Tips to Help Supercharge Cashiers

Anthony Analetto, President, SONNY's/The Car Wash Factory

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There’s a lot of insight in the quote “Nothing happens until someone sells something,” often attributed to IBM founder Thomas Watson, that’s often overlooked when hiring cashiers. Most cashiers are paid with the expectation that they will stand at the register and then quickly, accurately and honestly complete sales transactions. Proof of good job per­formance is established when there is never a line of shoppers waiting to pay, and the cashier’s drawer adds up correctly. Unfortunately, if you want to maximize the profit of your car wash, that mentality will cripple your potential.

Cashiers can be instrumental in increasing the average purchase size in your store. As the last, and often only, employee your cus­tomers will interact with, the cashier can alert customers to other profit centers or cross-pro­motions that they may not have noticed. It takes only a few seconds to deliver a rehearsed upsell phrase and is easier to implement than you may think. Here are five tips to help turn your cashiers into salespeople, and to help uncover extra revenue from your existing customers.

  1. Hire Cashiers with Great Customer Service Skills: When hiring a cashier, you must look for someone with good people skills. Start by establishing a set of desired education, skills and experience for the position. But don’t pass over can­didates who have no specific experience as cashiers. Previous training or experi­ence in other fields or activities can often be a valuable predictor of good people skills. Questions such as “How would your friends describe your personality?” can help you uncover solid customer service abilities that may not be part of their work history. You’re looking for people who, in addition to being responsible and efficient, are comfortable asking your customers if they would like to try other products and services that you offer.
  2. Give Your Cashiers the Tools to Succeed: Create, document and imple­ment plans to train and develop your cashiers. Every cashier must have a per­sonal development plan. Start with the basics of the position, but expand train­ing to encompass customer interaction. Support each employee by providing the specific training outlined in his or her development plans. Write scripts for upsell phrases that they can use. Deliver training, monitor their performance and recognize their progress verbally in addition to docu­menting it in their development plan. As you cultivate their consistent use of the newly learned skills, you will be rewarded with additional revenue from increased purchases by the customers they served.
  3. Train on Product Knowledge: Every one of your cashiers should be informed about all merchandise and ser­vices on your property—especially the car wash. Make sure they understand the equipment. Let them know your com­petitive advantage in the market. And keep them informed about new loyalty programs, wash packages, promotions and extra ser­vices as they are created.
  4. Keep Cashiers Excited About the Store and Their Jobs: Customers enjoy being served by a friendly and enthusiastic cashier. At a result, they will remember the experience and return to your store to make more purchases. Building the excitement of your cashiers is often as simple as recognizing them publicly when they do well, and thanking them for their efforts.
  5. Give Cashiers an Incentive: Employees, like customers, are not purely rational. Offering cashiers a monetary reward for every car wash sold during their shift can have a dramatic effect on sales, but not by itself. Incentive programs will work only in conjunction with the previous four tips. However, if you’ve hired the right people, given them the tools they need to succeed, trained them and built their enthusiasm for your store and their jobs, then—and only then—offering additional salary for every car wash sold will produce stellar results.

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