Asking for Smaller Bills Is Poor Customer Service

Sir, may piso kayo?

Don’t you just hate it when cashiers from fastfood restaurants and retailers with point-of-sale (POS) systems ask you for smaller bills or coins when paying? I do. It sucks. It ruins the whole experience.

Now you may say that that is your staff doing it, not you. That makes it worse! As their manager, what are you doing about it? You are customer-focused right? Given that customers are the ones paying, your goal us to satisfy their needs right? Below are two reasons why this has to change.

Two Reasons Why Asking for Smaller Bills Is Poor Customer Service

1. You are the company / the cashier. You have that storage of money, not the customer.

Let us start with the obvious. As the one manning the POS or cash registry, who has more money? 99.99% of any given time, you have more cash at hand than the customer you are dealing with. If she ordered for a PhP 99 meal and gave you PhP 500, don’t you think asking for smaller bills is stupid? If she has one, she would have paid using it. What if she has and still chose to use the larger bill? Isn’t it a waste of time and effort and risking irritating the customer by asking for smaller bills when she “wants” to pay with the larger bill because she will have to commute afterwards? That way she will have a smaller bill for that jeepney driver who does not have change for her PhP 500.

Stop asking those questions because it does not help the customer nor the company. You have more money and more resources at any given time. Your customers know the amount they have to pay and have their reasons for using larger bills for payments.

2. You are making it easier for yourself than for the customer.

This is the worse of the two reasons. Customers are king. They may not always be right, but they are still who you want to please (to a certain extent and trust me, this is one of those instances). Irritated customers do not go back to you unless they have no other choice. Unless you are in the utilities and telecommunications business (where customers don’t have any other alternative), sorry, you have to work on pleasing your customers. If not, that means you do not get their money. You know what makes this worse? Studies show that irritated customers tell other people about their negative experiences – both in person and online. Imagine the reach of one irritated customer and its effect on your business!

When you ask for smaller bills or coins, you are only making it easier for you when customer service is the other way around. It is about making the life of your customers easier. Making them reach out to their pockets or bags for those coins or smaller bills creates stress and annoys the hell out of them.

Look, you know how to count, right? Your customers know how to count as well. If the bill calls for PhP 460 and they give you PhP 500 and you ask if they have PhP 10 so you can quickly give them PhP 50. Or what about if the bill is PhP 31 and your customer gave you PhP 50? You ask for that single peso right? That way you can easily give the their change of PhP 20.

Making it easier for yourself at the expense of customer satisfaction is detrimental to the very nature of your business. Your customers already bought from you and gave you their money. Don’t ruin the whole experimence by asking for change or caller bills. Gladly accept it and give them their change.

PS: Another note on customer service. If you don’t have enough change for an exact amount (e.g. You don’t have 50c or the bill is PhP 89.30), however rare that is, always give your customers more! Don’t ask (and imply you don’t want to give them their due change) “Sir, OK lang walang 50cents?” – another topic for another discussion.