It’s a sad reflection on the world when public library staff need to go to armed holdup training but it has given me a good chuckle all this week so it can’t be all bad.
The trainer told us he believes the greatest deteriant to robbers is not in fact big security guards or bars or even shotguns under the counter but…good customer service. He uses the example of clubs.
Sydney as a lot of clubs. Community clubs, RSL clubs, sports clubs, masonic lodges, Catholic clubs, League Clubs…and all of them have a reception area. Sometimes it’s just the tall sweeping desk with the harrassed staff member behind it, sometime it’s an island circled by ‘Welcomers’. Everyone needs to sign in and show ID unless you are being brought in by a member. ‘Welcomers’ make this very clear when you first enter.
Now robbers will rehearse a crime. They’ll go in a day or two before and check out how things work, where the money is, the exits and the ‘Welcomers’. A ‘Welcomer’ who has good customer service will go up to this lone individual who may seem to be wandering around aimlessly and say, “Good day, I’m Bob welcome to the club. Would you like to sign in?”
It’s natural to sign in, everyone signs in, so a robber just looking around, not wanting to stand out needs to sign in. Excellent. If he’s not a member he’ll have to show his driver’s licence. Even better. Instantly he is no longer an anonymous member of the public. Suddenly he has to identify himself. Of course, ‘Welcomer’ Bob has no idea this guy is a potential robber, but it doesn’t matter. Our robber feels exposed.Our robber may wish to hang around but again the ‘Welcomers’ ask him how he’s doing and if he’s waiting for anyone. That’s just too much. Without looking too suspicious he can’t get rid of this annoying staff member. As soon as he can he’s out the door into his own car and drives away. In the rear vision mirror he see’s the ‘Welcomer’ waving him goodbye.
And the best bit, if he’d been an honest member of the public he would have thought it was the best customer service he’d ever received.