At the POS, it’s always POS!

POS. Point Of Sale.

POS stands for, among other things, Point Of Sale. Although narrowly defined as "The place where a retail transaction is carried out", I would like to include here that it means everything surrounding the moment the sale is made. It includes the buyer, the seller, the goods and/ or services provided, the cash handed over or the credit card swiped, and so forth. It includes the decision made in the buyer's mind to buy, and that usually takes place way before the buyer reaches the checkout line at the store or whatever location the transaction happens to be at.

Have you ever done the job of a checkout clerk or store salesperson manning the cash register or other POS system? What was it like for you? Have you ever experienced running out of change? What did you do then? What if your automated POS system decided to fail on you, take the day off, as it were? Did you have a backup system? Have you ever had someone buy something and then come back requesting for a change of item, since they'd already bought one earlier but had forgotten? How did you handle that? Did you have to frantically record all the cash transactions on a ragged piece of paper with a long line of buyers waiting (Patiently, you hoped!) for their turn?

Do you remember times when you felt really good at the checkout counter? What happened? Was it because the salesperson made the effort to sincerely thank you for shopping at their store, whether they happened to actually own the store or not? Did the salesperson look you in the eye and hand you your change or your credit card with a warm smile? Did you feel good? Were you surprised? Now, think about all those times you sold something to someone. Did you thank the buyer? Do you think the buyer would come back again?

POS. People Over Systems.

In my book, POS also stands for People Over Systems. Perhaps even more so than Point Of Sale, although that's very important, too. The best, the most well-designed, the most highly integrated systems in the world, are actually there just for one purpose. That purpose is to support the people using them to do their jobs. Whether a supermarket checkout clerk or taking water samples as part of a Sustainable Cities project, Systems are there to support People. We need to remember that. When do you think a Sale actually happens? It happens in the mind of the buyer. A Sale happens when a Buyer decides to buy. All our marketing, rapport-building, client research, use of data and so on are all directed at helping the Buyer make the decision to Buy. It is us, the people, that are critical in helping the Buyer along. The best Systems in the world will not do that.

A short video from Simple Truths TV is embedded here to help us keep this in the forefront of our minds. Do you value People over Systems? Do share your thoughts and experiences!

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