So being the busy guy that I am, thinking big ideas and all, I tend to skip the mundane necessities in life. Fortunately I have lots of technology with reminders and automation, as well as a persistent, mostly understanding and completely supportive better half. Once in a while though, the system breaks down.
After a meeting yesterday AM (April 1, and this is no joke by the way) my meeting colleague texted that my inspection sticker expired the day before. So I called the Honda dealer and they could take me right away (yay). Drove over, signed in the car, got myself set up in their waiting area (with wired and wireless Internet, thank you Hyannis Honda).
I hadn’t even composed my first email when my name was called. Uh oh, that can’t be good. Turns out in Massachusetts if your plates are faded or cracking or otherwise damaged they must be replaced. The inspection stations are required to take a photo of the plate as part of the process (no fudging from your friendly neighborhood mechanic). The Hyannis Honda service guy gave me instructions for going to RMV and replacing the plates, including ordering new plates with the same number (it’s a cool number we’ve had for 16 years).
Hyannis Honda service team – great customer service, friendly, prompt, informative. Big thumbs up.
Now it’s off to what may be the last RMV outlet on Cape Cod, in busy South Yarmouth. I hustled on over with a bit of trepidation. Going to the RMV is like getting your teeth cleaned, OK, maybe even worse. Walking in the door I was assailed by a poor ventilation system struggling with too many humans, eye-burning fluorescent lights and a line to the customer service desk with 20 people. Ugh.
After about 15 minutes in line I get to the customer service rep, who informed me that 1) I cannot get the same number I had before, and 2) I have to bring the old plates in to get the new ones. Ugh.
Fortunately there was an Ocean State Job Lot store (lots of crappy stuff cheap if you aren’t from these parts) next door so I bought a small adjustable wrench for $2.49. The floor staff was helpful and the checkout person was quite personable.
Thumbs up for Ocean State Job Lot.
Got the plates off the car, then back into the RMV. To my dismay, the line was even longer. Got out the iPhone and started a crossword puzzle.
But then I noticed something. There was a new customer service rep. She was whipping through the line, assigning renewals a place in registration queue, exchanging plates, and she was doing it all with a smile. In less than 10 minutes I was at the counter with my plates. On a chance, I asked if there was ANY way I could keep my old number. “Sure, we’ll just order those for you.” In 60 seconds she had taken my information, made the necessary computer entries, printed the form I’d need to get the car inspected and sent me on my way a very happy camper. I thanked her very much for her effort (but didn’t get her name, for which I am kicking myself). I swear the room suddenly filled with natural daylight and sweet smells of spring air.
What a difference a knowledgeable, caring, and motivated customer service rep can make. So wish I had her first, wouldn’t have had to take the plates off the car. But then I wouldn’t have this little parable. Even in the most mundane or stressful environments (and perhaps especially there) great attitude and sharp service can leave a very positive impact.
RMV: One thumb down and a big thumbs up for making at least one really great hire.
Continue the conversation: What customer service highlights have you experienced in less than optimal situations?