OPINION: Investing in digital headsets for staff ‘probably best decision we’ve made in years’ – Sam Coldbeck, Wharfedale Premier, Hull

'Our system also comes with 12 call buttons. When a button is pressed, it plays a pre-recorded message to each headset'

Headset security

Security on the shop floor has been on my mind for a while now. We have always operated a simple buzzer system. The button was situated behind the counter. One buzz was for shop floor staff to queue bust and two buzzes was for a security alert, usually because a known shoplifter was in the store or someone was acting suspiciously. This has worked well for years until we realised shoplifters were bolting out of the door when they heard two buzzes. It almost felt like the fox was outsmarting the chickens.

I also had comments from some staff that they had difficulty alerting team members when they needed help getting something from the stockroom or they needed the attention of a team member working outside.

A retail friend recommended headsets. I dismissed it at first as our store seemed too small. The more I heard about his store and how effective the headsets were, the more tempted I was. We’ve now invested and it’s probably the best decision we’ve made in years.

We have six headsets from Quail Digital for a team of 15. Its quite an outlay financially, so I didn’t want to push the budget to one for each team member. As we only have three or four staff on each shift, the headsets can be swapped and charged between staff. We have a tub of sanitising wipes to freshen them up between shifts.

Our system also comes with 12 call buttons. When a button is pressed, it plays a pre-recorded message to each headset, such as “Security alert aisle 1”, “Second server required”, etc.

The headsets also have microphones built in, which allow the team to communicate with each other at the press of a button. This has allowed staff to feel safer on the shop floor and behind the counter. Instead of broadcasting a warning to potential shoplifters with a buzz, we can now discreetly communicate with each other and catch more ‘wrong’uns’ in the act, which seems to have deterred people choosing our store as an easy target.

If you’re looking for a way to keep your staff in touch on the shop floor or a way to keep your shop floor a little bit safer, I’d recommend investing in digital headsets.

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