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Targeting Fraud While Keeping Customers Smiling

One of the primary concerns facing any business today is fraud. This is especially so for companies within the retail sector. In fact, fraud is now at its highest since 2004. The problem we face in retail is not knowing whether the client is trustworthy or not. In other words, because you are likely to have customers from all sorts of walks of life, you can never quite know how safe your business is. The last thing anybody wants is for their business to be subject to fraud. However, there is also the issue of maintaining the balance between detecting fraud and keeping the customer happy. It is important to remember that the most important thing should always be to keep the customer happy. Retailers should make it second nature to trust the customer, even while keeping on the lookout for fraud. We should always assume the best of everybody who graces our business with their custom. So how do we go about maintaining this delicate balance?


The key is integration. It is essential, for the sake of both the business and the consumer, that retailers adopt an integrated approach to tackling fraud. This both reduces costs for the business and provides a better experience for the customer. Currently, it is the norm for businesses to have multiple systems. However, this is a recipe for wasting time. Much better to integrate, and keep everybody happy. So that is the first piece of advice for retailers. Merge your point-of-sale and your driver license scanner. Everybody will be better off.

When it comes to identifying fraud, finding the root cause is a difficult but necessary step. At some point down the line, the fraudster has to have been faced with the opportunity in the first place. Identify that opportunity and fix the underlying issue. Once you know where you went wrong as a business, you can start to re-evaluate. Retrain your staff, if necessary. They need to be able to spot at least the more obvious signs. This is particularly true for those taking card payments at point-of-sale.

Take a holistic approach to targeting fraud. See your retail business as a whole – because it is – and see what needs fixing. Fraud doesn’t happen unless it is allowed to happen. So make sure that you are doing everything in your power to simply not allow it. Follow your instincts. This is unlikely to lead you down the wrong path. If something instinctively just feels wrong, then it probably is. Remember – and remind your staff – that you always have the right to refuse any sale. And you don’t necessarily need to give a reason.

Above all, however, treat your customers fairly. Something to remember: always assume innocence. Making the shopping trip quick and painless should remain the priority for any retailer who wants to succeed. The vast majority of your customers are decent individuals who would never consider defrauding you. When it comes to balancing fighting fraud and customer satisfaction, the latter wins every time.

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