Just over a month ago, I asked for your help (see A Question: Service Expectations – Jan 18th). I thought I should share the thoughts given and an update on my situation.
In brief, my question asked if employees of a food establishment should be able to guide me through the payment process using my smart phone and near-field communication (Android Pay).
The responses indicate slightly (3 yes and 2 no with one “it depends”) that employees should be able to help the customer. One respondent though indicated that the expectation of how far the employee might help should be limited and reasonable. The employee should not be responsible to help download and setup the app.
Of course, this answer fit well with my situation. I didn’t want to be embarrassed that I couldn’t work my smartphone and that I was also holding up other customers.
Also to me, it seems there is some implied promise that some help might be given if you offer something.
Yet other respondents offered some excellent reasons why this expectation probably exceeded what I should expect. One reason was that knowing how to use the phone and its apps rested with the user. I was doing this for me. The store had multiple ways I could pay and the method I selected was my choice.
One business owner said the issue does not seem to come up often based on her experience. This makes it something that, given all of the training and procedures employees need to have, something less than a priority.
There was a mix of feelings. As I mentioned in the article, I had not prepared myself on how to use the app. Watching others made it look so simple and isn’t that what we expect of modern technology.
I think the comment about expected use of the app is important in your decision. If you have a customer base likely to use this tool a lot, you may want to be prepared. If little use is expected, it probably need not be as high on your to-do list.
Bottom line – If I can offer a path it would be this:
- Know what tools are out there
- Think about the potential use in your situation. This starts with deciding if you will even offer something.
- Train your employees. The training might be as simple as teaching them how, in an acceptable way, of saying you can’t help people with such issues.
- And be prepared to follow future changes and new tools
So to an update on my progress as a techie.
After going home and looking at how it should be done, including a YouTube video, I had another unsuccessful attempt. Again, I got nervous as I was holding up the line. This time the staff member did offer a couple of suggests but I just gave up and swiped my credit card. But on my third attempt, success.
Since then I have used another “pay-by-app” tool. This did not use near-field communication but another method. Again, I was unsuccessful the first time. It was my error though as I did not remember my PIN number. After resetting, success!!
And since then, as I have been in other stores, my phone has informed me that I could use my Android Pay app as well (thanks technology).
These tools, and many more coming, are part of the continuing technology explosion. Not all will go into the mainstream. And even those that make it may only last a few years. As a business owner, you need to evaluate which ones to use and then help yourself and your staff to learn them and possibly to assist others.
Enjoy the challenge.
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Glenn Muske is an independent expert on rural small business, working as GM Consulting – Your partner in achieving small business success. He provides consulting, and writes articles for county extension agents and newspapers across North Dakota. Previously, he was the Rural and Agribusiness Enterprise Development Specialist at the North Dakota State University Extension Service – Center for Community Vitality.