Each day has it’s own adventures, only some are more exciting than others. Karma’s daily adventure fell on the more boring side of things today, but an adventure nonetheless.
“Where should we go to lunch?” became limited to the fine restaurants in downtown Louisville close to the DMV office, as requested by Chris. The day before this, Chris mistakenly wound up with two titles to the same vehicle, a problem that needed to be tended to quickly.
Kayla and I looked at each other with an equal amount of dread when walking into the DMV, to which Chris responded (and I’m fairly sure this quote is 100% accurate), “Don’t worry guys, I’ve never spent more than five minutes at this office.”
A shaky guarantee like that inevitably jinxed us beyond control. His number was called fairly soon, and then he promptly broke the DMV. As it turns out, resolving this issue was on par with my cat trying to solve a rubik’s cube (see above). They didn’t understand what it was, batted it around for awhile, and then fell asleep on it. The computer couldn’t figure out the problem, the printer broke down, files were missing, lines were backing up, and children were weeping.
Customer service is a beautiful thing when it’s there, and when it’s missing, everything else falls apart. If any of you savvy Mac users have ever had an issue, you probably know the sweet side of it. The genius bar in the Apple Store is there to figure out what the problem is, and if all else fails, give you a new whatever.
Great customer service requires a couple of different things. First things first, you have to have know your product or service inside and out. If customers come to you with questions or issues, you have to be able to distinguish and solve the actual problem. If applications on my Mac are running slow and I take it to the make Apple Store, the genius bar will likely find that the issue of speed is the symptom of something else. Nothing is more frustrating to a customer than being put back on hold once they finally connect to a customer service rep because they have to ask their boss what to do. We all have the responsibility of being knowledgeable individuals in our field.
Secondly, you have to make it easy for customers. There’s a whole world of technology, and the DMV is still using smoke signals to communicate with the public and other offices. Are you utilizing as many tools as possible to connect with consumers? Are you making customers lives easier, or forcing them through a maze of automated telephone messages? Another look at our friends Apple, and we see the ideal system. Online arrangements are in place to be as helpful as possible, friendly customer service reps are reachable via telephone, and a reservation system for Apple Stores was set up to keep customers from drawing a number and waiting for hours (like you know who). Think about how you can beef up your customer service using customer-friendly technology.
So what technology could the DMV implement to bring it into the 21st century? An online help center. After some quick research, I found loads of forms that you can print off and fill out before you leave house, which would save everyone precious time. However, that’s only if you can figure out which forms you will and won’t need. This could all be solved with a simple chat feature where drivers could connect to DMV workers to ask questions, and get information. Or, even simpler, a form system which lets you answer specific questions, like New Registration -> Boat -> From Out of State, and gives you all the forms you need to have with you.
What else? Kids at Disney World can figure out which lines to get in thanks to those helpful average wait time displays before you enter. Wouldn’t it be nice to get online before you leave the house to check how many folks are already in line waiting? Maybe from a mobile site, or a text message. And wouldn’t be amazing if you could reserve an appointment for yourself online? All of these capabilities are widely used by others, saving both you and consumers time and frustrations.
Let’s wrap this up, and get to the point. You are going to have customers bring problems to you. How you handle their problem has the ability to create a life-long loyal consumer, or send them running to your competitor.
Also don’t go in the DMV after Chris.