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In any retail business, cashiers are an important part of the team. Not only do they handle customer transactions, they are also key players in your efforts to deliver great customer service and in maintaining the security of your business. Make sure the cashier training you provide is both comprehensive and detailed.
The foundation of cashier training is teaching your employees how to use your cash registers to conduct transactions. This should include demonstrating how to begin new transactions, scan or input items, and how to process multiple payment types. Don’t forget to teach employees how to process coupons and loyalty cards, if appropriate, as well as less common types of payment, including gift cards and checks. If your cashiers will be responsible for processing refunds, demonstrate that process as well. Finally, your cashiers should be trained in the proper opening and closing procedures, including how to reconcile their drawers.
In addition to teaching your cashiers how to conduct transactions, train them in your customer service expectations. For example, you may have a script that cashiers are to follow in which they greet the customer and ask if they were able to find everything they needed. If customers need additional help, provide guidance on how the cashier should respond. Role-play some common scenarios with customers to help your cashiers learn what to do in specific situations, such as when there is a price discrepancy, the customer wants a discount or if the customer is unhappy. Provide the cashier instructions about what to do when she cannot help a customer. She should know when to call a supervisor or a manager, and when she needs to get authorization for a transaction.
Cashiers are on the front lines of ensuring security, both in terms of protecting your merchandise and the cash drawer, and maintaining the security of customer information. Some of the things your cashier should know include:
- How to identify shoplifting; for example, they should be familiar with your merchandise and what price tags look like, and how to identify switched or falsified tags. They should also be informed about common tricks shoplifters use, such as hiding items inside of other items, and taught to check to prevent theft.
- How to identify counterfeit currency. Many stores now have special equipment to test bills and ensure they are real.
- How to check identification, and signs of a false ID.
- How to prevent credit card fraud. For instance, employees should be taught to never key in credit card numbers, to match signatures and to request ID when appropriate.
- How to protect the cash drawer.
Cashiers should also be trained in how to respond in an emergency. Provide detailed instructions on what to do in case of a robbery, and how to use any security systems that may be installed.
Finally, cashiers should be trained in your expectations of what they should do when they aren’t serving customers and how they should behave while at the registers. For instance, remind cashiers that they should be focused on the customers, not chatting with other employees. Tell them what they should be doing during downtime and the responsibilities they have for keeping the register area neat and stocked.
Cashier training should ideally be done over the course of several shifts, as it involves a great deal of information. Try to train cashiers during slow periods, and allow them to learn by doing. Hands-on learning is usually most effective. Once the cashier has the basic transaction procedures down, try role-playing as a customer to test his abilities. Job shadowing another cashier for a few shifts can also help a cashier learn the ropes before running his own register. Pay close attention to a new cashier’s performance over the first few months, and if there are consistent issues, retrain him in the problem areas.
An adjunct instructor at Central Maine Community College, Kristen Hamlin is also a freelance writer and editor, specializing in careers, business, education, and lifestyle topics. The author of Graduate! Everything You Need to Succeed After College (Capital Books), which covers everything from career and financial advice to furnishing your first apartment, her work has also appeared in Young Money, Lewiston Auburn Magazine, USA Today, and a variety of online outlets. She's also been quoted as a career expert in many newspapers and magazines, including Cosmopolitan and Parade. She has a B.A. in Communication from Stonehill College, and a Master of Liberal Studies in Creative Writing from the University of Denver.
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