Your potential customers will arrive at the point of sale and sometimes will not be able to pay. You need to be ready for these times so that the interaction between you and the customer can go smoothly.
On a recent trip to Target, the couple ahead of me at the checkout had their credit card denied.
They argued for a minute with each other, got frustrated, told the cashier “sorry”, and walked away without their products.
I asked the cashier if that happened a lot.
She said, “Yes, all the time. And people get mad at me like I had something to do with it.”
This is one example where your front line employees are getting frustrated by customers. What are you doing to help both parties in these situations?
You Need Procedures
When you leave it up to the employees to field an awkward situation like this, they get frustrated and the customers get inconsistent experiences. Having procedures in place will help ease tense situations.
When customers’ payment fails, your employees need to:
- Know what to say to the customer. (Reassurance, guidance, explanations)
- Give alternatives on how to purchase. Maybe try cash or check instead of the denied credit card.
- Instruct the customer on what to do next. “Sorry we can’t complete your purchase today, if you …”
- Know now to handle the incomplete purchase in your systems. Are there certain keystrokes or database fields that need to be updated to cancel an order?
Sometimes customers forget their money and sincerely want to and can pay for their purchase. Treat them with respect and have a plan for them too.
Even if you are a sole proprietor, having a checklist of actions will save you time and effort when you encounter similar situations in the future.
Today’s Interaction Determines Tomorrow’s Customer
Make it smooth because today’s lost customer could come back tomorrow with cash in-hand. Don’t let a little hiccup today stress out your customers or your employees.