Discreet communication – the secret to keeping your teams safe

Retail associates are quitting in their thousands, and a lack of safety is a major reason. Here’s how discreet communication can help to turn things around.

Article by Joe Martin | 15th August 2022

Retail is not traditionally seen as a dangerous industry. For those that work in stores though, the risks are only too familiar. Associates are frequently subjected to verbal and physical abuse, and things are getting worse. 

This is unacceptable, and we want to help. Here’s how our discreet communication system can help to keep you and your associates safe. 

Violence against associates is on the rise

Sadly, the abuse of retail associates is nothing new. Many face violence and intimidation on a daily basis, and this seems to have intensified in the last few years. Recent statistics paint a bleak picture of life on the shop floor:  

Retail is on  the verge of a mental health crisis

Unsurprisingly, this constant threat of violence has had a devastating effect on the mental health of associates. The Retail Trust is a British charity that offers support to those working in the industry. It recently published its annual Health of Retail report, and the results make for grim reading:

  • 83% of associates said that their mental health deteriorated in 2021
  • 85% of managers reported an increase in mental health issues among their team
  • 30% of retailers said that customer abuse was one of the top three contributors to poor mental health among associates

Aside from the obvious pain of seeing your team in distress, a brewing mental health crisis also has serious financial implications. Over a fifth of retail associates are considering leaving their jobs, and this rises to almost a third for those working in large stores. Hiring and training new associates is an expensive process, so it pays to prioritize the health and safety of those you already have. This is where we can help. 

Discretion is the key to safety

Stores often rely on two-way radios or PA announcements to alert security teams to ongoing incidents. Both of these approaches have the same drawback- a lack of discretion. Associates can only raise the alarm by drawing attention to themselves, and this puts them in a vulnerable position. VoCoVo offers a better way:

  • Our headsets connect associates to the security team at all times. Associates can call for help immediately without having to walk to the nearest PA system.
  • In-ear communication means that associates can speak at a normal volume. This lets them raise the alarm without putting themselves at risk.
  • Headsets can be linked to your phone system, allowing associates to call emergency services with complete discretion.
  • Our notification API lets you integrate smart CCTV cameras with your VoCoVo system. This allows cameras to send silent alerts to the security team if they spot anything suspicious. 

Find out more about VoCoVo and smart CCTV (Link to B36)

We can’t change customer behavior, but we can give associates the tools to cope.  Our research shows that associates feel 54% safer when using VoCoVo. Get in touch today to find out more.

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