By Rick Segel
I was asked to write an article about the effects of self-checkout for retailers. My first comment was, "are you kidding me?" Why would any specialty retailer even consider investing money into a self-checkout system? After all, isn't checkout an extension of — or the heart of — customer service? We are judged on how effectively and efficiently the checkout process is.
As I wrote that last sentence, I realized that many of the store employees who are responsible for checking out the customer do not necessarily leave the customer with that warm and fuzzy feeling of knowing they want to return. Many times the rapport can be built with the salesperson as opposed to the person who is checking us out. How many times have we experienced great salespeople only to have our sale in jeopardy because of an impatient and rude cashier who takes the thrill out of buying? Having said that, isn't the checkout process the place where we can cement a lifetime relationship with that customer?