Utilising customer service representatives can be the loss prevention professional’s best tool against organised retail crime. Customer services are the intelligent eyes and ears within the store environment and given the right training and support, can use their presence in store to lower opportunities for theft to take place. More active staff that engage customers and are aware of their surroundings will be better equipped to address challenges. Additionally, with a little extra training, staff will be more able to recognise potential threats, possible fraudulent behaviour, and ways to integrate loss management into their role.
On the other hand, lack of loyalty in customer service representatives can have dangerous consequences. Internal theft remains a significant source of loss for retailers, and can have more devastating effects than that of a casual shoplifter. Customer service are aware of business operations and procedures, and often gain trust and responsibility for stocktaking, opening and closing, sometimes without supervision. This provides ample opportunity for disgruntled or unsatisfied employees to take advantage of their environment.
Three ways loss prevention managers can increase effectiveness of customer service relationships are:
- Hiring: Using customer service representatives for loss prevention services needs to start from the beginning. Hiring the best and brightest ensures employees will be trainable and eager to take on responsibility for more than operating the cash register.
- Training: Loss prevention departments should oversee the creation of practical shrinkage training programs to be implemented alongside all other training provided to new and continuing customer service representatives.
- Building relationships: Organisations need to provide a positive and encouraging work environment that will garner loyalty in employees, and create a culture of mutual care for the future of the company. This will not only reduce chances of loss, but also increase employees’ passion and energy in their work.
The loss prevention role is being increasingly integrated into other departments. Join us at Strategic Retail Loss Management to learn more about ways to collaborate with other departments to increase the effectiveness of your retail loss prevention strategy.