This afternoon I stopped by the Alexandria, VA Department of Motor Vehicles expecting long lines, rude attendants and a big hassle. I walked in and was politely greeted by a smiling woman at the information booth.
"Beautiful day, isn't it? How can I help you today?"
At which point I mentioned that I needed to change my address since I just moved to the area.
"Don't forget about your vehicle registration too. Here's the form for that as well."
"OK" I said to myself, "maybe she's just new here. I've never seen a DMV employee that happy." I sat down, filled out my paperwork and waited for my number to be called.
After only 8 minutes I was speaking to the teller, a gentleman who was just as friendly as the lady at the information booth. At the end of the transaction he gave me a handshake and said, "Thanks, you'll need to bring this form to the voter registration station. It's located just over there - have a great day."
At this point I began to get a little suspicious. Aren't these people supposed to hate their jobs? It feels so strange to get such excellent service at the DMV.
Still, the woman at the voter registration booth topped them all. After reviewing my paperwork, she placed an orange smiley sticker on my hand.
"What's that for?" I asked.
"You get a sticker because you completed your paperwork correctly."
Really?! Cool. I know it seems elementary, but it was nice to be acknowledged. A smile, sunny disposition and a simple sticker was more effective (and way cheaper) than a marketing effort like direct mail or advertising claiming to have "great customer service."
I walked away feeling like I needed to be pinched my experience was so satisfying. Maybe I moved to the Twilight Zone?