One of our customers recently asked us for recommendations on how to deal with theft. Our Redemption Team has some great suggestions and we would love to hear if you have any insights to share as well.
If it is employee theft – my instinct would be to implement more employee appreciation programs. Even having a candy/snack dish in the break room that they know is for them to take at their leisure would help with theft of those items out of a center. Also, happier employees tend to be less entitled. Try implementing monthly employee drawings for a few gift cards to places such as Starbucks, Dunkin’, Target, and so on (basically any place that isn’t your location – they already are there enough and may not appreciate it). Also, try things like giving an employee free lunch if you see them going above and beyond. Basically, improve your company culture and employee theft should subside because they will be happier.
You can also give your employees a bit more “power”. I know we are talking about theft and are giving them more power… but when it comes to Redemption theft, often times your employees feel bad because the kid in front of them only needs 15 more tickets to get that prize he or she really wants. You can combat this guilt by giving your employees a daily limit of either points to go play or tickets they can add to a customer’s card. The points will allow the customer to play the best ticket game on the floor to get those extra tickets or give a max number of tickets to the customer to hit that prize. Often times the employee will feel bad and just hand the prize over without scanning anything so the kid is walking out with the prize AND tickets. Pretty harmless, and the employee wouldn’t think they did much wrong because they made the customer happy. This method would allow your employees to feel more empowered and make your customers feel well taken care of. Which would you rather happen, your employees throwing 100 tickets on cards throughout the day or thousands of tickets walking out the door and even more merchandise?
Conducting inventory is an important piece of running a redemption operation and can also help to discourage employee theft if you make it a regular part of the closing routine for the prize counter. Each night employees can be given 5-10 items that they are required to do an inventory check on. This helps spread out the tedious inventory count from one day a month, to a more manageable number of items each day. These items can rotate to cover all the items throughout the month. This will remind employees that inventory is being monitored by management and discourage theft.
Now, customer theft is a bit more challenging. The best way to combat customer theft is to have your stations manned at all times or have it so the customer cannot access employee only areas. This may cause you to have to make modifications because belt stanchions will not work. Ensure your storage spaces are locked at all times and only allow team leads and managers to have the keys to those areas. Behind the redemption counter should be clean and not left a mess. If you are restocking, ensure it is fully restocked and everything is put back in those storage areas prior to walking away from it. Floor employees should be encouraged and expected to do these tasks but should not have open access to the storage areas while not actively needing them. They tend to get left unlocked this way and opens you up to more theft issues. If your area is not tidy, it makes it easier for customers to walk away with items without being noticed. Another good way to protect yourself is to always verify customers card purchases and tickets won in the system prior to redeeming big ticket-valued items. This will allow you to see if cards were combined (employee theft possibly) and see if you have a possible game out of whack before you notice it on your reports.
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