For some small business owners, there’s a belief that the more high-tech you make your business, the less personal touch customers feel. When customers choose which businesses they frequent largely based on an emotional connection they feel with the people who work there, it’s important to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere that will keep them coming back. Customers want to feel invested in your success, and that means cultivating an environment that doesn’t sacrifice a personal connection for the sake of efficiency.
But don’t disregard the possibilities of modern point of sale technology: When used intelligently, today’s tech can actually allow you to become a warmer and friendlier business that is closer and more connected to your customers than ever before.
Don’t believe me? Here are three factors to consider:
Individualized customer service
Let’s take credit card payments as an example. With a software-based POS like Instore, you can swipe credit cards and automatically build customer lists. With these lists, you can effortlessly capture who the customer before you is, and with repeat visits, you’ll get to know their preferences and habits. You’ll learn which items they like to buy, what times of day they come in, and how often they visit.
This data helps you act in friendly and genuinely useful ways. For instance, if you run a pizzeria, when taking a phone order, your server can look up a customer profile from the phone number the individual used to call—and will know that the customer wants the gluten-free crust before she even has to ask.
The ability to be on a first-name basis with someone is the very essence of good customer service. As Dale Carnegie once said, “A person’s name is to that person, the sweetest, most important sound in any language.” So how well do you know the names and profiles of the people who frequent your business?
Marketing in a way that is genuinely helpful
By using technology to build customer profiles, your marketing efforts can be supercharged. With the customer lists that your tech tools are automatically building, you can then start to send out brilliantly individualized email campaigns that are targeted to the human at the other end of the screen. But with this interaction, it’s not just about knowing the person’s name.
As a study by Temple University showed, people tend to be freaked out if they see their name in a generic company email. Rather, you want to start using your customer database to build emails with information that is so personally targeted to shopping habits and purchase history that you’ll blow your customers away. As the same study shows, if you do this you will be triggering positive responses in 98% of customers.
And this is the important point to consider: today’s tech tools mean that you can relate to your customers as the individuals that they are—and this is something they are now starting to expect. Say you run a coffee shop and Joe comes by every day at 8:30am for his morning latte. It would actually feel cold and impersonal for him to have to re-sign a credit card slip every day.
If you have a rewards program set up, you’ll be able to offer him a free latte every 10th visit. Why? Because the data shows that Joe is loyal and he deserves to be rewarded. Believe me, Joe will feel that love as he walks away with his free coffee in hand.
Your staff will be happier
Finally, today’s technology is offering the kind of assistance that makes for happier, more engaged and productive staff. Technology that is easy to use and genuinely helpful will boost morale. If you run a restaurant, for example, the POS system is a smart, mobile interface where your wait staff can take orders in a perfect form that is then zapped instantly over to the kitchen without the fear of a written order wafting off in the wind—orders will not be lost or misinterpreted, dishes will not go astray, customers will be fed. The waiter can know everything the diner wants in an instant and be reminded of upsells. This enhanced service often increases tips, which in turn makes for a happy, engaged team.
As the Nobel laureate Bob Dylan reminds us, the times, they are a changin’. But this doesn’t mean humanity needs to become colder or more impersonal. By upgrading to today’s intelligent POS tools, you can boost your business’s customer-centric qualities, becoming friendlier, more helpful and ultimately, more profitable.
Photo copyright: gdsteam by CC BY 2.0