BOSTON (CBS) – More take out spots and coffee shops are adding electronic pay stations.
This new technology is convenient, but it also raises a dilemma about tipping. Most of these systems prompt the consumer to leave a tip on every purchase.
Justin Guinn, a retail marketing researcher at Software Advice explained, “These systems are completely changing the way that we as consumers tip. It’s very revolutionary.”
A marketing survey found 41% of people are ‘somewhat to definitely more likely’ to leave a tip if they are asked directly when using one of these digital pay stations.
“There may be some elements of social pressure there, having the server looking at you while you’re completing the payment process,” said Guinn. “That could certainly be driving people to perhaps tip more.”
So what are customers supposed to do? Are they supposed to tip all the time, and if so, how much for something as simple as a cup of coffee?
Etiquette coach Maggie Oldham said she is getting questions from her clients on a regular basis about digital tipping. They want to know if the rules have changed.
Oldham advises that the rules are the same for a sit down meal. A standard tip is 15%-20%, or even more if the service is outstanding.
A tip on a smaller item, even something that is ‘grab and go’, can be appropriate if the service stands, according to Oldham. “If you’re getting that above and beyond friendly service, it’s a really nice gesture by saying thank you by tipping.”
“I am definitely more motivated to work harder to make a connection with whoever is at the register,” said cashier Zoe Katsarsos.
Some customers, such as Brandon Colby, don’t feel they have to respond with a tip just because of a new payment system. “I guess I can see how some people would feel pressure to tip, but I don’t feel pressured.”
That same marketing study found about a third of customers share Colby’s sentiment and hit the “No Tip” button.