Retailers often have to deal with high traffic seasons like the holidays and back-to-school in which there are spikes in customer foot traffic. While the booming sales are always good for retailers, one thing that isn’t is shoplifting. In fact, the National Federation of International Business estimates that $600 billion is stolen annually and as many as 30 percent of the average company’s employees are guilty of theft. To counteract these security breaches, many retailers like Massage Envy have looked into new technologies like audio monitoring to deter crime.
Mark and Jennifer Blaz, the owners of two Southern California Massage Envy stores, decided to employ an audio-video integrated system to increase security at their retail locations. Specifically, they had Louroe Electronics’ ASK-4 Kit #300 installed, which includes a microphone and an interface unit that connects to an Avigilon IP surveillance camera. The camera synchronizes the audio and video streams for both real time monitoring through the Avigilon software. Meanwhile, the microphone is powerful enough to cover the recep on area, so even with multiple cameras set up, one channel of audio is all that is needed to monitor employees.
The audio-video system has helped resolve customer disputes and doubtful employee claims multiple times. In one instance, the audio feed proved that an employee had disclosed the proper information to a customer and that the customer was in the wrong. Another time, the audio revealed that some of Massage Envy’s employees had lied to customers about massage therapists being available so that they could close the store early and go home early. These examples illustrate how vital it is to integrate audio into security solutions so that staff can have access to all the facts in a story.
Moreover, Blaz also utilizes audio to combat sales reduction. He explained how during a slow night some employees wanted to go home early so they called the few customers who were scheduled to come in later and lied to them saying that their massage therapists were unavailable and they had to reschedule their appointments.
“By listening to the audio, we were able to reprimand these employees appropriately,” Blaz said. “This comes in handy when trying to prevent inappropriate employee conduct.”
These Massage Envy employees are aware that their audio is being recorded as it is disclosed in the employee handbook. Meanwhile, customers are notified via signage on the front door of the facilities. “Audio is really the best way to manage employee relations as it allows you to give accurate feedback to your employees and helps them to overcome their learning curve more quickly by being able to hear themselves in action when we play back footage for them,” said Blaz.