Dealing with shoplifting, theft, and crime on top of daily priorities can be overwhelming in a busy retail store. Many retailers could use added resources for their asset protection teams, especially boots-on-the-ground support, to help them address store challenges and bridge communication gaps between store managers, law enforcement, and the legal system. That is where the ALTO Alliance and, more specifically, ALTO’s Customer Success Specialists come in.
I first began as a Customer Success Specialist (CSS) in San Francisco in October 2020. I immediately saw the successful role we play in ALTO as store and community advocates driving real change.
An Advocate to Stores and the Community
As part of the Alliance, it’s every ALTO CSS’s job to own their relationships with each store in their designated region. CSS’s visit each store in person and work with staff to listen to store issues, follow up on incidents that have been reported, and to further encourage and educate staff on the impact of complete incident reporting.
To address store concerns, CSS’s escalate them to the appropriate people—the company’s asset protection team, corporate leadership, or law enforcement—and facilitate exploratory meetings to brainstorm solutions. CSS’s also work closely with local ALTO staff attorneys and use the data they’ve collected from stores in that area to help build stronger cases on repeat offenders.
The most important part of a CSS’s job is to provide a consistent communication stream, so store managers and staff feel supported. CSS’s update stores on the next steps for specific incidents, related criminal cases in their area, and recent successes to create a safer community.
Bridging the Gap between Retail and Law Enforcement
CSS’s help educate store staff on the best and most effective ways to communicate and work with law enforcement. Typically, when store staff calls the police or file reports on incidents, they often don’t understand how to communicate with officers to help them charge a criminal. Educating store staff on how to work with local law enforcement can increase the number of opportunities to press charges on criminals and initiate the next steps needed to take that case to court.
CSS’s help facilitate meetings and positive interactions between store staff and law enforcement, which helps law enforcement understand the store’s challenges and foster trust and a collaborative relationship between a store and its local officers.
The results start in the stores. Seeing and understanding the real results of the work being done by the Alliance is key to making these partnerships successful and key to building trust with retailers and the community.
By creating lines of communication with store personnel, fostering relationships with law enforcement, escalating important store issues, and assisting ALTO attorneys in building stronger cases, CSS’s lay the groundwork for creating real change and a safer community.