As the recession grinds on, costs increase while wages remain flat, and an ever-growing portion of Americans are feeling the pinch. Just last month the US Energy Information Administration announced that the cost of electricity had increased an average of 2.8 percent over the previous year—the largest price increase in six years. Some Americans—such as those living in New England—saw increases as high as 8.5 percent.
Frustrated Customers Lash Out in Utility Payment Centers
Every day utility payment center workers come face-to-face with residents disheartened by ever-rising utility costs and frustrated by long waits or lack-luster service. These customers lash out, both verbally and physically, with frightening regularity. For example, a 75-year-old woman in Bristow, VA was arrested after she took a hammer into a Comcast payment center, bypassed the long line, and bashed up a keyboard and telephone in an effort to get the attention of clerks whom she felt had ignored her earlier.
But few utility office confrontations make for cute local news items: Utility clerks are regularly verbally abused, threatened, and even physically assaulted by customers who have tipped past their breaking point.
Bullet Proof Barriers Protect Your Greatest Asset: Your Workers
Total Security Solutions sales manager Bob George is familiar with these scenarios: “Because everybody’s insured, it’s not an issue of money. We’ve done a lot of utility offices around the country, and it’s usually the same thing. They say, ‘We have these clerks up front who are by themselves and have to deal with a lot of disgruntled, sometimes violent, people. They’re anxious and nervous and, after a point, they don’t want to go to work.’”
A bullet proof glass installation removes the burden of worry—both for the clerk and for management. “It gives a peace of mind to know that there’s protection up there,” George said. “It’s not even about protecting the actual cash, it’s more their real assets: Their people.”
Bullet Proof Transaction Windows: Ideal for Payment Center Security
Bullet proof glass barriers don’t have to look forbidding to provide protection. Modern transaction windows are bright, easy to talk through, and enhance your office’s air of professionalism and safety.
Installing a custom bullet proof transaction window is a fast, painless way to secure a utility payment center without having a negative impact on how clerks relate to visitors. Bulletproof transaction windows are generally rated up to UL Level 3, which stops three .44 magnum shots. These windows have five customizable components:
- Glazing: in most cases this is a single piece of thick bullet resistant acrylic, although some applications may call for laminated glass or glass-clad polycarbonate
- Framing: holds the glazing, and is made from stainless steel, ballistic aluminum, or painted steel
voice transmission system: traditionally an intercom, most payment centers now prefer a baffle or natural voice transmission (NVR) system, for clear sight lines and easy communication
- Currency tray: for passing documents, payments, and small packages
- Countertop: made from wood plastic laminate or stainless steel, available in multiple finishes
Business Doesn’t Stop for Security
Most Total Security Solutions installations can be accomplished overnight, so that your payment center will not experience any downtime. “These aren’t more than a day install,” assures Bob George. “We typically do them overnight, or certainly over the course of a weekend.” Total Security Solutions works closely with clients and their local contracts to make sure measurements are accurate, installations run smoothly, and the resulting barrier is attractive and functional.
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