The Thin Line Between Customer Satisfaction and Loss of Profits
In any retail setting, you want to do everything possible to make sure your customers stay happy, and keep coming back to shop in your store. We all know that you have to make exceptions to the rules sometimes, but where do you draw the line? I recently observed something in a store that immediately got my attention, and made me wonder where the line should be drawn between making customers happy and following protocol regarding the use and removal of clothing security tags or any other merchandise protection devices.
A customer came into the store the other day carrying several pieces of clothing with clothing security tags still attached to the garments. The Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS) alarm sounded as she walked into the store, and she approached an employee at the customer service desk. The customer said that she purchased the items, but the cashier failed to remove the Checkpoint tags from the clothing items that she purchased. What happened next was a bit disturbing to me at the time, but the employee had to make a judgement call.
The employee then removed the Checkpoint tags from the clothing items without even checking if the customer had a receipt for the items she claimed to have purchased. The customer then told the cashier helping her, that she lost the receipt for the purchase. As I witnessed this from a distance, I was in disbelief, and I then went to talk to the employee as the customer left the store. What I didn’t know at the time was that another nearby cashier remembered seeing that customer making the purchase earlier on in the day. Out of curiosity, I then asked the employee what they would have done if the other cashier hadn’t recognized the customer, and the cashier said that they probably would have done the same thing.
Depending on what your company or store policy is, what might normally happen in this situation is that the cashier should verify the receipt, and if the customer could not produce a receipt, then the matter would be referred to a supervisor. On the other hand, you may want to empower your cashiers to make reasonable decisions for purposes of customer satisfaction, provided that the adjustment for the customer wasn’t some absurd amount of money. Whether or not an exception is provided to the customer, the transaction should still be researched if possible. If you have video or register journal text available, it would be a good idea to take a look and see what actually happened. The cashier that should have removed the Checkpoint tags from the clothing should be talked to, as well as checking to see if the EAS alarm went off at the door when the customer originally exited the store with the merchandise. If the alarm didn’t sound, you may need to call and have your equipment serviced so something like this doesn’t happen again in the future.
Although the store policy didn’t say that you could remove clothing security tags based off of an employee’s memory of an earlier purchase, the cashier’s intentions were to make the customer happy so they would continue to shop in the store. Though this was most likely an honest mistake on the part of the original cashier, anyone who happened to be in the area when this conversation took place could try this in the future in order to have a cashier remove Checkpoint tags from stolen clothing items.
For more information about clothing security tags, contact us or call 1.770.426.0547