Terrorist Risks Due To Poor Customer Service
When we think of customer service we often focus on the quality of products, serving time, completeness of our order and so on. But we rarely think about security when it comes to customer service. So allow me to be very specific: security and safety is part of customer service.
Unfortunately the lax security of many places exposes civilians to higher risks. Here’s a closer look at this pathetic customer service.
The Magic Wand
It's no high tech device, not even magical. They are usually slender sticks used to poke into bags. Some of the most common variants include:
- barbecue sticks
- balloon sticks
- pieces of wood
- drum sticks (my personal favorite)
Basic instruction: Poke into bag and pretend to look for something. Actually looking inside the bag is not required.
Terrorist Target 1: Malls
If you've been to Manila you've probably noticed the long queues in mall entrances. Here, customers are checked for possible explosives, deadly weapons and what not. This is a good move to quell the rising threat of terrorism. But in reality a quick poke with the security guard’s “magic wand” and a half-hearted pat on your back does not constitute a credible search. The charade of doing a search is more of a nuisance than a help.
In spite of the attempts of mall management to secure their establishments, security personnel just ruin it. In some instances, robbers pretend to be law enforcement personnel and bring high-powered weapons in plain sight. Can you imagine a Rolex Shop inside a mall being robbed during mall hours. Robbery inside a "secure" mall! Well it happened. Moreover, there were numerous instances where even students brought in deadly weapons. If students can do this, I bet terrorist cells in the local area can do this as well - with a more devastating outcome.
Whether the threat is homegrown or from outside, lax mall security puts lives at risk.
Robbery in the mall
Terrorist target 2: Mass Transport System
If I were a terrorist, the mass transport system is a good target. The number of commuters especially during rush hour can make the attack truly devastating. At the heart of this juicy terror target is the poor implementation of security procedures. Just like mall security, there are checks but are rarely worth the effort. Of course international airports and other ports of entry can have better security but all it takes is one security personnel not doing their job properly.
Enclosed locations like subways have been a favorite for chemical attacks. Do you remember the sarin gas attack in Tokyo’s subways? If security is not vigilant, this will happen again. When you think the worse problem you can encounter is losing your luggage or delays in your travel plans, think again.
Terrorist Target 3: Tourist destinations and events
Every country offers attractions to tourist. During special events, tourist destinations are cramped with people. Some events draw people by the tens of thousands. Whether they are street events like most Fiestas in the Philippines or indoor events and activities the threat is real.
Hotels, festivals, sporting events, music events and places of interest are prone to terror attacks. If I were a terrorist, I don’t need to go all out with a dirty bomb. Biological weapons can work best for these situations. The close contact of people will be my ally – not to mention the poor customer protection being implemented. If I’m pressed for time, or my terrorist cell is low on budget, I can simple use an IED (improvised explosive device) and toss it in the crowd. It may not be as effective but I can instill fear.
Event organizers, business owners and the local government must work together to prevent such atrocity to happen.
Theft in McDonalds caught on tape
For the record, I’m not a terrorist. I have no ties with Al Qaeda or our homegrown terrorist group called Abu Sayyaf. Rather, I simply present customer service lapses in security that can be used for bigger threats.
From customer service to public safety
Protecting civilians from terrorism is the job of government agencies. Homeland Security, FBI, local law enforcement units and other agencies have their ear open for threats. But this does not mean businesses should put their guards down. Protection against theft, injuries or poor products is necessary. But from what I have seen, the lax security in many facilities both public and private can easily be breached. Unfortunately, even the smallest of loop holes can have disastrous effects.
Of course many will argue that security and safety protocols are in place. However, implementing them properly is another matter. The truth is I don't mind the delays due to inspections and searches. In fact I welcome it. It's for my protection; it's for my family's protection. However, I have concerns with the way the inspection is done. Moreover, surveillance cameras are good tools Unfortunately, the way they are used is simply reactive. Although the incident was caught on tape, it already occurred. Preventive security measure will give me peace of mind when I'm out with my family.
Consumers must demand their right to a secure and safe place. The lack of attention to consumer security and safety is a precursor to bigger threats. Perhaps it’s being too pessimistic but putting our guard down has been proven to be detrimental.