Can your Customer Service technique stop shoplifting?
In 2006, Bateson, Nettle & Roberts conducted an honesty at an “Honor System” coffee bar, where consumers were expected to contribute payment for their coffee into a box, with no one watching. The study involved switching out the poster above the coffee bar. One poster displayed a bouquet of flowers, while the other displayed a pair of eyes.
Payment per cup of coffee drastically increased when the coffee bar displayed a pair of eyes overhead, and decreased when it displayed a bouquet of flowers.
While we are not suggesting that your eyes follow your customers like a hawk, we think it is extremely helpful for businesses to understand the concept behind this study. Most of these coffee drinkers were probably honest people, but when they felt un-watched, they were way more likely to become dishonest. When the eyes were displayed above, this affected the conscience of many of the consumers, and helped to keep them honest.
Here’s what your business can do to make this work for you:
Greet customers when they walk in. A smile, and friendly greeting, and eye contact all make your customers more likely to stay honest, as they roam about the store.
Keep your store well-staffed. We know that the holiday season can get extremely busy, and so do potential shoplifters. If all of your employees seem to have their focus away from the sales floor, this makes it much easier for even the honest customer to take advantage of the situation.
Check in on customers every once in a while. Don’t make anyone feel like they’re being watched for suspected theft or shoplifting, just ask if they need any help every once in a while. This contact further helps to keep people’s good conscience working for you (Not to mention, it’s just good customer service).