Is there anyone else out there who has experienced the frustration of making a purchase and then the alarm from the electronic article surveillance system sounds when you attempt to exit a store? More annoying still, the cashier waves to you and says you’re okay and continues checking out the next customer? To top off the experience, it seems everyone in the store is staring at you. I know in my own experience, my reaction can depend on how my day is going, and with a knowledge of loss prevention, I am aware that no system is perfect so I may be a little more forgiving than the average customer. As an Assets Protection Manager I have also been on the receiving end of the angry customer who has been inconvenienced by an alarm that has sounded due to the failure of EAS tags to be deactivated. This is the customer who is going to make their feelings known, and they may not do it so quietly or politely.
I am a huge proponent of retail theft prevention measures, especially electronic article surveillance systems. There is no question that these systems make a significant impact on improving the profits of the stores that invest in them. Having the antennas at the doors makes a shoplifter consider whether they want to risk setting off the alarm. EAS tags on merchandise act as deterrents against the would-be thief. It must be remembered that the technology that is on the market can only go so far in efforts to stop shoplifting. Business owners and managers must also train employees on systems they choose to invest in. Employees need to be aware of the importance of deactivating all merchandise that passes over their checkout lanes. It is not enough to simply have an acronym that employees are to memorize to get compliance. Time needs to be spent properly training employees. Invest the time explaining to the employee why minimizing and preferably eliminating false alarms at the doors is so important. If there are no dedicated security personnel, then a cashier may have to be the person trained to test the equipment. Training also must include proper response to electronic article surveillance alarm activations.
The first and most obvious reason to eliminate false alarms is the negative experience to the honest customer. Customers who have experienced a false alarm are not concerned whether the cause of the alarm is due to faulty equipment or a cashier not deactivating EAS tags, they want someone to address the immediate situation. A well trained employee can defuse a situation quickly and allow the customer to leave still having a positive attitude about their overall experience. Eliminating false alarms will also add credibility to the deterrence value of the alarm system. When people see that no one responds to an electronic article surveillance alarm the bad guys are among those watching and they do evaluate stores based on response or the lack of response to an alarm. No system will stop shoplifting if it is ignored when it sounds. Following proper deactivation procedures of EAS tags at the point of sale and quick response to alarms will reinforce a company’s commitment to theft prevention and good customer service.
Make the investment in an electronic article surveillance system and train employees so they see the value of the systems and understand how critical their role is in monitoring and responding to alarms. Employees will be motivated when they see the system does stop shoplifting. Building a culture of customer service and a secure environment can go hand in hand to building a profitable business.
For more information on Electronic Article Surveillance, contact us or call 1.770.426.0547