Cashiers Put on Timer

1091 Words Nov 30th, 2008 5 Pages
Cashiers Put On Timer
I. Synopsis: With the uncertain economy today, retailers are looking at every end of their business to cut costs. Some stores like Gap Inc., Limited Brands, Meijer, Nike, Office Depot, Toys “R” Us and TJX Cos. have implemented an automated system to track the time it takes a cashier to move a customer through the line. When a cashier does not meet the standards set by the system, they would have to be retrained or given another task. With this “labor-waste elimination” system in place, stores may cut labor expenses but at the price of a critical retail objective, the customer experience.
II. Highlights:
- There are pros and cons to the system. Some customers and employees like it, but most of them don’t.
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It is true that store labor is a major expense, but it is worth the cost because it is the only customer contact for many retailers. The cashiers are the “face” of the company. I think that fashion retailers should never use this monitoring system because cashiers should not be pressured to focus on speed, but rather on customer interactions. In many cases, 100% of the customer’s human interaction with the retailer is with the cashier. That is why a retailer should not trade off a great customer experience for a few seconds at the checkout. When shopping becomes impersonal, loyalty from customers and employees both decline. If employees stress about their job obligations, these feelings would be revealed through their interactions with their customers. When customers sense that they are not being valued by front line employees, they are not likely to become loyal to the store. It is a dangerous chain reaction. In the long run, turnover rates would increase and it would end up costing more to train new employees than to keep old ones. It’s the same analogy with customers: it costs more to attain a new customer through advertising and promotions than to keep a loyal one. A company’s greatest asset is its employees, not its technology. Typically, timing transactions and setting general standards can be a great tool for training purposes, but it is definitely not an effective way to discipline employees.

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