Giving Credit Where Credit is Due

Yesterday I had to go to the DMV to renew my license. Not exactly my favorite thing to do. I purposefully drive a little further to a rural area as to avoid any of the downtown DMVs because those places are a mess. When I walked in around 10:30 AM, my best guess at when it would be empty, I was greeted by a nice long line anyway.

While I was waiting though, I noticed that one of the ladies helping people was really good at her job. I mean really good. She worked about as fast as a human being could work, she knew every single form that everyone needed for every situation (of the 8-10 people in front of me that she helped, it seemed like everyone was there for a different reason), and she still managed to greet people nicely and smile at everyone. When a mother brought her 16 year old son up to sign up for his permit test and announced that it was his birthday today, she wished him a happy birthday…and then two seconds later jumped over to another line because she overheard the conversation and needed to correct something that the photo/eye-exam lady said to a customer. I was sort of in awe just watching her kick ass at a stressful job that most people would despise.

She turned a generally miserable experience into a not-so-bad experience. I was able to get in and out of there in 15 minutes, when a less experienced, less interested person doing the same job could have turned it into a chaotic 45 minute mess. If I had to guess, she probably does that same thing all day long, 5 days a week, 52 weeks per year. She makes that DMV tolerable, which is quite a feat. Most people probably don’t notice…I’m sure there would be plenty of times where I wouldn’t have noticed.

People like her make the world a better place, and they often don’t get enough credit for doing so.

Update – To clarify, I actually got called up to a different line so I did not interact with her directly. She was, however, the person most responsible for me having a quick experience – without her the line would have likely been backed up for a very long time. Anyway, given the general sentiment of this post, I do think it’s appropriate that I try to give her some more appreciation for a job well done than an anonymous blog post that doesn’t even mention the location of the DMV. I’m penning a letter to the DMV as we speak…

4 comments on Giving Credit Where Credit is Due

  1. Anthony says:

    So the question that’s on everyone’s minds — did you or anybody you saw deal with her actually thank her in person, on the spot, for the exceptional job she was doing?

    Most people recognize & remember the negative. Only a few recognize the positive. Even less remember it. That’s why most companies can suck, as long as they don’t suck too much. It’s unfortunate.

    I like to think good work shines through and those who do it are rewarded. But the fact is, people need to be told & reminded just how good you are, in order to recognize it when it’s happening. That’s why Rackspace, for example, prides themselves on “fanatical support”. If they didn’t, I’d venture to say that most people calling in would claim it was a average-to-good support experience. But when Rackspace tells you it’s fanatical, you begin to fill in the gaps in your mind; you look for proof, and if the fact is true, you find that proof.

    Long story short: If you or your company are exceptional, advertise that and make sure people know just how awesome you are (don’t be cocky though, nobody likes that). Don’t think people will figure out how great you are on they’re own. They probably will move on with their days

    • Adam McFarland says:

      Anthony –

      I actually got called up to a different line, so I didn’t get an opportunity to interact with her directly. Still, I think I’ll spend the rest of the afternoon writing the DMV a letter (couldn’t find an email address). Don’t know if it’ll get to the right people or not, but I’ll give it my best shot. Other people exchanged pleasantries, but I don’t think anyone made an exceptional point to thank her.

      Because of her efficiency, she was probably helping 3x as many people as the lady I went to.

      You bring up a really really good point about Rackspace and planting their “fanatical support” in people’s heads. It’s got me thinking about how we can apply that to our biz. Do you do anything like this in your marketing/advertising? We do have the DI customer testimonials on the left-nav of every page, which I think plants a similar idea in customer’s minds – the thought that their shopping experience with us will be great.

  2. Dave says:

    Love posts like these, I always make sure that if I get exceptional service somewhere, the right people know about it. Bravo on you recognizing this as well.

    • Adam McFarland says:

      Thanks Dave. I’m trying to get better at, as you said, making sure the right people know about my great service experiences. I’ve been toying with the idea in my head to start some sort of “thank you project” where I go seek out and thank any person/company who has produced something that has helped our business succeed. There is so much information and software out there that we’ve used to help us succeed, yet is almost taken for granted (WordPress, PHP/MySQL, cPanel, Firebug, and the list goes on forever), not to mention all of the other people and services that have helped us. I’m not sure how far I’d go, but I might just start off with one thank you per week and see where it gets me 🙂

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