Cashier training in retail is not only a worthy investment in your staff, but an important commitment to a positive customer experience. Ensuring that your staff can competently use a cash register, card machine, PoS and EPoS are all fundamental steps to running your retail business smoothly on the day-to-day.
While this may seem obvious, often a lot of mistakes are made when training is overlooked or rushed. Alternatively, systems and processes are updated and some cashiers are left in the dark to figure things out on the spot, causing long queues there and then, and even issues further down the line.
Working as a cashier means possessing a varied number of skills, some of which are soft and aren’t typically easy to instill in a training course. For example:
- Engaging with customers and putting them at ease
- Going above and beyond to make sure customers have left with the right products
- Upselling where natural
- Taking a proactive response to issues
- Being aware of customer’s nuances and managing volatile situations
In order for cashiers to focus on honing their customer-facing skills and positive traits, your business should make the practicalities of processing payments as streamlined and simple as possible. Minimising human errors is the most logical way of ensuring that, even during your busiest periods, keying-in errors are eradicated by an EPoS that is integrated with your card machines.
Here are ways you can train your cashiers through different journeys in your business and their career:
When onboarding new staff with their cashier training, it’s best practice to find the quietest moments and trading days so as to not cause much disruption to efficiencies.
Onboarding should also cover the essentials for processing payments, but avoid going into too much depth (early on) into edge-case scenarios or things that the cashier is unlikely to deal with themselves (e.g. issuing credit notes, applying faulty discounts etc.).
Here are the basics to cover:
- Issue the cashier with their own unique login code and security password
- Give them a run through of the till system or EPoS, cash float, and card machine showing them each component and how they’re linked to the payment flow
- Walk them through each method of payment, highlighting which buttons or codes should be used at each process
- Show them how to move back and forward through the process, for example how to void an item if a customer changes their mind, or if they’ve made an error
- Allow the trainee to watch you serve customers and then process payments themselves with you overseeing them
- Reiterate shop policies such as the returns and also wrapping and detagging systems
- Give the cashier enough time to experience real life scenarios and ask relevant questions/make mistakes
- Buddy them up with a partner and give them a quiet period to serve customers
- Give customers an indication that the cashier is in training, so they are aware that their purchase may take a little longer
- Print off a little recap of the process/key codes for your staff member to take home and learn
Cash handling and fraud prevention
Cash handling is an important part of a cashier’s skills, and they need to be able to work quickly and confidently with cash, sometimes under very high-pressure circumstances.
With new currency changing rapidly across the UK, and banks no longer accepting old currency, employees need to be trained regularly on the latest industry standards, legal tender and most importantly, how to spot fraudulent cash payments.
The Bank of England has in depth guides on spotting counterfeit notes, and engaging online videos which may be of use for your staff training.
Along with spotting fraudulent notes, it is important to teach staff about till floats, avoiding miscounting and wrong-changing customers. Most of which comes from practice and having enough time to double-count. Other tips include:
- Set a cash float amount for each till at the beginning of the day (the cash that is already in the till before the trading day has begun)
- Make time for hourly or two-hourly spot checks of your tills to see when discrepancies have occurred so you can identify the mistake and deal with it rather than letting mistakes accumulate across the day
- Allow for human error: set an educated threshold for cash discrepancies which you expect to occur, once the till goes over/under this, investigate possible causes
- When cashiers are handling a large sum of cash, they may feel uncomfortable, so give them the option of a senior or peer to double count for them
- Keep cash pen markers on the tills for cashiers to use when dealing with larger tenders (£50 notes)
At especially busy periods, remember that your till will only be insured for a certain amount, so if you’ve taken a lot of cash, empty some into your safe by doing a procedure called a cash drop.
Card training and fraud prevention
With more and more people ditching cash and paying by card, either physically or electronically (on their Apple wallet or watch) cashiers should be used to taking card payments quickly. Contactless payments (for transactions under £30) speed up the process further still, meaning that taking cards shouldn’t cause queues.
However, with new technology comes new risks of fraud. Retail cashier’s training should be updated as soon as new laws are passed regarding card processing, for example, this year is set to bring an update to contactless security methods.
As well as ensuring you and your staff are well-educated on PCI compliance, here are some ways to spot and minimise fraud:
- Always ask customers to use the chip and pin if their card has a chip
- Keep swiping cards down to a minimum and if swiping, always get a signature and check the customer’s identity with other cards or personal ID
- If you suspect a card is fraudulent, ask the customer to politely inspect it, looking out for irregular characters and embossing, a damaged signature strip or hologram
- Check for behavioural signs- is the customer looking frantic or disengaged with you? Are they buying things that seem completely random or irrelevant to them?
If you or a member of your cashier staff suspect that a fraudulent transaction is happening, perhaps a customer is using a card you think has been stolen,you should train them on how to do a code 10 authorisation call. This will help minimise the number of chargebacks you may need to make as a merchant.
Supervisors & assistant managers
Supervisors, keyholders and managers will all need access to different training when it comes to the tills, as they are most likely to be cashing up, rectifying errors, processing price changes and refunds etc. In order to manage who does what, it is best practice to have a way for management to unlock functions. With Paymentsense, your card machine comes with a supervisor card, which allows you to do just that.
Management till training should be a lot more thorough, covering every possible circumstance that you can predict arising. For example:
- Issuing and processing credit notes
- Price overrides
- Applying discounts and promotions
- Returning faulty goods
- Rectifying any till mistakes
- Spot checks
- Processing staff and family discounts
Some of these things should be trained on-the-spot in real life situations, whereas others can be simulated at quiet times of the day for practice ahead of a real customer experience.
Ahead of busy periods, it is essential to retrain your till staff, ensuring they feel at ease with everything and confident to act independently in demanding situations. If during a busy time, you have seen an increase in a certain type of till error, then hold specific training sessions for employees who feel under-trained in that area. This will allow them to ask questions and submit areas they need more clarity on.