The other day I wandered into my local wine store after a long weekend away. I was disappointed to find that my favorite type of wine, a very popular full-bodied Malbec, was out of stock…. once again.

After settling on a random bottle and waiting in line, I finally arrived to the front where the owner, Larry, greeted me with his usual beaming smile. I grinned back but began to feel irritated as he went through his normal routine of punching in countless buttons. I tapped my foot impatiently during the awkward 15-second lapse I awaited the receipt that I ended up tossing in the garbage on the way out. Larry slid the receipt across the counter, as I shifted my over-packed weekend bag from one arm to the other and attempted a somewhat-legible signature. Finally, I turned to make an exit as Larry called behind me, “Have a good one, Stephanie!” I consider myself a loyal customer to this wine shop, having stopped in once a week for the past two years. Needless to say, I was disheartened when Larry failed to remember my name – Sarah. This minor slip-up followed a sequence of equally minuscule, yet avoidable, mistakes.

Undoubtedly, customer service is one of the most important elements of managing a business. What people don’t realize is that a simple and reliable POS system is a key-component in creating a great customer experience. POS software provides business owners with the knowledge and tools they need to deliver the best customer service possible. Below are just five ways that POS software can prevent the situation above from becoming a business owners’ reality.

Give customers what they want!

Perhaps the most imperative component to good customer service is the ability to provide customers with the product they want. This was Larry’s first, and quite possibly biggest, mess-up. It may seem obvious, but it is important to know what inventory to reorder in order to increase sales and satisfy the customer. It is equally important to understand what inventory is not selling, so that space and money are not wasted. Many times, inventory reflects the business owners’ own tastes or predictions rather than customer preferences. This is easily resolved with back-end reporting that today’s POS software offers. With a cloud-based system, merchants are able to run numerous reports from your computer by simply pressing a button. Data that highlights top selling items and customer favorites will help business owners, like Larry, to make smarter decisions.

baker with his POS software

Speedy transactions for busy customers

Let’s be honest, nobody has the time to wait in long lines. In fact, the very sight of 5 or 6 people waiting to checkout is enough to make a person run for the door. Like Larry, many cashiers will punch in a handful of buttons just to ring up a single item. Reliable POS software will decrease the time customers spend at the register and will eliminate human error by employees. Merchants are now able to organize menu items on the iPad based on category and can make colored-coated “hot keys”. Retailers that have large amounts of inventory no longer have to worry about slow transactions or inventory errors. Many POS software providers now offer integrated barcode scanning, which will increase speed and efficiency. This foolproof method eliminates the process of manual entry. Speedier transactions will keep customers smiling while generating more business.

merchant using their POS software and scanner

Flexible payment options

Despite the concerns some merchants have about high credit card processing fees, it’s crucial to be flexible about the payment types you accept. The days of carrying large-amounts of cash have expired – I never have more than a few stray dollars on me at any given time and if you’re not flexible you will miss out on my business. Luckily, today’s point of sale software has made it easier than ever for business owners to accept just about every method of payment, including cash, credit, check, gift cards, and even Apple Pay and EMV chip cards. What’s EMV? It’s a new standard in payments technology that you learn more about from our EMV FAQ. America’s biggest banks are issuing millions of these new EMV chip cards to consumers across the country and you’ll want to make sure your system is EMV compatible, so you can continue to be as flexible as possible for your merchants. Our CEO has written a whole whitepaper on EMV, Apple Pay and the future of payments technology. So if you’d like to know more, I highly recommend you check that out. I remember one merchant who told me he hates paying processing fees but he reconciles it by simply viewing those costs as the price of a quality customer experience. It’s just part of how he looks after this customers. And the truth this, those customers are more likely to shop where they have flexible payment options than at the cash-only place next door.

Email receipts and capture customer info

Good customer service starts with the little things – such as saying hello, smiling, and addressing the customer by name. However, these things are easily forgotten by busy merchants. Quality POS software can help business owners acknowledge loyal customers by allowing for quick pre-programmed discounts at the register. Additionally, customers now have the option to receive an email receipt, which can help merchants to not only recall their customers’ name at the time of checkout, but also build targeted email campaigns informing their customers of current promotions and recommending new product based on previous purchases.

merchant using POS system

Build customer rapport

Using POS software allows business owners to focus on the important things, such as their customers. Instead of troubleshooting a “glitchy” receipt printer or fidgeting with various buttons, the merchant is able to converse with their customer. This merchant-customer rapport creates a pleasant experience for both parties and keeps customers coming back for more!

Despite what some may think, point of sale software is not merely a cash register. An integrated, reliable POS system helps business owners provide better customer service in a variety of ways. Use yours right and it you from becoming “A Larry”.

Sarah Steinle

Sarah Steinle

Sarah Steinle is a POS specialist working at ShopKeep, the #1-rated iPad Point of Sale System. After years of fighting with outdated, crash-prone POS software in the hospitality industry, Sarah is proud to have helped hundreds of small business owners avoid the same fate.