Written by Guest | Last Updated November 1st, 2019Our goal here at BestCompany.com is to provide you with the honest, reliable information you need to find companies you can trust.
Guest Post by Matthew Speiser for Fundera
In order to compete effectively in business these days, you need to prioritize customer service.
That’s not lost on most business owners: Gartner Research reports that 89 percent of companies “now expect to compete mostly on the basis of customer experience.” Small businesses in particular know that one of their remaining advantages over the likes of major corporations is how they can intimately interact with their customers.
The question is, what can businesses do to improve customer service beyond what they do already? The answer may be their point of sale system (POS).
As POS systems become more sophisticated, businesses will find that they can drive up customer satisfaction as well as employee happiness using POS features. From speed to security to integrations with customer relationship management software, a good POS system might be worth the investment on this front alone.
If your old-fashioned cash register doesn’t strike you as the crux of your customer service issues, you may not understand why a newer POS system can help you retain customers, bolster your reputation, and provide an overall better experience for your customers.
Here are six ways POS systems can improve customer service:
Accept all payment methods
We are moving toward a cashless future, thanks to the rise of credit cards as well as mobile payment options like Apple Pay. By the middle of the next decade, as many as 75 percent of all transactions will be made without cash.
Of course, for your business to keep up, you may have to make the switch to a POS system that allows for cashless payments well before then. Just 21 percent of people recently polled by Capital One said cash is their preferred method of payment.
Accepting all types of payments will ensure that you don’t lose business by turning away cashless customers, leading to more satisfied clientele who can purchase what you’re selling without issue.
Cut transaction time
Nothing kills the buzz of making a new purchase more than having to wait. POS systems with advanced credit card chip readers are driving down transaction times (even a few extra seconds each can add up over time) with improvements to their hardware.
Furthermore, prioritizing digital and credit card payments over cash can speed up transaction time: An article in the Los Angeles Times says that “During a busy lunch hour with customers lined up at ordering stations and cashiers, forgoing cash means faster transactions.”
More targeted rewards
Many quality POS systems integrate with customer relationship management (CRM) solutions, helping businesses collect customer data in order to provide more targeted, relevant, and engaging rewards.
For example, some POS systems can collect a customer’s name and other information (email address, mailing address, order history, etc.) at the point of sale. It can then make suggestions for relevant rewards — a coupon for a purchase they make often, or for an item that would complement their usual order — so the customer feels seen and appreciated. Then, deliver it right to their email inbox, text it to them, or offer it next time they’re in the store.
More face-to-face time
In order to provide customer service to someone — whether that person arrives at your store in a good mood or looking for a fight — you need to listen, have empathy, and demonstrate deep knowledge relevant to the situation at hand.
Outdated POS systems are a roadblock to this kind of human connection, because they require an outsized portion of an employee or manager’s time and attention. From manually keying in credit card information to counting out cash and coins, an old POS system is simply too much work these days.
Your staff can still provide excellent customer while working with an old cash register. But the less time spent running a transaction, the more time your staff has to foster a connection with the customer.
Fewer security risks
A good POS system comes equipped to defend itself and the software you’ve integrated with it (such as accounting and inventory management systems). Hackers are increasingly targeting small businesses to collect consumer credit card information — knowing that their protections are likely limited.
Protecting customer information should be a priority for businesses if they want to keep customers on their good side — so investing in a POS with the latest security updates and features is a must.
Fortunately, most reputable POS systems are PCI compliant, meaning they abide by a set of standards designed to ensure that all companies that accept, process, store, or transmit credit card information maintain a secure environment.
As mentioned above, outdated POS systems mean more work for employees. This issue affects employee morale. Constantly dealing with a malfunctioning system, facing down a line of increasingly irate customers as the software fails to sync, or having to dig through stock in the back just to tell someone there’s no more of the product they want—these are all trials and tribulations that often lead to burn out.
Help your employees work smarter, rather than harder. Not only will they pay that forward with better customer service, but they’ll be less likely to leave, driving down your costs related to employee turnover. It’s a win-win-win.
The bottom line
A quality POS system does much more than just take digital payments and let people sign with their finger. It can be the centerpiece of a new way of doing business—one that prioritizes the happiness of customers and employees alike. If you want your business to be known for its customer service, a POS upgrade is an excellent place to start.
Matthew Speiser is a staff writer at Fundera, a marketplace for small business financial solutions such as small business loans. Matthew specializes in merchant services and also writes extensively on ecommerce, payroll, and HR solutions.