It takes skill to deal with disgruntled customers, but what do you do when the unruly patrons are teenagers? Security officers can use their knowledge of teenager psychology — the need to “save face” and lack of fear of authority — to effectively communicate with youth.
Creating a pleasant shopping experience is important for retailers, especially those in upscale malls. Many malls are addressing this issue by creating dress codes, while other malls are requiring parents to accompany their teens when they visit the stores after a certain time.
According to a lab study conducted by developmental psychology experts, brain activity that registered social rewards was more stimulated in teenagers when they thought another teen was watching them. By knowing these unique developmental traits of teenagers, security and loss prevention specialists are better prepared to address reckless behavior among youth.
- Security officers must know their own “trigger points” that could make them lose control. It prepares them to handle and be more effective in tense situations. In confrontations with teenagers, security officers should avoid power struggles. Assaults on one’s ego only sting as you let it. Ultimately, it’s just a teen talking back — not your boss, spouse or friend.
- Teenagers are transitioning between childhood and adulthood. This “teenage weirdness” is the reason why it’s not productive to expect teenagers to respond like adults. Being calm and flexible when you speak to teens can prevent a situation from escalating, effectively creating a pleasant shopping experience for everyone.
- When approaching unruly teenagers, security officers or store managers should first explain why they are approaching them, the rules of the mall and how teens can benefit from making the right choice. Showing how following the rules will help them “save face” also plays to teenage psychology.
Source: NRF Stores, March 2012