Holiday Crime Prevention Tips For Business in 8 Steps
No matter what holiday is here, tis the season can bring out the best and worst in us. For those who love the holiday season, it is a wonderful time of the year to celebrate with our loved ones. It is a time to eat, drink and be cheerful. It is also an opportunity for increased traffic and your bottom line. The downside? Staying true to your customers by providing great customer service, but also protecting information, and your business assets. In this article, I have listed holiday crime prevention tips for your business in 8 steps that can be applied today.
HOW DO YOU MAINTAIN THE BALANCE?
Plan of Action
You maintain the balance by discreetly integrating your security practices with policy and procedures. Have you every gone to a local coffee shop and there is one associate who ask everyone for their ID after presenting their credit/debit card. This associate might appear to be doing too much but this is a good plan of action and practice.
If you take this approach, no customer feels isolated or picked on because ALL customers ID’s are checked during checkout. Not only does this implement a plan of action, but can possibly catch those who have stolen credit/debit cards in their possession.
Make certain during the holiday season that ALL full, part-time, and seasonal workers are familiar with your security policy and procedures. Have them sign an acknowledgement form of your payment processing procedures. If you don’t already have one in place, NOW is the time!
Training for the Holidays
Training of personnel during the holidays should not be too different than your normal training activities. However, ALL personnel should have a heightened awareness and be prepared for the unexpected.
Too often, employees come across a situation and are not familiar on what to do or how to act because they have not been trained properly. I have seen where new employees are hired and don’t get the proper training. There is an attitude sometimes from management that just because a new hire has experience “that they know how to do the job.” The question is, do they know how to do YOUR job?
Your processes, procedures, and policy will differ from other companies and therefore require proper training.
Make certain all existing and new personnel are trained properly and prepared for holiday traffic.
Controlling Your Process
This section is a BIGGIE! I don’t care what industry you are in, from selling widgets to selling real estate. You must control your process from the beginning to the end.
Not only should you control your process but you must know it. Make certain ALL personnel read your policy and procedures. Test them on the policy! You can always make up a worksheet to see how much they know.
Once you make an assessment on policy/procedure knowledge, you will know who needs continued training or sometimes you may have to replace personnel/management.
Beefing Up Personnel
The longer a customer has to wait for a product or service, the increased chances of the customer going to your competition. Not only should you have enough personnel in place to meet the holiday traffic demand, but also remember not to sacrifice on quality of service.
Hiring extra personnel could make the difference of realizing a profit or just enough to pay for extra personnel.
It is up to you and other members of management to determine the adequate number of personnel to hire for the holidays. Know your numbers!
If you are the sole owner of a company and have to split your daily task to continuously put out fires, maybe it is time to consider hiring a seasonal manager for the holidays until one can be hired on a full-time basis.
However, if you do have the proper management in place to manage personnel, be certain your security policy and procedures are being taught properly.
Whichever route you take, activities of personnel must be monitored to make sure personnel are productive, engage, and are looking out for the companies best interest.
Depending on your line of business and industry, you should conduct an audit or inventory outside of your normal activities.
This is an opportunity to do a spot check on inventory to be certain products or inventory are not mysteriously disappearing.
The same goes for checking on personnel. Every so often, watch how your personnel interface with the public. Are they following your policy? procedures? professional? friendly?
Conducting a spot check will show you areas of weakness, areas of concern, and what to do to correct the weakness.
Spot checks can also give you the opportunity to expose theft, fraud, or unacceptable practices.
Your online security should be monitored monthly. You should also keep key personnel informed on any internal changes, sales, discounts codes that you may have put in place
The security level of your business website should meet or exceed your expectations. Are you susceptible to spammers or your system being held for ransom? Make sure key personnel are not opening up email from unknown senders.
- Train key personnel on the proper usage of email
- Limit who can surf the net for information related to your business
- All transactions should be confirmed through the proper institution that you are doing business with
- Computer firewalls
- Secure passwords
- Install or purchase the necessary software to protect your payments
- Back up your data as needed
Big Brother is Watching
Installing cameras in key positions throughout your business will always be helpful. The position of your cameras should be to watch products and activities.
For example, if you have an enclosed office where payments are accepted, you could install a camera to monitor a particular window. Only receive payments in this particular window. This will help put some integrity in your payment acceptance system.
Should there ever be any question of a cash shortage, you will have the ability to go back to see if payment was accepted and in what amount.
Also, your cameras should be positioned to capture your entrance/exit doors. This is another way to monitor when products are leaving and if they have been paid for.
Premise under surveillance signs also helps in deterring crimes.
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