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

Tesco to end ‘unexpected item in the bagging area’

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

Described as friendlier, more helpful and less talkative, the machines will no longer alert customers with the infamous phrase, ‘unexpected item in the bagging area’.

Introduced in 2003, the supermarket chain now has over 12,000 self-service checkouts. But the current voice has become a source of frustration for customers, 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.”

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