Self service and memorable customer experience

I find the self service check-out in shops can be great but it isn’t always the fastest way to pay, particular when you only have a few items to pay for – the screen dialogue can be long and slow with questions about how to pay, loyalty card and then the issue of getting the coins/note accepted by the machine.

However, I do prefer and use the self-service points when I have 5-10 items to pay for but I try to avoid them when I only have have a few items as it was the case when I yesterday was in WH Smith at Waterloo station. I had picked up the item before I realised all the tills were closed and only self-service points were available. I asked one of the staff members that was hanging round near the self service point if he could take payment for the item I wanted to buy. He said he could do the transaction for me on the self service point.

The staff member obvious had a different view to me on what ‘do the transaction’ means. The staff member scanned my item and left me to work out the payment screens and getting my note accepted.

I wish WH Smith and their staff had read Jorge Barba’s blog post where he says

A unique and memorable customer experience is a sum of all the interactions people have with a company. And, if you are paying attention to your users through every interaction, people will take notice.

– this was a memorable customer experience but not a good one. The human interactions are becoming so much more important as standardised self service replaces many of the opportunities to offer good service.

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