Adapting to Actual Client Needs

Stores worry that the unscrupulous might steal” the PIN a customer’s debit card by watching that customer enter it on the keypad.

Safeway 2That’s not totally bogus.

Here’s the solution one national chain and their payment vendor came up with.

See the rubber thingy surrounding the keypad? Supposedly, it makes it harder for an observer to see what you’re typing.

Only one problem. It makes it darn near impossible to actually type your PIN, your phone number, or anything else that uses keys other than 5, 8, 0, or backspace. The guard overhangs the keys and prevents you from pressing them naturally.

For the past month, every time I’ve shopped at this chain, I’ve wanted to rip the cover away.

Safeway 1Well, it looks like at least one branch of the chain heard me – and hundreds of others like me, according the the employee I spoke with (off the record, of course). It’s the same new machine, with the slot for chip-based cards, but they tore off the rubber covers at each of their registers.

That’s understanding the client’s real needs.

It’s hard, because I’m sure there are a number of loss-prevention folks telling them they need the covers to stay secure – though I bet they actually need the covers to appear secure, so they can use them as a defense should they be accused of making it too easy on thieves and fraudsters. Nonetheless, these employees, presumably with the support of the store manager, recognized that they’d lose more business alienating customers, and responded to their customers’ needs.

What are you doing in the name of “we have to do it this way” that alienates your clients? Do you really have to do it that way, or are there alternatives you could employ?

There are almost always alternatives. Each comes with some level of risk and some level of reward, including the “safe” alternative (which is never totally safe, with zero risk). Use your project management skills to spot these alternatives, to evaluate them on a broad scale, and then to recommend and take the action that benefits you most in the long term.

(Now if this chain could fix the by-design error in their programming that prevents me from entering my sometimes-get-a-discount customer number before the clerk has rung up the first item, which slows the express lines down significantly when everyone has only one or two items. They don’t want someone leaving a number in a transaction they abandon, say, because the clerk isn’t actually at the register, but how hard would it be to make the machines accept input anytime the register is signed in/active and the previous transaction has concluded?)

By the way, when you shop, just block the keypad with your body. Add your non-typing hand as a shield, if you want a bit more privacy.

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