Bad Customer Service: DMV of Cherry Hill, NJ

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    I remember a song now, “A Must to Avoid.” Ever known people or businesses like that? Just another variation of what you get with bad customer service.

    Funny isn’t it? It’s also part of the song–but probably wasn’t the real place when the song was written, although it could have been. It’s real now.

    The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) matters many drivers I know do their best to avoid this particular branch. I remember a song now, “A Must to Avoid.”

    Ever known people or businesses like that? Just another variation of what you get with bad customer service. No praise when the customer gets what they need, but more negatives than ten times over by those who didn’t get the treatment they felt they deserved. With numbers like that, I still find it hard to believe, that a little valuable employee training and development on such an important subject doesn’t get the attention it deserves. So here’s another true customer service story.

    Cherry Hill is a real township in South Jersey. Nothing really cheery about this place, but I have had great cheese steaks there.

    In my mind I see it one other way: it owns the title of “cherry” in the way we refer to novices–in this case. Customer service, especially the DMV, here handles things like registration, plates, and handicapped tags when needed. In my nine years of living here, I have never found it the best or even okay customer service.

    In my nine years of living here, I have never found its DMV the best or even okay for customer service

    I challenge anyone to fix this place up for humans to use and receive good information with high customer service standards and I will write your story here,   naming you obviously one of the best trainers I have ever seen. Word does get around, doesn’t it? On both counts. But we know that. So what to do about it?

      Nowhere on the documentation or the website does it explain the person must be present when issued. In fact, you can actually do this by mail.

    In this case, there was a request for a temporary handicapped hang tag; I have cancer and the constant radiation and chemo make me extremely tired so it is necessary to cut back until the strength comes. But you never know when because it comes on so suddenly. There is more to life than treatment (day after day) of radiation and weekly chemo is encouraged, but the doctors want you engaged in a small way, and doing the occasional errands. Hence, the request for a handicapped placard.

    All a person has to do is fill out the form and have the doctor sign it. In my case, my wife brought it in, which made perfect sense. But that’s not enough. My wife went on her own so I wouldn’t be exhausted; nowhere on the documentation or the website does it explain the person must be present when issued. In fact, you can actually do this by mail.

    My wife argued the point, got absolutely nowhere, and came back to get me. Fortunately, I had some rest. Although exhausted and in bed, I had to get up and my wife had to come back to get me, further proof, I was what the doctors’ certified I was. A mere phone call to me or even the doctor’s office might have been enough. I doubt anyone in the DMV office would have been fired over that and we’d have a happier ending all around.

    Training seems to consist of only one person at a time knowing what is going on with one person no matter how important an issue it seems. No multitasking inside the building. Inefficient call centers and customer service use inexperienced people and scripts so they quote policy and next steps correctly, but as most support managers know that is only a small part of the job; apparently the other part of his job is leaving early without telling someone else the problem he or she couldn’t solve. Really tired complainers don’t come back–just the persistent ones.

    One customer service member offered help as long as we could tell the same story without getting emotional or any attention since now all she had to do was a rubber stamp.

    The problem was solved, and the handicapped individual was brought into the office. How they know for sure–I don’t know. Since she seemed to know, we were going along, and as we did raise our voices to make sure she knew we were here all day, she bravely called Security and handed it off to someone else with the courage enough to handle a cancer-ridden individual and his teary-eyed wife.

    Good Customer Service

    • Any professional will tell you chewing gum when approaching a customer is not professional.
    • The customer gets more than one chance to get the words out before being embarrassed by customer service.
    • Point for customer or customer service, I’m not sure. But I bet the object of customer service is not happy.
    • I’m sure customer service looks tough in the eyes of her colleagues–for now. I would have fired her for the gum–especially because she would be well aware that my policy includes that and that people come first, the policy we know by heart (but we know why it may have come about–agree with it, like or not, it doesn’t matter).
    • If you refer me to the Governor or anyone else, give a contact address or number and assure me I have the right to contact him, but also tell me it is the State House that creates and passes laws like this, and you have people in Department of Transportation who recommend these changes. I think you get my meaning.

    I’m just a customer who writes about training development, and customer service, and it seems from my being a customer as often as I can these days I was motivated to write this particular blog.

    In complaining about customer service, Americans often refer to the DMV, the Post Office (no complaint there yet), or Airport Security (wrote a two-parter there a while back). Thought it was time to bring it back up. Customer service is an often neglected place, and it’s where the newbies go in the lesser programs. The smartest programs rotate exceptionally experienced or well-trained people.

    The Federal government has a big training department and I managed a training guide on customer service, but we didn’t get much in the way of requests. I suspect the topic wasn’t considered very important, but especially today we should be working harder than ever to help each of us.

    We are each other’s customers. The question we also asked that left us frustrated was “Why do you not mention this on your website and form, but require it as part of the process,” and explain that.

    I remember being asked by a U.S. Senator’s office what I thought the thinking was of the committee that wrote the question it did when it was submitted as a Bill.

    You’d think the writers would know, but apparently, the Senator didn’t know where to begin and was trying to find out. Since it really wasn’t my place to talk with the Senator directly I asked the Senator if I could call her staff and if we could solve that problem together. She agreed. The Senator was still my customer. And, I hers. And yours.

    So many people want to ask why when it doesn’t seem right or fair. Take my wife who works in Policy, she asks that question a lot, because she knows others will. This answer might have helped or someone might have asked the “what if” that made another policy that made good sense to all. Rubber stamp.

    Is this a good case for training, or what? Don’t call me; call them. This is a freebie referral.

    Happy training.

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