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Cashiering. Yeah, not the easiest or most glamorous job in the world. There's drama with the coworkers, clueless managers, and — oh, yes — that evil species of bi-peds: customers! But it helps with the bills, so it’s best to have every weapon in your arsenal possible to compete in this high-turnover environment. To help you not only survive, but shine in the checkout stands, here are seven basic habits that every boss looks for in a good cashier, and turn customers into regulars.
1: Be pleasant.
The cashier is arguably the most important employee in a store. No matter what experiences the customer has had throughout their shopping experience, if the cashier can send them away on a positive note then it’s all been a success. Positivity keeps people coming back, and that’s what makes for a loyal clientele. This translates to more hours, higher store ratings, pay raises, etc. Sounds simple, right? But when the customer walks up and asks “How’s your day?” it can be difficult to resist the impulse to offload a little steam. However, like it or not, the majority of people simply don’t care and don’t want to hear it. (Sorry, you know it’s true.) Instead, despite all the junk you’re going through at the time, take a deep breath, look the customer in the eye, and declare “It’s a lovely day! How are you?” Bonus tip: Use the weather to avoid awkward questions.
2: Be sensitive.
Conversely, it’s your job to make the customer feel important. So when they come to you (and they always do) regaling you with tales of their own woes, sympathise! No one likes to feel that they’re being herded through a cattle-call. When someone feels truly valued by an establishment, it increases the chances that they will return there. Use caution when contributing personal anecdotes in response to the customer’s story. They probably (most likely) won’t care that you’ve seen the same or worse before; they’re only looking for a sympathetic ear. Sure, you may not feel sympathetic. At all. Or downright disgusted. We’ve all been there. That’s fine, too, so long as the customer doesn’t know. Just nod, pull sad faces, and exclaim “Oh no! That’s terrible!” at the appropriate moment. Chances are, the customer will leave feeling unburdened and listened to, and isn’t that what we all want in the end?
For the love of Mike, smile! Nobody likes a grump. That’s all I have to say about that.
4: Pay attention to individual needs.
Feel the customer out when they enter your line. Are they fussy about their groceries, laying them out in a special order on the conveyor belt, or even handing them to you so they don’t "get dirty?" Then you’d better be sure cold things are together and household chemicals get their own bags. Are your customers older or infirm? Chances are, they’d prefer their bags not be overloaded. If someone asks you for something specific — “Triple bag everything!” — do it. Because the customer is king, and we all know what it’s like to get home with squashed bread and busted eggs when we wanted them bagged separately.
5: Stay busy.
This is important even when there are no customers present. Bosses pay attention to what cashiers do when not serving, and the ones who keep their stations tidy and refrain from chatter will stand out when it comes to deciding whose hours are cut.
6: Be quick.
Efficiency and speed are valuable traits to the aspiring cashier. Of course, don’t get careless and sling groceries helter-skelter to get people moving, but dilly-dallying is sure to make both the customers and bosses grumble.
7: I said it once, I’ll say it again: Smile!
Well, that’s my two-cents worth, and it comes not only from my own experience in retail, but my experience as a customer, as well. It’s as simple as being the cashier you would want to be served by! Just stay conscientious, industrious, and pleasant, and you’ll be sure to shine no matter where you work!