Is Your Business Prepared for the Holiday Season?

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It’s hard to believe that November is already here! For many businesses and industries, this time of year brings a major increase in holiday shopping, events and festivities. With more people coming together for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s activities this means that businesses that cater to such holiday crowds need to be well prepared to provide the highest quality service to their customers. To work more efficiently to handle the larger crowds, your employees will need to communicate faster and better for smoother productivity.

One of the industries that receive the largest influx of customers this time of year is the retail shopping industry. Retailers in malls all across the country will be hiring seasonal workers to provide extra customer support, and often times they are not well trained regarding the product and procedures. This creates a huge need for all of the retailer’s employees to be constantly connected so they can communicate the needs of customers, ask and answer product questions, and assist in monitoring for shoplifting. Through the use of compact two-way radios and discreet, push-to-talk earpieces, store employees and managers can easily transmit private one-to-many communications which will help serve customers better and be more efficient, increasing the store’s profits.

Other industries that are connected to retailers are mall security and maintenance workers. With more people out shopping, mall security needs to be even more vigilant to protect the crowds of people and help keep order in the mall’s retail stores, common areas and parking lots. Mall maintenance teams will need to respond to the many different facility issues that come with such large crowds. Electric outages, HVAC issues, malfunctioning elevators and escalators, clogged bathroom pipes, and many other issues become more prominent for mall maintenance during this busy season. Supplying mall security and maintenance with rugged professional radios that can withstand the daily usage of these demanding jobs will improve response time. Small consumer radios will not have the battery life, transmission range or durability that professional two-way radios will supply. And because maintenance and security often times have their hands full, adding accessories such as radio belt holsters and lapel speaker mics will keep them from ever having to remove the radio from their belt to transmit. Constant, reliable two-way radio communication helps security and maintenance respond faster to any issues or emergencies, thus making them even more effective during this busy season.

Event planners and churches get most of their business this time of year. They rely on two-way radios to keep holiday parties, festivals, industry galas, corporate retreats, award ceremonies, concerts, and worship services running smoothly. Depending on the size and type of event, your company or church may only need lightweight compact radios such as the RCA XR150, or for events at huge venues the RCA RDR3600 digital radio would be the best choice for covering long distances, penetrating lots of walls or obstructions, and provide you with much more functionality than a normal push to talk radio. Pairing any of these radios with our professional grade accessories such as surveillance kits, lightweight headsets or high noise headsets will help you provide the best experience for your event participants because your staff will be more coordinated and organized.

No matter what industry you’re in, using two-way radios can increase your business’s ability to handle the surge in seasonal crowds and improve your company’s productivity all year long.

Do you need two-way radios or do you already use them? If you give Discount Two-Way Radio a call at 800-895-5122, we guarantee that we’ll beat your local dealer on price and service.

Holiday Crowds Require You to Have Better Security Training

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‘Tis the season for consumers to buy presents, take advantage of bonus deals, and prep for upcoming holiday festivities. That’s great news for malls, stores, and retail outlets to start getting into the holiday spirit.

But with those larger crowds comes increased danger and increased responsibility for your security officers and staff.  When crowds are exponentially larger, emergency situations such as potential threats and natural disasters become even harder to deal with. But sadly, most businesses that deal with large seasonal crowds do not have adequate emergency procedures or evacuation plans in place.

A report on mall security funded by the US Department of Justice, stated that, “Safety drills to test the staff’s knowledge of what to do in emergencies—when done at all—are seldom rigorous, seldom done with first responders, and are usually done without clear standards to measure their success.” Recent incidents in the news have shown that shopping mall employees are not receiving proper crisis training. One article mentioned when shots were fired in a mall, many of the store employees were frightened and unwittingly locked themselves in their store’s back office. Most first responders would probably agree that barricading yourself in the back office would not really stop an armed person from getting through a locked door if they really wanted to get to you.

You’re probably thinking, “Well how can I help make my business safer for my employees and patrons?” In a CNN article, Dan Murphy, a retired Bloomington, Minnesota police officer states, “Businesses can do a better job protecting customers..” but “..it takes time, commitment and the willingness to create and work through your plan.” Murphy implemented the mall “lock-down” plans for Mall of America, one of the nations largest shopping malls. Twice a month mall security directs patrons to seek shelter in the nearest store, alarms buzz, and a “lock-down” message is electronically delivered to each store. This triggers the store employees to lower their gates, turn off their lights and shoppers can then huddle in the back of the store.

The US Department of Justice report goes on to say, “None of the malls we visited had developed ways to coordinate with first responders in the event of an emergency. The only means of communicating with first responders was by phone.” This report on mall safety also explained how in only one mall they visited, security could communicate with tenants via two-way radio. But in all other malls in the study, the sole means of communication between mall security and tenants was by phone. Using two-way radios as part of your company’s safety drills will greatly improve response time and help to alert stores and shoppers in the event of a real crisis. Thorough and repetitive training is the key to any safety or evacuation plan.

No matter what kind of business you’re in, if you are experiencing a large amount of patrons during the holidays, you are responsible for their safety. Develop a healthy working relationship with your local police and fire departments and work together to plan out your crisis response actions. Be sure to use professional communication equipment like two-way radios with emergency signaling features and wireless PA systems to coordinate your staff’s actions while training and during a real emergency.

Murphy says that lock-down drills are not a silver bullet that will protect your business from emergencies, “But if the Mall of America can do it, with its 500 stores, huge eatery, and indoor amusement park, your business can do it too.”

To see the mall security report funded by the US Department of Justice and recommendations on how to improve security, click here: https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/216641.pdf

Dan Murphy content is from CNN.com article The Simple Thing Your Mall Can do to Protect Youhttp://www.cnn.com/2013/09/28/us/shopping-mall-security/

 

Top 10 Holiday Shopper Safety Tips

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Discount Two-Way Radio would like you to take care and be safe while holiday shopping. That’s why we’re giving you Top 10 Holiday Shopper Safety Tips:

1) Park as close to your destination as possible in a well-lit area and away from large obstructions.
2) Lock your car and be sure to set car alarm or anti-theft device.

3) Take your keys or personal belongings with you at all times. Have these items safely secured in your purse, zipped-up, and close to your body. If you don’t have a purse, keep these items in your front pockets of your pants or inside of your coat.

4) Hide any bags, gift purchases and dash-mounted GPS in your car out of view. Place your items locked in the trunk, cover them with a coat or blanket, slide them under your chair, or drop them off immediately at home.

5) Plan with your children ahead of time what to do if you get separated, such as teaching them to find a police officer, security guard, or a customer service desk. Another plan is to set up a secured meeting spot just in case you get separated from them.

6) Be aware of your surroundings at all times. Look out for any suspicious activities such as pick-pocketing.

7) Never leave your wallet or purse on store counters or in a shopping cart. Keep these items close to you at all times.

8) When eating lunch or relaxing during shopping, don’t hang your bags over the back of a chair or put them on the floor nearby.

9) If paying with cash, only bring as much as you need and never bring out your entire money stash. It is best to count your money discreetly out of sight from others.

10) Most of all, report anything suspicious to the police or mall security!