With the holiday sales season just around the corner, you face your busiest, best time of year. And it’s about that time to ask yourself the intimidating question, “Are you protected against holiday profit loss?” and especially… “Are you protected for Black Friday?”

Most wireless retailers generate 50% of their business in the 4th Quarter. With all of the traffic,  transactions, and promotions come increased theft, fraud and chargebacks. Increased holiday risk could cost you more than you bargained for.

So get prepared ahead of time! Lay out your plan to combat the holiday season and protect your business. We’ve put together a list of the 8 best things you can do to protect your business, brand, people, and profits:

1. Refresh policies and train employees.

The first step is to make sure your policies are dialed in specifically to prevent loss before the rush hits. The important thing to remember is that even if your policies have already been communicated, go through them one more time with your employees. It is always better to make sure that it is fresh in their minds for the upcoming busy season and that everyone is trained consistently. Having a clearly stated transaction protocol developed helps your employees speak to customers with confidence, and in turn, helps to reduce loss due to customer fraud.
Even though the following 5 red flags of customer fraud don’t automatically mean there is fraud happening, be sure you train your employees to pay special attention when these kinds of customer behaviors take place:

A. Is it cash sale?

A high-value transaction that is also a cash sale can be an indication of potential customer fraud.

B. Customer purchases the most expensive device.

Criminals looking to sell these devices on the black market will often go for the newest and most expensive phones.

C. Who will be using this device?  

Train your employees to engage with the customers during the purchase process. Have them ask specific questions about the intended use of the device in a casual manner—they are just making conversation, but listening for suspicious phrasing and behavior. Someone buying a phone “for a significant other” or another relative with no elaboration can be a red flag.

D. Doesn’t want to take the device out of the box.

If a customer declines your employee’s offer to remove the device from the box this can be an indication of fraud. A criminal will have an easier time selling a device in an unopened box.

E. Doesn’t want to activate the device.

Similarly, if a customer declines your offer to activate the device, this is a big red flag! A real customer looking to legitimately purchase a cell phone or mobile device would rarely decline your offer to activate it.

2. Set up cameras with a clear view of all store activities.

Probably the best “insurance policy” you can enact to protect your business is to have surveillance video set up throughout the store and verify that those camera angles are ideal for seeing exactly what you need to be seeing. Make sure the entire store is covered via different camera angles and that no displays or bodies will be in the way of capturing footage while an actual transaction takes place at the register.

3. Use a Managed Video Solution to verify training implementation

To start, check that it is recording and saving properly (a good Managed Video Solution provider should do this for you). Then set a process for going through video footage. This is the best way to make sure you have the ability to react if you need to get to the bottom of something that happens in your store.

Rather than just using your footage to react to events in your store, use your video to be proactive. Verify that all of your training and transactional protocols are being properly understood and implemented by all employees. Easy access from your computer (or even from your phone if offered by your video solution company) to live and recorded surveillance video and audio from multiple wireless locations at the same time will make your life so much easier than going to each store to view the footage.

Some things to look out for when reviewing surveillance footage would be: to ensure customer IDs are being properly checked for activations and upgrades, that transactional procedures are being followed, that employees are asking leading questions when potential red flags occur during a sale, and to help you to verify or dispute customer service or HR claims. These verifications allow you to reward employees that facilitate exceptional customer transactions to increase expectations throughout your company or give you insight into further training solutions.

4. Connect point of sale transactions to your video

The data you already collect on your business is invaluable – if used the right way. By linking your point of sale data to your video, you pull up the video footage correlated to the exact incident time, exact receipt, or exact transaction you want to verify for the duration of the interaction. Once it has been connected, the options are limitless for how you can filter through video footage using your data – to get to the video clips associated with high-risk transactions or other criteria. Dynamically integrated surveillance video, audio, and transactional data will give you the complete picture of what is truly going on at all your store locations.

5. Track high-risk customer transactions to be verified

Linking video to POS data is the first step, but it’s how you utilize that powerful combination that really matters. Plan out the reports you want to track based on high-risk transactions to make sure training is being implemented. Some important ones are: low-dollar cash sales, refunds without a customer present, discounts, after-hours transactions, returns, and trade-ins. Do this ahead of time so you have a pre-determined starting place for verifying store activities once it gets busy. Previously created reports make it as simple as a click to filter through footage that would be a waste of your valuable time to manually sift through. Get right to the most important moments that will allow you to verify that everything is running smoothly at your store or catch any suspicious customer behaviors. When you find issues in your reports, you can even share video and other details of potentially fraudulent activity with team members, or even external parties like the police if necessary.

6. Use reports to monitor employee activity – reward the good and weed out the bad

Your employees are some of the most valuable assets in your business. When their positive behaviors are reinforced and rewarded, they can add immensely to your profits. If any of them misbehave or aren’t complying with policies, it can cost you a lot of time and money. Use your reports to monitor your employee activity, verify incidents, and act accordingly. Protect yourself against time theft, refund & discount abuse, and commission fraud.

7. Search and filter video by movement at the back door or near safes.

Skip the hassle of searching through hundreds of hours of surveillance video footage just to find the last time your safe was opened. Find a Managed Video Solution that filters all video footage by movement in a certain area on the screen to easily skip ahead to only see the activity you’re looking for.

Quickly scan to see the last time an employee opened or closed your safe to ensure procedural compliance or verify that your opening and closing procedures are being properly upheld. Motion Search technology can make it easier for you to monitor employee activities when not tied to a transaction throughout your wireless retail enterprise.

8. Automate your reporting and loss prevention with audits

Once the floodgates open and the crowds start streaming through your doors, you are obviously going to be busy putting out fires that inevitably come up or just trying desperately to keep up with your everyday tasks. So why not get a team of experts to help you monitor those high-risk transactions and processes? They’ll review suspicious events to verify incidents and build a case for your team and send them directly to your inbox. They monitor all that daunting data and surveillance footage for you so you can focus your precious time elsewhere – with the confidence that you are still protecting your store. The extra time you’ll save and the peace of mind is well worth the cost, especially at this time of year.

Each of these action items are imperative to mitigating loss this season. There are a variety of ways you can choose to manually implement these protections for each of your stores, but to save you time and effort, Envysion offers a one-stop solution for all of your stores at once that will help you protect your business, brand, people, and profits – without the headache.

Take these tips into consideration, and stay safe and sound this holiday season no matter what! But we hope you do it with us.