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Think about the entire customer experience

While I was ordering at a fast-food chain recently, I experienced a bad customer experience. The chain had implemented a new Point-of-Sale system which utilized a fingerprint reader for when the store manager might need to override a transaction. It was peak trading time and the franchise owner was hovering around front-of-house, I assumed to help if there were any issues with the new system. The cashier needed an override and the store manager was trying to use the fingerprint scanner but it wasn’t reading his fingerprint. The owner, watching this, was getting frustrated and came over. He immediately blamed the store manager for having dirty fingers. He then proceeded to take the store manager’s hand in his and started vigorously wiping his fingers with a cloth. After this, he pressed the store manager’s fingers hard against the reader and moved it around to try get it to read the fingerprint. After an excruciating minute of this, he eventually did a manual override, apologizing to me for the delay with that “you can’t get good staff these days!” look in his face.

There are so many problems with this scenario.

Firstly, an owner that thinks it’s ok to demean and belittle his staff like this, especially (but not only) in front of customers should have his franchise license revoked.

Secondly, the owner assumed that the system was correct and the human was wrong. In this case, with a new system being rolled out, things are bound to go wrong. Biometrics are notoriously fickle and immediately blaming the store manager will most likely make the store manager less confident with the new system. The accuracy of the biometric equipment should’ve been tested in the environment it was going to be used, especially in the case of a fast-food franchise and a fingerprint scanner!

Thirdly, it was clear that there had been inadequate training on the new system. The cashiers and store managers were still very tentative on the system and all orders took a bit longer to process. It was peak hour and the queues were backing up. The staff should’ve been trained sufficiently before the new system went live.

When companies develop new systems to support their business, too often they neglect to think about the entire end-to-end customer experience journey. A system is more than just the screens and the interface. In this case the customer didn’t even interact with the system but it nonetheless had an impact. When a new system is implemented, customers are generally understanding that everything might not run smoothly, but that’s exactly why you need to increase your overall customer experience to compensate. Making your customer uncomfortable by getting angry with your staff and not knowing what your system isn’t working isn’t helping your cause any. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes and try to understand what could go wrong and what you could do to fix that, before it happens.

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