Every associate deserves to feel safe at work. Sadly, this is not always the case. Post-pandemic stress and tough economic conditions have led to a spike in violent and criminal behavior in stores. This has left many associates afraid to go to work, with a worrying number considering quitting for good.
We can’t change customer behavior, but we can ensure that associates never have to deal with it alone. By allowing instant communication across large stores, our headsets connect associates to support at all times. Here’s how we can help you to create a safer, happier sales floor.
Stores are becoming more dangerous
Retail work has never been easy, but the job has become considerably tougher in recent years. A lot of this is down to customer behavior, with associates experiencing a worrying increase in abuse:
- 80% of retailers reported an increase in customer aggression in 2022
- 58% of associates are having more disputes with customers, and 60% say that customers have become more irritable
- A March 2023 survey found that a third of retailers had experienced a violent situation in the last six months
Abusive customers are bad enough, but associates are also finding themselves exposed to criminal behavior. Retail theft is on the rise, creating new dangers for those on the sales floor:
- 56% of small retailers experienced theft in 2022
- Shoplifting accounts for 37% of all retail shrink
- Shoplifters cost US retailers $94.5 billion a year
Associates often feel obliged to intervene in these situations, and this can be a trigger for further abuse. In 2022, over 80% of retailers reported an increase in violent incidents linked to retail theft.
These pressures have created an industry-wide morale crisis. A quarter of associates feel anxious about going to work, and almost half are considering quitting. With 74% of retailers already facing labor shortages, this is a problem that needs to be addressed urgently.
A connected store is a safe store
A lot of this anxiety comes down to isolation. North America has some of the largest stores in the world, making it only too easy for associates to be left alone with an abusive customer. This is where technology can make a big difference.
Our headsets are packed with features to ensure that associates never have to work without backup. By connecting your team at all times, we can provide store-wide peace of mind:
1. Connect to security teams
Many stores have a dedicated security team, but contacting them isn’t always easy. A PA system requires associates to go to a specific location, but this may not be possible during a confrontation. A PA announcement can also tip off criminals, making it a less than ideal way to catch shoplifters.
Associates need a more reliable option, and this where we come in:
- Headsets let you contact the security team from anywhere in store. This is far more discreet than a PA system, allowing associates to raise the alarm without drawing attention to themselves.
- Headsets can be integrated with smart devices. Smart CCTV cameras can send automated alerts to security associates, and smart shelving can warn them about unusual stock depletion. This gives you a valuable edge when it comes to catching shoplifters.
2. Issue estate-wide alerts
Not all dangers are confined to a single store. Criminals will often target multiple retailers, so being able to share updates with other locations is vital. Our message cast feature is designed to make this as easy as possible:
- Head office can record a security alert and send it to multiple stores at once. Depending on the nature of the threat, this can be sent to all stores or limited to those in a certain area.
- Individual stores can also use this feature to send alerts. If a shoplifter has been spotted in the area, you can warn nearby stores to be on the lookout.
3. Call emergency services from anywhere
There may be times when on-site security is unable to contain a dangerous incident. In these situations, associates need a way to call emergency services immediately.
Our headsets can be linked to your existing phone system, allowing team members to make this call from anywhere on the sales floor. This feature can also be activated with a safe word (check this), letting you raise the alarm with maximum discretion
Take back the sales floor
We’ve focused on responding to dangerous situations, but our system can also stop these incidents in the first place. Equipping your team with headsets presents a united front, creating a powerful deterrent for would-be criminals and abusive customers.
All of this has a huge effect on your team’s wellbeing. Associates can begin their shift without fear or anxiety, feeling 54% safer overall.
To find out more or to book a demonstration, don’t hesitate to get in touch.