A few days ago I posted on the tension between increasing compliance requirements (Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorist Financing, Sarbanes-Oxley) and customer focus. I admit, I wimped out when it came to offering useful suggestions. But here are a few:
- Avoid focusing on "compliance". Instead, focus on how to make the whole experience a good experience for customers, even including the compliance steps. This means getting MARKETING or SALES to develop compliant processes, not letting COMPLIANCE determine how you will talk to customers.
- Give people the words to use and good role play training in how to handle awkward scenarios. Help them avoid falling back on phrases like "it's policy", which customers truly despise.
- Don't really expect front line people to understand how to find money-launderers -- focus only on why it is important to pay attention. Knowing your customer is really good for creating customer focus -- this is just a different twist on what you are listening for.
- Do your best to ensure that customers are not treated like crooks until proven otherwise. This means being welcoming and friendly during any and all credit checking and due diligence procedures.
- Don't expect your front line staff to be as sophisticated in their ability to make trade-offs and judgements as senior managers are. If they were good at those kinds of trade-offs, they would BE senior managers, not front line service staff. (I know, this is perfectly obvious, but still a frequently made error).
- Compliance maywant to issue directives-from-above that sound like the eleventh commandment, and issue these directly to sales and service staff. Their justification for this may be that they are accountable, and therefore they need unfettered access. BAD IDEA. Instead, have them hold the direct line of management accountable for ensuring that customer facing processes are compliant.
- The relationship of compliance staff with the customer-facing staff should be one of AUDITING. They can tell people not to violate the compliance policy, and the staff must comply and escalate afterward if necessary. This is not a managerial relationship of assigning work, leading or coaching.
- Having said all this, the Compliance Dept. clearly stands to gain from being accessible and developing a reputation as people you can talk to.
- Just like Mom told you, you catch more flies with honey than vinegar.
Tomorrow, we'll look at how airports are handling compliance, now that they've had a few years to work out the kinks.