Transfer Attention from the POS to the Customer

The customer is the lifeblood of any organization, so the customer experience is always of primary concern. Sometimes, however, Point of Sale designs can negatively impact the customer experience. For instance, designs that prescribe a particular flow can cause employees to frequently interrupt customers who deviate from that flow. Similarly, designs that require too much concentration can make it harder for employees to give customers the attention they need.

Well-designed Point of Sale systems will take as much of the burden off of the employee as possible, allowing better, more positive customer interactions. For example, preliminary trials with Subway's new POS resulted in noticeably more eye contact and friendly conversation with the customer. We achieved this in three ways:

  1. Creating a flexible design that allowed the transaction to unfold as the customer dictates it should.
  2. Ensuring that the system is extremely easy to use, with needed options where the user would expect to find them.
  3. Providing features that eliminate mentally-intensive tasks which would otherwise detract from the customer interaction.

When I start a POS design project, I typically conduct field studies in which I observe and analyze the way employees and customers interact. That information allows me to crease a design which will fit into the environment and correct any problems I discover. Basing the design on actual data also helps ensure optimal results and avoids potential problems of basing a design solely on perceived need or gut feelings.