design, Ligan feels that improvements can be made to make these systems much easier to use on a daily basis. One other area that has bothered Ligan is the inconsistency that exists in interface compatibility with a wide variety of terminals. When you swipe a card, your terminal should be “talking” to the software. Accomplishing this will dramatically improve POS on an industry level. Keith Smith — CEO of Payouts NetworkSmith works to help restaurants better their engagement with employees. Currently, Payouts Network is providing features that can securely deposit tips onto whatever Visa, MasterCard, or American Express that employees are carrying in their wallet in real-time. This avoids taking the time to separate out cash tips for each employee. Smith hopes to integrate this with a number of POS providers with whom he is currently working. Stacy Straub — Manager of Merchant Services for PrimePayStraub has over 20 years of experience in credit card processing and POS systems. She would like more POS systems to incorporate Near-Field Communication/Contactless Technology (NFC). This tech allows for a digital connection between the card and the reader/terminal through a single tap. This will speed up the checkout process and simplify POS systems for a faster and more productive future. Mohammed Ali — CEO of PrimaSeller Ali hopes that POS will soon provide seamless processor integrations with any cloud-based software without the dependence of archaic intermediary systems that are not completely online. This will help the setup process and improve overall functionality. Ryerson Schlitt — Director of Product Management for TableSafeSchlitt agrees with Ali that many of the systems are outdated in regard to integration materials and functions. He would like to see updated and streamlined API/interface documentation and functions. Matthew Speiser — Merchant Services Expert with FunderaSpeiser says, “My hope for the future of the POS industry is more transparency. Today there are lots of merchant services providers who offer contracts loaded with hidden fees. On review websites, you see small business owners paying $1,000’s out of pocket for expenses they didn’t anticipate when they signed up for their POS system. Fortunately, businesses like Square are doing away with this business model by offering upfront pricing, month-to-month contracts, and no hidden fees. My hope is that more businesses follow Square’s example so that business owners get the fairest deal possible."
When deciding on the right POS system for you, it is important to understand the difference between the two main categories that POS systems fall under. The two categories are Cloud-Based POS systems and On-Premise POS systems. Each has their pros and cons, so it is essential to research them in order to find the one that works best for you. Cloud-based systems Cloud-based systems function like other POS systems, but you manage them through the Internet, making them easily manageable and accessible. They are compatible with other point of sale systems, which includes hardware such as cash registers and printers. Data is stored externally on a cloud database. Deployment of such a system usually only takes a few days. On-premise systems On-premise systems are the more traditional POS systems that are required to be installed on-site through your computer system, and the data is stored internally on local servers. Deployment of on-premise systems usually takes a couple of weeks. Installation On-premise systems have to be installed on-site, while cloud-based systems can be installed remotely, given that they run completely online. This is one of the main reasons that on-premise software takes quite a bit longer to implement than cloud-based software. Pricing comparison On-premise software can range anywhere from $3,000-$50,000 per year. Cloud-based software on the other hand can range anywhere from $600-$10,000 per year. On-premise systems require more on-site assistance and maintenance, while cloud-based systems are easily managed through the Internet, making them more cost-efficient when compared to on-premise software. Consequently, small businesses usually prefer cloud-based software. Upfront fees In addition to being less expensive, cloud-based software also requires less expensive upfront fees. On-premise systems require additional upfront compensation because software installation is done on-site and is more labor intensive. Cloud-based software installation is done remotely, therefore it is significantly less expensive. Maintenance Because on-premise systems are installed on-site, maintenance updates also have to take place on-site. For cloud-based systems, updates either take place automatically by the provider, or they can easily be done manually from a remote location. Some on-premise users prefer the hands-on implementation because they have more control over what is happening within their system. Access Accessing the data within your POS software is more difficult with on-premise systems. On-premise software requires on-site accessibility, making it difficult to keep up on data if you are not on site. However, cloud-based software is done remotely through the Internet or on mobile devices, so accessing data is possible as long as you have Wi-Fi. This also proves to be a benefit in the case of a power outage at your business; cloud-based systems will be easily accessible during a power outage, while on-premise systems will have to wait for power to turn back on before accessing all the data. However, you can access on-premise systems without Internet access, which can prove to be beneficial.Point of sale services will have different options for cloud-based as well as on-premise software, but this way you have a better idea of what the two are and what they have to offer. While there is no right or wrong decision, there is a system that will work best for you based on your situation. If you want to learn more about the top POS companies, you can find that here.