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7 Convenience Store Customer Service Tips

I bet you remember the last time you had a great customer experience. 

I bet you also remember the last time a store interaction left you annoyed or frustrated. Customer service (good and bad) sticks with you, which is why it’s such an important aspect of managing a convenience store.

Follow best practices for convenience store customer service to ensure that everyone who leaves your store walks away with nothing but good memories.

In this article, we review some interesting retail customer service statistics, dive into our top tips for improving the customer experience at your store, and show you how the latest technology can help.

Why Great Customer Service Matters for Convenience Stores

As a small retailer, you need to take every advantage you can get against bigger competitors. Providing exceptional convenience store customer service is one of the most impactful methods for increasing revenue and customer loyalty.

Don’t believe us? Just look at the numbers:

  • 64% of people care more about customer experience than price when making a purchase (Gartner)
  • 3 out of 5 consumers say that good customer service is required for them to feel loyal to a brand (Zendesk)
  • If you can increase customer retention rates by just 5% it can lead to a 25 - 95% increase in profits (Bain and Company)
  • 73% of customers will switch to a competitor after just one bad customer service experience with your store (Zendesk

Put simply, neglecting customer service is bad for your customers — and your bottom line.

Top 7 Customer Service Tips To Elevate Your Convenience Store

Great customer service comes from hiring great people — but that’s not the only aspect of a successful customer service strategy. Here’s what you can do at your convenience store to empower your employees, engage with customers, and boost profits.

1. Don’t Skimp on Training

The daily grind of working at a convenience store can be stressful. It’s tempting to rush through training a new employee so you can get back to more important tasks — especially if the new hire has some retail experience already.

But not training your employees on the basics can come back to bite you. Even a great, polite employee can provide bad customer service if they make mistakes or can’t answer customers’ questions.

When onboarding new employees, make sure they know the following before letting them work on their own:

  • How to operate your point of sale (POS) system and search inventory
  • The store layout and where popular items are
  • How to verify age for tobacco, alcohol, and lottery items
  • How to handle customer complaints
  • Who your suppliers are and when to expect deliveries
  • Opening and closing duties

This is just a cursory list, but every store has a few tasks that are unique to their business. It can be helpful to list all the tasks you expect an employee to perform. That way, you won’t forget anything important.

Finally, customize your convenience store POS system. Organize the user interface to make sure all of the most important functions are just a click away. This helps streamline your onboarding and ensures the most-used functions are easy to find.

2. Create Shared, Actionable Goals

To give customers the best possible service, your employees shouldn’t just feel like cogs in a wheel. Setting shared goals with your employees helps them feel invested in your business’ success and creates a better overall customer experience.

Monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) for your store and use the data to set actionable team objectives. Some examples of convenience store KPIs include:

  • Average transaction value
  • Sales per store section
  • Customer loyalty signups
  • Performance on discounts and promotional deals

Having shared goals gives employees a chance to weigh in on certain tasks and creates a more consistent experience for customers.

Related Read: The Definitive Guide: What is a Good Convenience Store Profit Margin?

3. Find Ways To Streamline Checkout

One of the key draws of bigger convenience store chains is how quickly customers can get in and out. While we sometimes think of customer service as person-to-person interactions, sometimes it’s speed and convenience that define a great store experience.

Find ways to speed up checkout at your store to ensure that no customer’s time is wasted. Here are a few ideas:

  • Offer flexible payments: Meet customers where they are by using a payment processor that lets them use their preferred payment method, whether it’s cash, credit/debit card, or a digital wallet.

  • Install self-checkout: Offer self-checkout options to let customers quickly grab items on the go.

  • Customize your POS screen: Customize your checkout screen so employees can quickly ring up popular items and access the most-used functions.

  • Optimize shift scheduling: By monitoring sales data, you can easily see which times of day are busiest, allowing you to schedule enough employees.

By using the right technology at your convenience store, you can offer fantastic customer service with minimal effort.

Retail POS System Buyers Guide

4. Try To Anticipate Your Customers’ Needs

Keeping up with popular items and customer demand is how you make a happy customer. There are a couple of ways you can stay ahead of your customers’ needs.

  1. Research top-selling items: Customer preferences are always changing. Make sure you regularly research top-selling items to stock what’s most popular. If your customer base includes alcohol, tobacco, and vape enthusiasts, research the legal requirements for selling age-restricted items like CBD or alcohol in your state.

  2. Use demand forecasting: Demand forecasting takes your sales data and correlates it with time of day, seasons, and other external data to predict trends. Use your POS system’s reports to uncover customer preferences and make better stocking and layout decisions.

Change can be stressful — but it’s also necessary to maintain excellent convenience store customer service. Make sure to change up your stock with popular items to stay relevant.

Related Read: 4 Point of Sale Reports You Can Use To Grow Your Small Business ASAP

5. Personalize Experiences With Customer Loyalty Programs

Customers prefer local stores because they offer a friendlier, more personal experience. 

Customer loyalty programs are an excellent way to incentivize customers to come back to your store. Let customers earn points on every transaction and redeem them for discounts, specific items, and more.

Modern POS systems come with built-in customer loyalty programs that you can customize based on your shop’s unique strengths. 

By linking sales data and customer contact info on your POS system, you can create personalized offers based on items they’ve bought before. Sending out offers via SMS or email is as easy as clicking a button. 

Remember — a personalized offer is always more effective and profitable than blanket discounts.

6. Reward Great Employees

Having a chat with a particularly helpful employee can brighten a customer’s whole day — and turn a one-time customer into a repeat business. 

That’s why it’s so important to keep track of your employees and reward those going above and beyond. Modern POS systems let you track employee performance and metrics so you can see what’s working and what’s not. This lets you see things like: 

  • Who was working at a particular register at a specific time
  • Sales figures by employee
  • Which employees handled inventory restocks

Employee tracking is often seen as a way to handle problems like shrinkage, but it can also be a positive tool for improving the customer experience. Use data to have impartial conversations about employee performance and find opportunities for improvement.

Conversely, if you have staff that knock it out of the park, make sure you reward them appropriately for boosting your business.

7. Make Your Store Layout Appealing

As more people shop online, making the brick-and-mortar experience as convenient as possible is essential for repeat business. 

That’s why a well-planned store layout is more important than ever. When laying out your convenience store, you should think about it from your customers’ perspective. Ask yourself questions like:

  • Is the organization of my aisles easy to understand? 
  • Is there enough space around checkout? Is it cramped?
  • Is it easy for my employees to see customers?
  • Are any promotions or discounts easily seen right when customers walk in?

Find your best-selling items and make sure they’re readily accessible. If customers frequently ask about certain products, consider moving them to more visible areas. 

A messy or confusing layout might make a customer walk right out the door, even if you have the items they’re looking for. In other words, along with your employees, your space itself can provide great customer service.

Enhance Customer Service With Leading Technology

Offering great convenience store customer service is your ticket to more revenue, better customer retention, and future growth. 

Modern POS and inventory solutions help small convenience stores stay competitive against larger competitors. They combine customer-friendly options and powerful back-office features.

When looking for a convenience store POS system, look for systems that:

  • Are built specifically for convenience stores
  • Have robust inventory management capabilities
  • Offer custom loyalty programs and discounts
  • Include marketing and online sales capabilities
  • Provide easy payment processing and flexible payment options
  • Support lottery tickets, tobacco, and alcohol sales
  • Can detect instances of shoplifting and employee theft
  • Offer responsive customer support

Backed with the right technology, you can streamline data entry and other tasks and focus more on offering exceptional customer service.

Ready To Improve Your Convenience Store Customer Service?

Great convenience store customer service is built on a combination of great employees, powerful technology, and customer engagement. But by investing time in all three, your small convenience store can quickly become a community favorite.

Ready to level up your convenience store customer service? Empower your employees with a POS system built to handle the unique challenges of convenience store management.

Ready to learn how POS Nation can help improve your customer service?


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Lynn Ellison

“POS Nation saved us about 30% on our credit card processing fees.”

Lynn Ellison, Owner Liquor Stop

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