My son recently moved out-of-state and needed to get a new title and tags for his vehicle. With documents in hand we set out on a journey that was likened to finding the land of Oz. Our first stop was to get a new driver’s license. Upon arriving at the DMV, we stood in line to talk with someone about our transaction, After they checked our documents we got in another line to get service. Once my son was issued a temporary license (apparently they will need to mail the real one to him) we were told that we needed to go to another office location to get the title and tags.
Down the road we traveled to a tiny nook in a nearly abandoned shopping mall. The office was so small that the line extended out the door. Once inside, the atmosphere reflected it’s surroundings. Hand-written signs behind run-down desks serviced by associates in t-shirts who didn’t look like they wanted to be there. The credit card machine at one of the service booths was out of order so they only serviced cash transactions. Lucky for us I brought the check book so we only had to wait 20 minutes. Although the associate we dealt with was knowledgeable and polite, it didn’t make up for the inefficient process. Two hours after we started our adventure we were finally done.
Like many government agencies where a customer has no other choice but to use them, service is often less than efficient and rarely focused on the customer. But it shouldn’t be so. I worked for a regulated company that had a captive customer base but in my case, I made sure customer service was my number one priority. People would frequently ask me why I bothered with service excellence if I have a captive customer base? The answer is simple. Customers are paying for the service and deserve to get their money’s worth. But most importantly, the customers I serve are members of my community. They are my neighbors and friends. Why wouldn’t I want to provide them with great service?
Unfortunately government agencies will not be able to achieve service excellence until they see excellence as is a value, not a job.