Tesco says it’s making its self-service checkouts ‘friendlier and more helpful’ – no more being told there’s an ‘unexpected item in bagging area’. But will the changes make you more likely to use them?
Many Which? Convo readers have strong feelings about ‘robo tills’ – more than 1,700 of you voted in our poll.
Some of you like their convenience, but many others voiced a range of problems. And one of the main ones, with 60% of the vote? Yes, you guessed it. As ‘Frustrated of Wealdstone’ put it:
‘Unexpected item in bagging. Arrgh!’
Simon H commented:
‘Regarding the self-service tills themselves, most are far too fussy (particularly in Tesco and Sainsburys), frequently complaining about unexpected items which then require staff intervention before you can continue.’
The ‘bagging’ phrase is one of six Tesco is replacing with others it hopes you’ll find friendlier. Will you be more likely to use the tills or do you feel, like Katharine:
‘They are an absolute pain and generally take far longer than a normal till even when there is a short queue.’
A new checkout voice – why not Victor Meldrew?
Also going is ‘that voice’ – the one that sounds like it’s telling you off. ‘Remove this item before continuing’. All right. Give me a chance. Some of you find it ‘smarmy’ and Tesco itself admits shoppers find the voice ‘shouty’ and ‘annoying’. So here’s the replacement:
I think they could have had a bit more fun with it. A soothing voice, such as Joanna Lumley’s, might make us feel a bit more relaxed as we hunt for the credit card or the right amount of change.
On the other hand, if they wanted a voice that sums up how many of us feel when we’re in the supermarket, Richard Wilson doing his Victor Meldrew would be perfect. Hearing that voice urging you to ‘come on, come on…there’s other people in this queue you know’ would make most of us hurry our items into the bagging area.
Or maybe stores should be looking north of the border? A survey of more than 400,000 British people published by Cambridge University this year claimed that Scots were the friendliest people in the UK. Although it also found that Londonders like me are the grumpiest. Which is rubbish.
Maybe a friendlier voice on the checkouts would encourage diehards such as Cactustom (and me) to start using them. As Cactustom says:
‘I find robo tills impersonal. I prefer a living breathing human to scan my shopping, help me with the bagging up if necessary and wish me good morning with a smile.’
Would Tesco’s changes make you more likely to start using self-service checkouts? Whose voice would you like to hear from the machine?