Managing customer frustration with cashless transactions

Media Release

15 June, 2020

Many retailers have implemented store policies against cash transactions to minimise the risk of transferring the COVID-19 virus from one person to another.

University of NSW microbiology professor Peter White explains that objects, including polymer banknotes, can remain infectious from anywhere between 6 and 24 hours, depending on the temperature and humidity. If a person is infected, cash transactions involves passing a potentially contaminated object from one person to another, with a secondary transfer to the next customer. By far, cashless payments are much safer.

Despite these policies being put into place to ensure community safety, many retailers have reported customers are becoming frustrated and aggressive towards their staff.

There is a widespread belief that businesses cannot refuse legal tender, including coins or bank notes. However, there is no law against a business refusing to accept cash for goods and services. Businesses are within their rights to set the commercial terms upon which payment will take place before the ‘contract’ for supply of goods or services is entered into.

If your business is experiencing issues with transitioning to cashless transactions, there are some strategies to manage customer frustration:

  1. Ensure adequate signage is displayed at the entry, point of sale and throughout the store advising customers that cash will not be accepted.
  2. Educate staff in the legalities regarding cash transactions and the risk of infection involved.
  3. Train staff on a range of actions to take to de-escalate incidents of customer aggression including verbal and non-verbal communication, listening and when to seek support. Ensure you also care for staff wellbeing after the incident and during the recovery.

Read more about handing aggressive behaviour here.

Source: National Retail Association.

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