10 Practical Tips Every Cashier Should Know

10 Practical Tips Every Cashier Should Know

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Cashier jobs are more than just scanning items and counting money. The job is more challenging than it seems since you probably won’t get a manual when you start. To succeed as a cashier and keep your job, you need to know the ins and outs of your duties from day one.

Cashiers help customers check out quickly hence they need to have product info, great customer service skills, and know how to be organized. In addition to scanning items, they should be prepared to answer queries, process coupons, handle returns, and help customers find specific items if necessary. 

As a cashier, you have several responsibilities, from memorizing product codes, scanning items quickly and accurately, and assisting customers when necessary. It might sound overwhelming, but don’t worry! Here are 10 practical convenience, fast food, and grocery store cashier tips every cashier should know if they want to succeed at this job.

1. Have Proper Knowledge of the Store Specifics

To begin with, cashiers must have proper knowledge of the tools and systems they will use to do their duties. Efficient cashiers avoid unnecessary delays to ensure maximum customer satisfaction.

  • Learn how to use work equipment. Cashiers use equipment and software such as the barcode scanner, cash drawer, and point of sale system (POS) when recording customer transactions. This way, the store owner can keep track of the inventory, track sales, and accurately manage vital supply chain activities (ordering more items, logistics, forecasting demand, and so much more).
  • Know where everything is kept. You will be expected to know where everything is on the shelves, the prices of the items, and their SKUs. While you might not have to know the specific SKUs of every item in the store, you will need to know a few most-sought after general products. These include clothing, food, cleaning supplies, health and beauty products.
  • Have proper knowledge of the store’s products. This makes you an even greater asset to the customers. Often, buyers inquire about an item they want. For instance, a buyer who cannot locate a particular product in the store may seek your assistance. Knowledge of the store layout will spare you the hassle of having to rummage through the store with them.

Knowing about the store’s products and their placement is especially important when doing stock checks and re-orders. You might not remember all the codes off the top of your head, but if you know where everything is, you’ll be able to find what you’re looking for. You’ll also be able to find items quicker on the shelves, and won’t risk having customers wait long for you to find what they’re looking for.

Pro tip: Take your time once in a while and familiarize yourself with the layout and the products on the shelves so that you can offer assistance when needed. 

2. Ensure You Stay Organized

Staying organized can help make your job easier while eliminating distractions and errors. 

One way you can remain organized is by arranging your workspace. You should always keep a well-organized cash drawer. Half the work has already been done for you since cash drawers separate cash into slots by denominations. 

Usually, the highest denominations go to the left, decreasing to the smallest on the far right for both the notes and coins. Another way to stay organized is by using the scanner machine to scan receipts so they are stored in a file on your computer in case they are needed for future reference.

3. Possess Excellent Customer Service Skills

Did you know that 77% of customers will likely recommend a company to a friend after a positive and satisfying experience? Great customer service is vital because it taps into the power of building good relations with customers. 

Cashiers are often the first point of contact for customers. They represent the store and its values. It thus goes without saying that they can positively or negatively influence a customer’s shopping experience. 

Since cashiers generally interact with customers, managers, and other employees at the store daily, they must possess people skills.

Every business needs to treat its customers with respect and kindness. Basic customer service skills cashiers include

  • Friendliness: Being kind and polite to customers doesn’t cost anything but goes a long way. A simple smile or just warmly greeting a customer can make you appear friendly and approachable to customers who need help. And, as you may have already noted, a happy customer will always come back. 
  • Active listening skills:  Listening to your customer and addressing their issues makes them feel heard and valued. For instance, if a buyer has a complaint, it is important that you listen to what they are objecting to and avoid arguing with them. After all, the customer is always right!
  • Maintain a positive attitude: It’s easy to misinterpret another person’s tone of voice or even facial expression. Keeping a positive attitude will help you avoid such misunderstandings. 
  • Practice empathy: This allows you to be more understanding of clients’ frustrations and address their concerns more effectively.

It is essential to note that a bad customer experience could tarnish your store’s name to your would-be customers. Always strive to provide a good customer experience to avoid damaging your organization’s reputation.

4. Be Quick on Your Feet

One of the most important qualities in a cashier is the ability to be quick on their feet. Afterall, you’ll deal with many different types of customers. 

  • Some will be in a rush, while others will be relaxed and casual. 
  • You’ll deal with angry customers and those who want a lot of attention.
  • You might have a regular customer who always takes up a lot of your time.
  • You might also have someone who is extremely rude and puts you on the spot.

You’ll need to be able to deal with all of these situations quickly and efficiently. You can’t always control what happens, but you can control how you respond.

If someone is in a rush, you need to be able to scan their items as quickly as possible without sacrificing accuracy. If a customer wants to talk, you need to listen and respond appropriately. Overall, you need to be able to think on your feet and respond to the situation at hand.

5. Try Out New POS Systems Before Launch Day

If possible, try out a new POS system before it’s rolled out for use. This will allow you to become familiar with the system and understand any changes or new features. You’ll have a better understanding of how things work and get to answer customer questions with ease.

Be cognizant of the system’s limitations and try to think outside the box when things are not working as expected. If you can provide feedback on ways to improve the system, that would be very helpful for the store.

6. Be Vigilant About Shoplifting

It goes without saying that if a customer is shoplifting, they are also more likely to steal from the store again in the future. If you have solid reasons to believe that a customer is a shoplifter, look for details, like tattoos, scars, or anything else that might be unique. Take note of these things to be able to identify them later, and don’t be afraid to report someone if you suspect them of stealing.

7. Don’t Be Afraid To Ask for Help

It’s easy to want to keep everything under control, but don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. If you can’t reach something on the top shelf, observe basic cashier safety tips and ask for help to retrieve it. 

Similarly, if you’re unsure about a certain customer, product, or situation, you should always feel comfortable asking your manager or supervisor for help. You are expected to know all about the products, but you are not expected to know everything.

While at it, welcome mistakes as learning opportunities. You’re bound to make errors, and you should try to learn from them. If you accidentally charged a customer more than the item is worth or forgot to apply a coupon, don’t panic. 

What to say as a cashier who just overcharged the customer? It’s simple. Apologize sincerely to the customer and return the money immediately. Then, figure out what went wrong and make a mental note so you don’t make the same mistake again.

8. Strike a Balance Between Patience and Time Management

Patience is an essential attribute when dealing with customers. Although it may not be easy, there are various instances when you may be required to exercise patience as a cashier:

  • When a buyer at checkout remembers an item they intended to buy but forgot to pick it up, and they want to go get the item.
  • When serving old people – older customers tend to be slower and will likely spend more time than usual at the cash register. Be patient with them.
  • When dealing with someone shopping at the store for the first time – they may be uncertain or unfamiliar with the payment options.

On that note, time is a valuable asset for you and your customers. Research shows that 66% of adults feel that the most important thing a company can do is value their time.  Additionally, 80% of American consumers consider speed as one of the most important elements of a positive customer experience.

9. Have a Fast Finger, and Great Accuracy

Speed and accuracy are both essential skills test during fast-food job interviews. While being quick on your feet and having good accuracy is important, you also need to have a fast finger for the cash register.

You need to be able to scan items quickly and accurately to keep the lines moving. If a customer has a large purchase, you need to know how to break it down, so it doesn’t take them hours to check out. 

You also want to be sure to scan the correct items. If you scan the wrong item or forget to scan an item, it will come out of your paycheck. Therefore, you need to have a good balance between speed and accuracy. If you take too long to scan items, customers will get frustrated and probably leave. Very few customers are willing to stay in line for more than five minutes waiting to be served. 

Fast food cashier tip: You need to work up a good speed so your line is constantly moving. Processing payments fast and accurately allows lines to move faster, keeping customers satisfied.

10. Take Short Breaks

In addition to working long hours, some cashiers have to spend most of their day standing and moving around the workplace. This can lead to some serious burnout at the end of the day. On top of that, working long hours can interfere with your concentration and efficiency in fulfilling your duties.

There’s no better way to keep your energy up and avoid burnout than taking small breaks throughout your shift. Just ensure to keep them short to avoid wasting time.


About The Author

Nathan Brunner
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Nathan Brunner is a labor market expert. He is a mathematician who graduated from EPFL.

He is the owner of Salarship, a job search engine where less-skilled candidates can find accessible employment opportunities.