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5 Ways You Can Use Your POS Software to Improve Customer Service

- By Bob Twain

Did you know there are studies showing that the total cost of getting a new customer is 10 times that of holding onto an existing one? And that a five percent improvement in customer retention can lead to an 85% increase in profits?

You’ve probably heard these numbers before because they’re all over the place. Even if you cut those numbers in half, it’s pretty obvious that customer service is an absolutely critical aspect of your retail business!

In order for you to improve customer service, you need to make it an everyday emphasis and priority in your business. The little things you do on a daily basis make a big difference!

Since you need all the tools and tricks that you can get your hands on, here are 5 ways you can use your POS software to improve customer service and set yourself apart from the competition:

1) Tie your Caller ID to your customer’s profile, so by the second ring you know the customer’s name, location, last 10 purchases and more...

So when you pick up the phone you can say things like:

  • “By the way, how’s the Gary Fisher mountain bike you bought from us working out? Do you like it?”
  • “I see your birthday was yesterday, it’s a little late but happy birthday!”
  • Or “How are thing going in the Northlake suburbs?”

The customer will probably hang up the phone (after your conversation) wondering how you remembered or how you quickly found this information about them. Either way… they’ll be impressed!

2) Store personal information about your customers – This can allow you to give a special personal touch.

A really good example of this is a hotel that insisted all of its staff that had contact with their customers know the customer by full name and, when possible, use other personal or business information about him. Example…

“Good evening Mr. Smith. Welcome to our hotel.” Then, after a bit of miscellaneous chit-chat, “By the way, Mr. Smith, did you manage to unload at a profit those shares of ABC Goods you thought were a bit risky?” or, “Was your daughter accepted at Harvard? Last time you were a guest with us you expressed concern that Emily was having difficulty with her math, and wasn’t sure if she had enough points to qualify for admission.”

Now, here’s a customer who KNOWS that he’s welcome at your hotel, and whenever he’s back in town, you can count on him staying in your establishment!

Is this spying on customers? Not at all! It’s simply remembering a few concerns that your customer shared with you the last time he stayed in your hotel.

When you can show concern about what matters to your customer, that’s Business to Customer Loyalty and you can bet on it that you’ve just acquired a customer for life.

3) Take customer returns without the receipt by teaching your employees how to call up digital copies of receipts from past purchases.

This is probably more important than you might think. In fact, your return polices are very important because they can cause you to lose lots of customers (depending on how you handle things).

Let’s say a customer buys something from you and it’s defective. They bring it back 90 days later and they don’t have their receipt. In this situation, the customer didn’t use the item and it really was defective.

If your policy says you can’t take the return because it’s over 30 days and they have no receipt, then you caused something very critical to happen in the customers mind.

The next time they need something, they will remember... the last time I bough a widget from these guys it didn’t work. And I couldn’t exchange it! Then the customer will think… I don’t want to have problems again. This time I will go somewhere else.

You don’t want that to happen! And that’s why I highly recommend that you take a close look at your return policies and, at the very least, take returns even if the customer doesn’t have a receipt. And you should actually go a step further and give the customer a perk (like a 5 dollar gift certificate) to make up for some of the time they spent returning the item.

If you handle your return polices properly, you might even turn a customer that bought a defective item into one of your MOST loyal customers!

4) Quickly check pricing and stock levels. A simple way to serve your customers faster is to teach your employees to check product information in your POS system. They could check stock levels, pricing, options, next shipment status, and more.

Just imagine how much time is being wasted if your employees check the shelves or stock room every time the customer asks if you have something. You’re much better off in the long run to get an accurate inventory count, update your POS, and keep it accurate!

You can also improve service by associating alternate products in your POS - so if an item is out of stock, your employees can quickly and easily suggest a similar item that you have in stock.

If a customer is extremely interested in an item and you’re out of stock, you could also use your POS system to quickly let them know you have one in the store across town. Otherwise, you should be able to take a sales order and look up whether you have a shipment of the item coming in next week or, if necessary, create a special order for that customer.

5) Check special orders / layaways. If you take special orders, you probably get calls from customers asking if their order came in. If you track the orders with paper, you’ll most likely have to put the phone down and hope you can quickly find the status. If not, you’ll have to call them back.

This isn’t prompt service or the type of professionalism you want to portray. That’s one of the reasons that I highly recommend using your POS system to track special orders. If you do things correctly, you can simply punch in the customer's name or phone number and check the status of the special order in a few seconds.

This is just the tip of the iceberg! There are countless other ways retailers can serve their customers better by properly using a POS system - especially when you take into account all the different ways each vertical market can utilize customer data.

For more tips about Retail POS Software, you can check out past newsletter articles:

To your success.

Bob Twain

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