Technology has afforded us the opportunity to be in two places at once. Using remote connectivity, a person can be in one location conducting business, while “connected” to another watching video or conducting a video conference. Even though technology provides us this convenience to conduct business remotely, face to face loss prevention still provides greater benefits as it comes to a solid loss prevention program.
The Benefits of face-face loss prevention
Relationship Building: The success of any loss prevention program depends on the ability to get buy-in from store associates. That buy-in starts with building a positive relationship between loss prevention and associates of all levels. Working remotely doesn’t bring the personal touch that is necessary in building relationships. In-store presence provides more opportunities to get to know them and understand their needs so they may help your program be successful.
Training Opportunities: Being in-store while conducting an audit, investigation or store visit allows more opportunities to teach and train associates. Use every visit as a time to train at least one person or ask them to show you how they do something to prevent loss – you might learn a new trick to bring to all locations. People learn best through personal interaction; take advantage of these interactions.
Business Promotion: Today’s LP professional must be a retailer first, loss prevention second. Each time you visit a location, take the opportunity to promote the business; talk up sales, ask how the latest promotion is doing, and be another set of eyes for other departments. Praise and associate for a job well done and bring back a positive message or request to another department leader from the store. It will help build relationships with other departments, show your supervisor you are a team player, and help the overall business succeed.
What if I can’t visit all my locations?
Let’s talk reality. Some LP programs are challenged with reduced staff and smaller travel budgets that may not allow them to visit locations as often as they should. Knowing that losses can occur in any location, at anytime, it is important to come up with strategies on how to increase loss prevention presence and awareness in your locations.
- See if Operations can assist you. Solicit them to possibly conduct short versions of your key loss prevention concerns (a short audit) or to incorporate training developed by you a couple times a year. Not the best, because they have their own responsibilities, but something is better than nothing. Be cautious in letting them conduct interviews if they are not properly trained. See our article titled, “Who’s Doing the Interview?”
- Conduct conference calls throughout the year with managers and/or stores to help build relationships. Another idea may be to call on stores (a certain amount throughout the week) to check-in, talk to the associates on duty, and see if they are having any issues or concerns.
- Look at supplementing your field presence with outsourced LP resources. Most often these companies can provide more frequent visits at an overall lower cost than internal resources (payroll, benefits and travel). Outsourcing resources or co-sourcing with your existing team has shown positive results for those who have chosen to use it to their benefit.
There is no doubt that we should use technology to our benefit, capitalizing on our ability to be in multiple places at once and reduce the time spent doing remotely what we can’t do physically. However, we must never forget the human factor and remember we rely on people to carry out our loss prevention initiatives. Being there for them is important.
David Johnston, Director of Business Development