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Tesco makes self-checkout service changes


Following feedback from customers, Tesco is to introduce a new audio voice to its self-service and ‘scan as you shop’ checkouts.

What the grocer describes as “friendlier, more helpful and less talkative”, the machines will no longer frustrate customers with the infamous phrase, ‘unexpected item in the bagging area’.

The supermarket chain first introduced self-service checkouts in 2003, playing a crucial role for busy shoppers up and down the UK, at Tesco and other retailers.

But for more than one customers, the current voice has become a source of great annoyance, with some describing it as ‘shouty’ and ‘irritating’, and putting them under pressure as they finish their shop.

The new voice uses softer phrases and is more customer-friendly. As well as changing ‘unexpected item in the bagging area’ six unhelpful phrases including ‘please take your items’ have been removed and ‘Thank you for shopping at Tesco’ has been added.

The new voice has already been installed in a small number of stores including Hatfield, Peterborough, Edinburgh and Kensington. It will be introduced in all of Tesco’s UK stores by the end of October.

James Dewen Self Service Checkout Operations Manager at Tesco said “Customers really like the convenience of our self-service checkouts, especially when they’re just popping into store to pick up lunch or a few items after work. But for some, the voice leaves them a bit frustrated."  

“It’s listened to by millions of customers every week, so we’ve acted on customer and colleague feedback and worked hard to get the new voice right to improve the shopping trip.”  

The move comes 3 months after Morrisons Boss Dave Potts announced plans to bring back over 1,000 staffed express checkouts to it stores in response to a fast, and personalised, service. According to research that was released at around the same time, British shoppers would opt to use a staffed check out, compared to 40% who are more inclined to choose self-service. The general consensus was that customers preferred to have a chat – maybe Tesco’s new phrases will suffice.

Published on Thursday 30 July by Veebs Sabharwal

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