I write about how to stop shoplifting because that is what I am passionate about. I hate theft and I despise what it does to retailers and quite honestly to my wallet. All of us have to pay for the ne’er do wells who choose to take what isn’t theirs for their own selfish reasons. I also like to write about great customer service because I am also passionate about that. I know how good customer service can make a small business a big success. Because my background is wrapped up in Retail Loss Prevention Management and retail sales I know how customer service drives sales and how it can be combined with electronic article surveillance (EAS) tags like Sensormatic hard tags to prevent theft. By using this combination stores will boost sales and reduce inventory shrink which contributes to even more profit.
It is common for those of us who write on theft prevention to talk about customer service and how it is a means of thwarting criminal activity but what does great customer service really look like? Is it a matter of saying hello to everyone walking into a store? Is it identifiable? I am going to tell you about a recent experience I had that demonstrated exactly what great customer service should look like. It was during a recent visit to Chick-fil-A. I don’t often use company names but they deserve this shout out. It was very busy and I parked my car and went inside. The line of cars at the drive through wrapped all the way around the building. I placed my order and despite the craziness the young woman behind the counter was friendly and took my order and started working on it. I received my food in a reasonable amount of time which I did not expect looking at the crowd and took note that there seemed to be extra people working at that time. I would say they anticipated the traffic they would have and scheduled accordingly. When I went back to my car I noticed two employees were walking up and down the line of cars in the drive through and taking orders by hand and going to the drive up window to deliver them, cutting down the wait time for the drive up orders! I complimented the workers as I drive off. Now I know some of you are curious how a restaurant business can be compared to retail sales and how you stop shoplifting. There are two aspects to the customer service component that applies to both industries. The friendliness of the employees under what could have been stressful circumstances and the planning and staffing of the team for the day both are due to great management and leadership.
Both types of businesses rely on customers for the survival of the business. If your business model does not recognize the importance of customer service you are going to lose clients and as a retailer you will incur theft from shoplifting. If you protect your merchandise with Sensormatic hard tags and labels and Sensormatic pedestals at your doors you are putting a barrier in place that deters criminal activity. Reduce theft and you keep prices low, pleasing your customers in the process. That is one aspect of good customer service.
The other piece of customer service is when management builds a culture where customer service means your team pays attention to the customer. The employees at this business were incredibly busy and yet all were pleasant and able to be friendly to the customers. Had this been a retail environment I am certain that if someone set off alarms due to merchandise having Sensormatic hard tags attached THIS team of employees would have made recoveries of unpaid goods with a smile on their faces. I have worked in stores where alarm activations were ignored or the person was waved out the door with no apology or attempt to determine the cause of the alarm.
In Part 2 I will continue this discussion on the value of customer service and the use of Sensormatic hard tags to stop shoplifting. I will also look at the importance of leadership and management in setting the tone for how a store will be perceived by customers and I will touch on the importance of scheduling as a part of a customer service focused culture.
For more information about how to stop shoplifting, contact us or call 1.866.914.2567