Many businesses worldwide use CCTV for a variety of different reasons. It can be used to protect premises and property, as well as to keep an eye on who comes and goes. It can even be used to boost workplace productivity.
Not everyone is a fan of CCTV, though. Some people are concerned that their privacy or the privacy of others may be violated or that it isn’t actually effective at preventing crime, anti-social or other unwanted behaviour.
Despite these legitimate concerns, there are certain circumstances where CCTV is invaluable. For retail and other customer-facing businesses, it can be absolutely essential.
Ten reasons your Retail or Customer Service Business should give CCTV some serious thought
1. It’s a vital tool for collecting evidence of crimes
If a crime does happen on your business premises, whether it’s theft, assault, sexual harassment or anything else, your cameras will provide vital evidence. This can be passed on to the police and could even be used in a successful prosecution.
2. It acts as a deterrent for crime, anti-social and aggressive behaviour
A surveillance camera has the power to stop potential criminals in their tracks. No one wants to be caught, and they definitely don’t want their face or evidence of their crime on camera. If your cameras are visible and well-signposted, they could be the ideal deterrent to send crime rates plummeting.
3. It can make customers and staff feel safer
Your staff can take great reassurance from knowing that cameras are covering the whole of the shop floor. This is partly because of the way CCTV acts as a deterrent to anti-social behaviour, reducing the likelihood of abusive behaviour by a customer or even an attempted robbery. Customers can also benefit from the peace of mind that cameras can offer. It can demonstrate that your business is responsible and takes its safety and security seriously.
4. It makes it easier for you to direct security or other staff to where they’re needed
CCTV cameras can help to alert you if something is happening on the premises instantly. This is very useful in larger shops and department stores, but also in bars and nightclubs. Cameras extend the range of the area you are able to supervise and enable you to pinpoint where to send security staff the moment unwanted behaviour starts.
5. It can help to prevent and reduce the chances of theft
With a clear and obvious CCTV system, including plenty of signage, potential thieves will know that there is far less chance of them getting away with it. In this way, surveillance cameras act as an effective deterrent to theft. They can also help you to act instantly if it does happen, as you’ll have eyes on every nook and cranny of the shop.
Just as important for retail businesses, camera covers can help to prevent employee theft. If your tills aren’t adding up at the end of the day or there is stock missing, your cameras can help you find out what’s happening. Crucially, they can prevent it from happening in the first place as staff know they are being filmed while at work.
6. It allows you to track footfall and customer patterns
Knowing exactly what is happening in a retail environment is essential, and CCTV can help enormously with this. You can analyse the footage from a day or week to pick out patterns in customer behaviour. It can tell you when the store is busiest during a typical day when there are lulls in footfall, and which times of the day, week or month your customers tend to spend more money.
7. It can help you to resolve disputes
This could mean disputes between customers and staff or internal disputes, but CCTV can help with both. With video evidence of what happened, you can investigate properly and establish what really happened. Examples of when this may be useful include claims of sexual harassment or aggressive behaviour from customers or staff.
8. It cuts security costs
Compared to the cost of hiring a full-time security guard, CCTV surveillance cameras can save you a small fortune. You might think that you’ll have to pay just as much for someone to monitor real-time footage around the clock while on the premises.
This cost is dramatically reduced since security camera systems are much more advanced and user-friendly. This is because many systems allow remote monitoring from a range of different devices, so you can check in whenever you need to from anywhere in the world.
You can even set up real-time alerting, particularly useful at night when your shop is closed. The camera can detect movement and send you an instant alert to your smartphone so that you can take immediate action.
9. It can stop false compensation claims
Picture this scenario, one which many retail business owners are familiar with. A customer slips on a small puddle of water or other substance or trips over an obstacle that shouldn’t be there while shopping in your store. They may choose to pursue a compensation claim against your business if they are injured.
If you don’t have video evidence of what happened, your business could very well end up paying out (or facing higher insurance premiums as a result) for false claims. With CCTV cameras, you can review the footage and instantly establish whether the claim is legitimate or the customer is pulling a fast one.
10. It can help you to control access
If there are parts of the premises restricted to just staff or to certain staff, a CCTV system can help you to control who accesses these spaces. You may have no idea that staff are regularly entering areas they aren’t supposed to until you see the camera footage.
If you plan to install cameras, keep the UK data protection and privacy laws in mind. Avoid fitting them anywhere your staff or customers have a reasonable expectation of privacy, and put measures in place to keep the footage secure.