LP Magazine

MAY-JUN 2019

LP magazine publishes articles for loss prevention, asset protection, and retail professionals covering shrinkage, investigations, shoplifting, internal theft, fraud, technology, best practices, and career development.

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TOOLS AND TRAINING HELP LP TEAMS PUNCH BACK AGAINST VIOLENCE shoplifters to better prevent the incident from turning into disruptive behavior, and we worked with them to redesign their approach. It started with the language they used and to call them 'customers' instead of 'shoplifters,' 'suspects,' or 'criminals.'" Like several other experts, Stanley noted that violence has always been part of the retail risk environment, and that while it's not entirely clear if danger has truly increased or not, coverage in the 24/7 news cycle has caused it to get more attention in the C-suite. He thinks one undeniable development, however, is the attitude of shoplifters. In the past, when apprehended, thieves were far more likely to act caught. "What retailers are seeing more and more is a difference in their willingness to engage, and to turn around and attack a store employee or LP agent," said Stanley. "It's almost like, 'How dare you try to stop me from committing a crime?' As if they consider it a sign of disrespect." Part of an effective training program may require a retailer to update their "customer is always right" approach. "If I'm a sales associate, and the customer is always right regardless of what the customer is doing, I am going to feel powerless," explained Stanley. "You want employees to connect with their customers, but they are going to be looking to disconnect if they believe they are powerless in any conflict that might arise." In broad terms, retailers need to position store associates and LP staff to succeed—and to avoid setting them up to fail. For example, the new UK survey, which included employee interviews, suggested that some store policies are actively encouraging problems by "rewarding" aggressive customers with vouchers after an incident or a complaint. "What we want to do is ensure that people have the tools they need if they have to engage, to have training that supports store policies, and to have expectations clearly stated," said Stanley. "That will help them to remain as safe as possible." Helpful concepts for employees to understand include the idea that language can put customers on the defensive, from explanations that treat them like children ("those are the rules") to specific trigger words that can set people off. Stanley noted that disruptive behavior by a customer often has "an unmet demand" at its core, which includes a customer who feels he or she is being treated rudely or disrespected. "And now I react to that, and immediately we're off to the races," he said. "We have to be careful to not overinflate the issue, but we want to make sure there is an understanding of the connection between lower-level aggression and extreme violence," said Stanley. "When you look at extreme violence you often see that perceived rudeness preceded it, which is not to say that every time someone feels disrespected that they will come in with a gun, but when those events do occur there is often a sense of being wronged in some way that sparked it." 22 of the top 25 Retailers rely on CAP Index for their crime risk forecasting. You're responsible for protecting your people, places, and bottom line from crime. Make smart, defensible decisions with our CRIMECAST® data, providing solutions for risk assessment, resource allocation, and security protocols. VISIT US AT CAPINDEX.COM TO SEE HOW YOU CAN OUTSMART CRIME KNOW YOUR CRIME RISK At your store. In transit. On the doorstep. 21 LP MAGAZINE | MAY–JUNE 2019

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