Customer Service Saves the Day

Readers of this blog know that we are champions of businesses that provide excellent service for their customers.  We believe that making customers feel welcome and appreciated is simply the best way of growing a business, regardless of industry.

But here is another benefit of providing attentive customer service: defense against robbery and shoplifting!

A recent Seattle Times article discussed how two area banks thwarted robbery by identifying a suspicious-looking man, and treating him like a top customer.  By lavishing attention on this man, the banks took away the suspected robber's initiative and frustrated him into leaving without committing a crime.  Brilliant!

I recently did some work with a major book/CD/DVD retailer who takes the same approach to suspected shoplifters.  Instead of discreetly keeping an eye on the suspect, they train their employees to turn on the service charm. "Hi!  Can I help you find anything today?  Say, that sure is a nice parka you're wearing.  Must be hot today, though.  What is it, 90 degrees outside?" 

The beauty of this approach is, of course, you are simply providing the level of attentive service that all businesses should provide all customers.  There's no trickery involved, no covert spying, nothing but good old fashioned friendly service.  As thieves typically like to operate in anonymity, oftentimes this attention directed at them is enough to derail their plans.

So, if you needed another reason to provide top-notch customer service in your business, add theft-prevention to the list.  No, it's not 100% foolproof, but it doesn't cost anything extra to do.  And your non-thieving customers will appreciate the attention, and maybe even buy more from you!

  — Chuck Dennis

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