Earlier this year, a video of a stressful TSA experience went viral on social media. In the clip, an aggravated TSA agent yells, “You’ve got a hoodie on? Take it off! Take it off!” The disarray in the clip is practically tangible. If you’ve ever been through a chaotic TSA line before boarding a flight, you know the feeling—and it’s not a pleasant one. The idea that the customer is always right doesn’t exist in these kinds of scenarios. But we all understand why it’s necessary; safe and secure airports and flights are preferable to the alternative.
A few minutes of chaos at the airport is expected, but what about when extensive security measures start impacting your average days? This kind of inconvenience would be significantly more disruptive at a place you frequent, like a grocery store or another retail business. At what point do security measures in everyday places become too much?
In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into how retail businesses can prioritize security without adding friction to the customer experience.
HOW SECURITY MEASURES IMPACT THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
The importance of security measures cannot be overstated, especially in the retail industry. Last year alone, retail theft accounted for $94.5 billion in losses. To combat the issue, businesses invest in cutting-edge technologies, stringent protocols, and highly trained personnel. However, there is a delicate equilibrium to maintain; excessive security measures lead to a poor customer experience, but a good customer experience can’t exist in an unsafe environment. Just like Goldilocks searching for a bowl of porridge that was neither too hot nor too cold, businesses need to implement security measures that are just right.
To strike that “just right” balance, it’s important to understand how security tactics may negatively impact customers.
Inconvenience and delays: Extensive bag checks, mandatory screenings, and metal detectors can create bottlenecks and lengthen wait times, leading to frustration and impatience among customers. These procedures can be particularly cumbersome during peak hours or busy shopping seasons.
Perception of insecurity: Ironically, excessive display of security measures can actually lead to a perception of insecurity rather than safety. Customers may interpret an overwhelming presence of security measures as an indication of a high crime rate or unsafe environment, leading to a negative perception of the business.
Restricted access points: Restricting access points limits the freedom of movement for customers. While these measures are intended to enhance security and control foot traffic, they can lead to a sense of confinement and frustration. In severe cases, this can affect customers’ willingness to return to a store.
It’s not just about the immediate inconveniences customers face. Friction in the customer experience can have lasting effects on customer satisfaction and loyalty. In fact, 80% of customers agree that the experience a company provides is equally as important as its products or services, and 50% of consumers will switch to a competitor after one bad experience. And beyond the loss of existing customers, unfavorable customer experiences lead to negative word-of-mouth. Unhappy customers will likely share their frustrations with friends and family, or publicly on online platforms, sending potential customers running the other way.
HOW TO IMPLEMENT CUSTOMER-CENTRIC SECURITY MEASURES
If you want to hold on to your customer base, it’s crucial to adopt a customer-centric approach that balances safety with an exceptional customer experience. Yes—the two can coexist. Here are some tips that will help you strike the right balance.
- START WITH A RISK ASSESSMENT
You can’t solve a problem if you don’t know it exists, which is why a security strategy should be based on a thorough risk assessment. You need a deep understanding of the specific security threats your retail business is up against—it could be anything from theft to vandalism to unauthorized access. Understanding your vulnerabilities will allow you to prioritize and allocate resources to the most critical areas, ensuring an efficient and targeted approach.
- ENSURE OPTIMAL PLACEMENT OF SECURITY DEVICES
Strategically positioning surveillance cameras, alarms, and other anti-shoplifting
devices are essential to maintaining a secure environment without intruding on the customer experience. By carefully considering the property, customer traffic patterns, and potential blind spots, businesses can ensure non-intrusive monitoring while still effectively deterring potential threats.
- STREAMLINE ENTRANCE AND EXIT PATTERNS
Efficient customer flow management strategies enhance both security and the customer experience. By utilizing technology like automated gates, self-checkout systems, or mobile-based access, businesses can minimize wait times, reduce congestion, and enhance accessibility while maintaining necessary security protocols.
- KEEP YOUR PROPERTY WELL LIT
Nobody likes to walk in the dark where who knows what could be lurking in the shadows. A well-lit property plays a crucial role in deterring potential incidents. Furthermore, adequate lighting contributes to a positive ambiance. This kind of ambiance allows people to feel safe and confident and contributes to a positive customer experience.
- LEVERAGE ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY
Most retail businesses don’t need armed guards or bag checks—there are plenty of advanced anti-shoplifting devices on the market that will get the job done. For example, security trailers can be deployed strategically to monitor high-risk areas or events, providing real-time surveillance and threat detection without inconveniencing customers.
- EVALUATE AND ADJUST AS NECESSARY
As you update your security measures, keep a pulse on what your customers have to say about them. Surveys, focus groups, and customer review platforms enable businesses to gain insights into the customer perspective and identify pain points. By actively seeking customer feedback, you may find easy areas for improvement.
PROTECT THE PEOPLE WHO KEEP YOU IN BUSINESS
A safe customer experience is a good customer experience, but there’s a fine line between too much security and not enough.
By taking a customer-centric approach to security, retail stores can protect the people who keep them in business, foster customer loyalty, and fortify their reputations as trusted establishments.
LVT offers cutting-edge anti-theft devices for retail stores that reduce crime and keep customers safe. Ready to find the sweet spot where security and a good customer experience harmoniously coexist? Contact LVT today for a demo.