I started on them 2 years’ ago and I have to say they were a nightmare to use. Computer voice telling you off all the time, couldn’t find the bar code, authorisation needed, unexpected item in bagging area. Argghh.
Tesco’s knew this and placed helpful, smiley people around them to answer any query and these people were specially trained to be unflappable against the frustrations of shoppers. They were happy to show you how to use the machines, would encourage you and answer your questions. Always available and on hand.
Two years’ later. Completely different story. People flow through the self service area like water through a pipe, we all know instinctively what to do, and might even enjoy the speed advantage it gives you. And there’s always someone keeping a beady eye in case they’re needed.
Just like on the job coaching. Whenever a new system comes in or a new product, do you flood your sales force with coaches trained to answer questions, guide and be unflappable when the salesperson gets frustrated with the new system? When they get used to it, you can reduce the amount of coaching but keep it ticking over.
Tesco’s did and although their profits are down this year, their customer care is up. Clever Tesco’s, that’s what I say, differentiating themselves from a crowded commodity based marketplace. But that’s another story for another day.