A cashier’s skills are not limited to processing transactions at checkout. They should also know how to provide customer service and market products using the right strategies. Because cashiers are usually the last sales representatives that customers see, they play a crucial role in the customer’s buying decision and must have a diverse skill set.
This shows the importance of hiring candidates who possess the essential but sometimes overlooked skills of a cashier.
Here are 14 overlooked cashier skills that will grow your business.
1. Active Listening Skills
As a customer-facing employee, providing excellent customer service is part of a cashier’s job. Engaging a customer while at the counter will require significant exchange, and cashiers will have to be aware constantly and focused on what the customer is trying to say as opposed to hearing passively. Active listening means acknowledging the customer with all the senses, including behavioral cues, and being seen as sincerely attentive to customer needs.
Some best practices for active listening are as follows:
- Maintaining eye contact while listening
- Demonstrating visual cues such as smiling and nodding
- Providing short replies to encourage customers to continue
- Asking follow-up, open questions to find out more about customer concerns
- Paraphrasing and summarizing what the customer said
Active listening is at the heart of excellent customer service and learning the best practices can win customer loyalty. This is a learnable skill that cashiers need to have to represent the business well to its customers.
2. Attention to Detail
Attention to detail is a crucial but often overlooked skill that cashiers need to apply in all aspects of their job. It refers to the level of thoroughness that one applies to a task. While there are available tools that cashiers use to process items that customers purchase, they still need to have ample knowledge of business policies, procedures, and of the products to avoid errors and keep customers happy. This can be challenging, especially when working for businesses such as supermarkets that handle a wide variety of products.
Some applications of attention to detail for cashiers are:
- Communication: Paying close attention to what customers are saying as well as behavioral cues
- Product knowledge: Providing the right information and identifying errors while processing items at checkout
- Payments: Processing transactions properly for all types of payment and verifying the accuracy of dollar amounts, card information, and even IDs
- Customer complaints: Identifying the source of the complaints and possible solutions that can be offered to the customer
Having attention to detail is connected to all other cashier skills as a keen sense of eye is required to complete assigned tasks properly. Cashiers need always to be aware of their surroundings to anticipate the needs and provide the best buying experience for customers.
3. Buyer Empathy
A cashier who knows how to relate to a customer is important, especially at the final stage of the buying experience. They need to be socially perceptive so that they can identify the customer’s disposition the moment they reach the counter. This will help cashiers know how to engage their customers and make them feel good about spending their money on the items in their basket.
Some guidelines for practicing buyer empathy are:
- Greet the customer with a smile
- Be proactive with customer needs; for example, supermarket cashiers should offer the use of trays if they notice the customer with frozen products
- Avoid antagonizing the customer, especially if they have been waiting in line for a while
- Resolve problems immediately in case there are issues with the products they intend to buy
Even if you have existing cashiers who lack buyer empathy, it’s a skill they can easily learn. Cashiers should practice putting themselves in the customer’s shoes to get a sense of what the customers want to hear and experience while paying for their items. Encourage them to make it a point to look around the store and imagine what customers go through.
4. Math Skills
Math skills are a primary requirement for cashiers. Even with tools to help process transactions, they still have to perform a considerable amount of analytical thinking and logic to avoid errors. For instance, although a cash register calculates how much change each customer should be given, it’s important that your cashiers know how to count the amount in dollars and coins. They should be able to understand simple mathematical operations to pay the customer accordingly.
Some concrete examples of using numeracy as a cashier:
- Addition: Getting the total dollar value or number of products by calculating the sum up to two decimal places
- Subtraction: Removing the value of items that are being returned due to the customer changing their mind
- Multiplication: Processing percentage discounts and coupons to reflect the discounted amount
- Division: Identifying the exact price of each item that is sold together when a customer insists on buying only part of the bundle.
Cashiers develop math skills over time through repetition. Most people learn the basic concepts of problem-solving at a young age, and the training they get when they are hired for the position will help them become familiar with the usual challenges they will face while doing their job.
5. Technical Skills
Technology has provided automation that has made business processes, including transactions, easier. Cashiers are, therefore, expected to keep up with the skills needed to operate information technology (IT)-enabled point-of-sale (POS) systems. This includes understanding and troubleshooting barcode scanners, transaction codes, paper receipt feeds, and credit card processors. Training and guidance should be provided, especially to newly hired cashiers. Adaptability is also important as POS technology is upgraded constantly with new software and integrations.
6. Marketing Skills
Cashiers need marketing skills to help maximize sales while engaging customers. As the front personnel at the checkout counter, cashiers are well placed to motivate customers in getting last-minute purchases. Product knowledge is important to provide valuable information. Cashiers will have to know the products that are on sale, discounts that are available, and what customers will most likely be interested in based on their interaction as well as the current items in their basket.
Some examples of marketing strategies that cashiers can use:
- Upselling: Motivating customers to replace an item with a similar but more expensive item
- Cross-selling: Motivating customers to purchase additional items to compliment the current items in their cart
- Product demonstration: Showing the value of a product by testing it in front of the buyer
Cashiers with a firm grasp on product knowledge will display confidence that assures customers they are being provided with the best purchasing advice. When customers know that cashiers understand the additional value of bundles and special sales or discounts, they will become more trusting and loyal to the store.
7. Decision-making Skills
Decision-making is the ability to weigh the cause and effects of every possible solution to a problem and arrive confidently at the most appropriate answer. Cashiers who excel in this skill are service-oriented individuals, which means that they are ultimately always focused on helping people. Strong decision-making skills also show an individual who’s able to balance providing excellent customer service with meeting business goals, such as maximizing customer sales.
Cashiers will need to learn these things to practice good decision-making:
- Store policies: This will give the cashier a firm idea of what possible alternatives are available to solve a problem.
- POS software procedures: Understanding how the POS system works will help cashiers do their job properly even when the system breaks down.
- Customer buying history: This information provides cashiers with opportunities to promote more products by identifying customers who qualify for discounts and deals.
- Knowledge of existing marketing campaigns: Some customers pose a problem that can be solved by providing them with deals that involve upselling and cross-selling of products.
When cashiers are trained well, they develop the confidence they need to face your customers. Providing cashiers with the proper training empowers them to create sound decisions that will benefit the business.
8. Soft Skills
Cashiers are expected to remain professional while also showing sincerity and general concern for the customers. Balancing the two can pose a challenge, especially when processing payments. Cashiers need to be firm with implementing payment policies and can ask the right questions without antagonizing a customer. This is important because you don’t want to be a victim of fraud, but you don’t want to have customers canceling their purchase out of annoyance.
The goal of every business is to bring in more customers and, while this can most certainly translate to larger selling opportunities, it also poses considerable risk. Provide soft skills training to your existing cashiers to help them meet their responsibilities to both the business and the customers.
9. Conflict Resolution & Negotiation Skills
Cashiers are customer-facing employees and should expect to deal with some degree of negotiation. Most of the time, this comes from trying to solve a customer’s problem, conflict, or even de-escalate a customer’s growing dissatisfaction. Customers who are unhappy will usually demand to speak to a supervisor, but cashiers are expected to have enough knowledge to de-escalate a situation within the scope of what they can offer.
Some situations cashiers face that require negotiation and conflict resolution skills are:
- Handling customer complaints against other store personnel
- Requests for return of items
- Requests for exchange of items
- Dealing with customers who want to avail a discount or deal but are not qualified
- Customers requesting additional freebies
Usually, customers who see the effort appreciate it enough to calm down even if their issue has not been resolved. Negotiation exists in almost every aspect of sales and doesn’t necessarily mean there is a conflict to be resolved. However, cashiers who know how to negotiate during any situation are more likely to build customer loyalty for the business.
10. Time Management Skills
A cashier’s job is fast-paced and time-sensitive. Any delay in resolving a customer issue can result in a domino effect, and sales can be affected seriously.
It’s crucial that cashiers become conscious of their own performance so that they can monitor, assess, and adjust how they tackle their tasks until they master the processes and become highly efficient. New cashiers will take longer to process transactions and can still make errors that will cause a delay. However, as they learn the ropes, they should be expected to improve and serve more customers every day.
If you want to help your cashiers keep track of their schedules, consider using Homebase. Homebase is an easy-to-use employee scheduling and time tracking software with a drag-and-drop feature that lets you build employee schedules in minutes as well as browser and mobile access so that you’re able to update staff schedules while on the go. It also offers time-tracking features, which help tremendously in preparing accurate attendance records for payroll. Sign up for a free trial today.
11. Coaching Skills
Training is a key part of onboarding new employees, especially in crucial roles such as that of a cashier. Tap the knowledge of your best cashiers who have direct experience serving customers and turn them into effective mentors. This ensures that new hires are monitored constantly and trained with best practices as they perform tasks on a daily basis.
Some coaching methods available to help you train existing cashiers are:
- Shadowing: Let new cashiers follow and observe how veteran cashiers do their job.
- On-the-job training: Have new cashiers process transactions during off-peak hours while being monitored by a mentor.
- Role-playing: This helps with teaching cashiers customer service best practices and trains them on how to handle different kinds of situations during their shift.
- Goal-setting: Allow the mentor cashier to set measurable, short-term goals that will help new hires progress with their training.
Errors can cause delays and significant losses to the business, but owners will need to make sure that operations continue even as employees are being trained. The best way to do this is by letting more experienced cashiers train new ones on the job. Consider a coaching program that can also help identify cashiers with leadership potential and motivating them by providing a career path.
12. Data Entry and Reporting Skills
There are cashiers who will stand out and can eventually be trusted with more responsibilities that require data entry and reporting skills. Cashiers, therefore, are expected to have the abilities that will allow them to understand how to do data encoding, consolidation, processing of raw data, and producing reports that provide valuable analytical data to managers. Those who possess these skills are recognized for their potential to handle larger roles in business operations.
Some tasks that cashiers with these skills will be able to perform are:
- Managing flow of inventory
- Running sales reports
- Managing customer information
- Time and schedule monitoring
- Performance evaluation of trainees
Hiring cashiers who possess these skills ultimately benefits the business. Consider creating a career path for employees and hire supervisory positions internally to maximize your investment in a training program.
13. Ability to Learn Product Knowledge Quickly
An effective cashier is one who has a firm grasp of product knowledge. While not as crucial in establishments like supermarkets, the ability to learn product knowledge quickly is more critical for specialty shops. Cashiers who know your products display confidence that only the most equipped employee can have. They are ready to answer and resolve customer concerns in a way that satisfies the expectations of both the business and its customers.
Among the benefits of product knowledge are:
- Being able to ask the right questions and identify customer needs
- Match the right products or services to customer needs
- Prove the greater value of the brand’s products over its competitors
It’s said that the more a salesperson knows, the more they sell, and this is true even with cashiers. Customers look for the types of cashiers who come across as dependable and trustworthy. It creates the best first impression and promotes loyalty to the business brand.
14. Packaging Skills
Some businesses prefer that their cashiers know how to package items bought by customers properly. This is an extension of customer service that has the potential to help a brand stand out. Customers appreciate that their paper products and clothing are packed separately from frozen items and that their eggs and other fragile products remain intact. The more cashiers show concern about the customer’s items through proper packaging, the more customer loyalty and trust is built.
Some basic packaging strategies that cashiers should know are:
- Asking the customer if they prefer paper or plastic packaging
- Separate cleaning materials from food items
- Pack heavy items first and at the bottom
- Secure fragile, breakable items with additional wrap
- Add a flat carton base to help distribute the weight of the items in the bag
Customers keep a wary eye over their purchases while they are being packed, so this skill is important when considering strategies for customer retention. Even if you have existing cashiers who aren’t adept at packaging, it’s a skill that’s learnable over time. It’s a great idea to support your cashiers’ attempts at mastering this skill by implementing guidelines and best practices to observe.
The role of the cashier is essential to building customer loyalty and improving the business bottom line. While not every candidate will possess all the ideal skills, businesses can invest in developing these talents. Use these guidelines to help you create the best training program to harness the skills of a cashier that will grow your business.
Got more suggestions for overlooked cashier skills and duties you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments.