This is the third post in a series looking at how compliance procedures have infiltrated customer facing environments, and how to meet the challenge without damaging the customer sales and service experience.
Given the identical situation, let's look at how different organizations are responding. Since we've all been in an airport, dear reader, this seems like a good place to look.
In Canada, we seem to have airport security who relish
acting in an officious manner. (It feels like class warfare to me: if you can afford to travel with a laptop, they already hate you)
What a treat in some US airports I have been in, (e.g. Phoenix) where security staff
are friendly, polite, smiling and service oriented, even as they are
telling you they need your shoes. They wish you pleasant travel. They
invite you to return soon. Their subtext goes something like this: I know you aren't a terrorist, but we need to pay attention to this and I know you understand why it's so important. Okay?
Pearson airport in Toronto has US Customs and Immigration pre-clearance for Canadian
travellers to the USA. They have helpful people directing traffic.
They use line-up management methods that they learned from Disney. It
might not be fun, but at least it's efficient.
Contrast this with what you will see coming in to Canada Customs in the same airport. No line-up management at all, which occassionally results in a full-room-crush. I've been in this room
when the crowd was backed up the stairs to the boarding lounges, pushing and jockeying for position. It's hot. There is nothing to look at -- no posters for the sights of the city you are entering, no welcome signs, no commercial messages about where you can get a cell-phone. It feels like the third world. (Actually, I've had better experiences in the third world. It's embarassing, frankly, and let me just apologize to all visitors for our dismal performance)
So to anyone who doesn't think organization culture counts for much, I invite you to explain this difference. It is possible to balance competing objectives. But management has to actually make the effort.