From the use of Sensormatic tags to prevent theft to how you enforce policies in your store, consistency is an important factor in how successful or unsuccessful your business will be. I thought about consistency as I attended a college baseball game not long ago. The team had started off the season strong and was ranked as high as 11 in one of the NCAA baseball polls early on. Then for some unexplained reason the team just fell into a slump. Pitching became inconsistent, batting was hit or miss (pun intended) and watching the team in their dugout the energy was gone. The night before I attended my game our team had run roughshod over their opponent. The night I attended the tables turned 180 degrees and we got our clock cleaned. You can’t have this kind of on again – off again performance and expect to make a run for the National Baseball Championship. In retail consistency also matters and that can be in how you manage clothing security and tag clothing or how you handle attendance issues with your team members.
On more than one occasion I have been shopping in a retail store and I have looked at the way merchandise is protected. I may see one television with a wrap on it and another that is left with no anti-theft device right next to it. I have observed purses with different styles of security devices placed in different locations. For the cashiers this is a terrible way to tag products. They spend time trying to search and ensure there are no tags “hidden” somewhere that might set off the alarm and embarrass the customer. It can lead to a waste of productivity at the checkout counter. On the other hand I have shopped in the clothing store where my daughter works and I have been very impressed with the consistency of how they employ Sensormatic tags. All of the dresses were tagged at the collar and ALL of the shoes were tagged the same way based on the style of the shoe. The only thing I did not care for was the use of different brands of tags. I would have preferred to see a consistent use of only Sensormatic products. I know how effective they are in clothing security and theft prevention all around because I have used them in my Loss Prevention career.
Consistency is also important when it comes to personnel matters. Let’s say you have an employee who is a great worker but they consistently show up late to work sometimes it is only 5 minutes and other times it may be 15 or 20 minutes. Because they are a good worker you may verbally remind them they have to be to work on time but you don’t want to lose them so you give them some leeway. Then you have other employees who you do enforce a tardiness policy on. Those people get a verbal warning, a written warning and then a final warning. If you are enforcing the policy on them but not on your superstar you are creating an unfair workplace and you are fostering resentment within your team. Consistent application of policies is just as critical to a productive workplace as the placement of Sensormatic tags on clothing. Stores invest a lot of time protecting merchandise that same level of energy or more should be placed on team development and morale.
Consistency in following a return policy is another operational issue that can be disruptive and hurt a store. I understand that managers will from time to time have to use sound judgement and make exceptions in the arena of customer service. However exceptions should be that exceptions and not the rule. If your employees feel that they have followed store procedures and a manager is called to address a customer complaint about a return policy. The first thing that manager must do is listen to the associate then the customer and make it clear that the employee was following proper procedure. If the manager chooses to make an exception he/she must say that this is an exception and will not be done again. It builds the credibility of the employee and shows that management supports them. If a manager is regularly making exceptions to policies that is another problem and the store manager should be addressing that issue.
From clothing security to personnel matters consistency in how tasks are accomplished and people are treated absolutely make an impact in how successful a store will be. Just like a baseball team there will be losses from time to time but the best teams perform consistently day after day. Make daily routines and consistent expectations a part of your business and see your business grow.
Sensormatic tags are important and we can help you with them. Call 1.866.914.2567 and let’s talk.