If you have been reading my Wednesday contributions to Small Business Survival, you know to expect some tip for your business operation or some new idea seen elsewhere.
This week you will find something different. I need your thoughts. I have an opinion but am I realistic?
Here is the situation. Over the weekend, I stopped into a local café. It’s the type of place where you place your order before you grab a table.
As I was placing my order, I noted that they took “Android Pay” (not an endorsement – it’s just a popular payment option, one of several). I had the app loaded on my smartphone but had never used it. Also it was quiet in the restaurant so I had the time to fumble around.
So my wife and I place our order. I then indicated I wanted to try the app. I brought it up on my phone assuming that something more would appear on the app that I would press and then be on my way.
Wrong!!. Nothing happened. I tried a couple more things but couldn’t find a menu or list of instructions. Of course, now I am feeling somewhat embarrassed. So I asked the clerk for help.
She responded, “I don’t know what to do.”
After fumbling around for a couple of minutes, I just dug out my plastic and paid.
So my question. Is it fair to expect people in a food business (or any other business) to be able to answer your tech questions? She had been helpful on our food questions that morning.
POST YOUR RESPONSE IN THE COMMENT BOX!! Perhaps you might respond differently as a small-business owner and as a customer. If so, indicate that. (This question is a great way to learn from each other. After you respond, share the question with your friends.)
So, what are my thoughts??
I am flip-flopping between she should be able to help or that’s beyond her job description as my smartphone is not part of their business. In terms of the latter, she deals with food. Tech may not be her thing. How far does customer service go? It’s a new world with new tech coming out all the time. Or (now my bias comes out), maybe a millennial could help but can I expect a boomer (of which I am one) to do so? But doing this represent a whole new category of employee training (and it would be constant training as fast as technology changes).
Yet on the flip side, not being able to help might cost them business. Plus what do customers think when you can’t help. How does it affect not only sales but your brand?
Is there a middle ground? Just saying we can’t help you, doesn’t help your business. Would having the instructions on your website be an answer?
For me, it’s a challenge. I am going back as I know have checked out the instructions. Here is a YouTube video showing someone using the app as well as instructions from Google.
How to pay – https://support.google.com/androidpay/answer/6224824?hl=en
You don’t have to open the Android Pay app to make a purchase with your NFC phone. Just follow these steps:
- Wake up and unlock your phone.
- Hold the back of your phone against the contactless payment terminal.
- If prompted, choose “Credit” regardless of your type of card.
- For debit card transactions, you may have to enter a PIN. Use the PIN you set up with your bank.
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Richard Arnold says
I’m a Boomer, too. If you’re going to have an app on your smartphone and plan to use it, know how to use it or don’t use it. I don’t believe training customer contact employees on different payment apps is necessary. Not saying absolutely no training, but the burden rests with the user, IMHO.
Glenn Muske says
Thanks Richard. I probably should have done more to prepare myself. Appreciate your thoughts.
Love this question! In response to your question on should counter service order takers know how to run payment options? My immediate answer is YES, anyone taking any form of payment should know the process. At the very least, a front counter Supervisor should step in and guide if employee lacks the answer. Then in an ideal situation, after your order was processed, the supervisor should review with staff at an appropriate time, (especially if the store was busy).
Glenn Muske says
Thanks for the comment. You continue the same general trend of what employees should be able to do. You also raise an interesting question about the supervisor. She didn’t ask and I don’t know if one was available. And I like that you talk about helping the person learn the process right away (or as soon as possible).
Kristen S says
She should absolutely be able to assist with every payment method available to the customer. Not being able to sets you both of for embarrassment and failure. Her employer should have seen to it that she was trained on how that app should function. I’m not saying she should be able to troubleshoot a bug your phone or the app, but simply not knowing how it works is not okay. This is the kind of thing that results in angry customers and lost sales.
Kristen S says
She should absolutely be able to assist with every payment method available to the customer. Not being able to sets you both up for embarrassment and failure. Her employer should have seen to it that she was trained on how that app should function. I’m not saying she should be able to troubleshoot a bug your phone or the app, but simply not knowing how it works is not okay. This is the kind of thing that results in angry customers and lost sales.
Glenn Muske says
Thanks for the comment. I have been back to the store, after reading what I needed to do. They were more helpful the second time but still no success.
Cara K says
I say yes, if they accept that form of payment, the employees should be knowledgeable in how to use it.
Glenn Muske says
Thanks for your comment
Small Biz Survival says
Reader Amber sent in her comment via email:
Hi…I’m a new reader & I’ve enjoyed your research and insight so far! Here’s my take on the Android Pay…
I do think it’s something you should’ve researched before you got there BUT, if they’re going to accept Android/Apple Pay…they need to be able to tell you what to do (briefly). They are in the service industry, so they need to be well-trained, helpful, and attentive. That being said, they should quickly serve you (1st priority) and quickly suggest how you should look into your Android Pay, have it set up in your phone, then go through the checkout process with you. After all, customers have not always known how to swipe cards, sign electronically, or use chip readers!😉 A quick demo should be done. Should she download an app on your phone and help you enter your bank info–no.😉
Glenn Muske says
Thanks for your comments. I did go home and read up on how to work it. When I went back t0 the same store, it still didn’t work. Still working on it. As an average consumer, my take right now is it shouldn’t be this hard.
Becky McCray says
Speaking as a retailer myself, I don’t think that operating the payment app for customers is the role of the staff. When we first accepted mobile payments (via Square), I printed out their graphic instruction sheet for customers and kept it behind the front counter. We never ended up needing it as the only people interested in paying by phone worked it out on their own.
We offered Apple Pay for a short time, but had no interest from customers yet. We will, I’m sure, go back to it later. When we do, I’ll once again search for a graphical instruction sheet to keep on hand. But I won’t expect my team to teach people how to use the app. That’s not their job, in my opinion.
Also, it’s important to note that this is not coming up very often, in my experience. So I don’t recommend business owners spend much if any time sweating over it.