Monday, March 9, 2009

A Surprise at the Tag Office

I had to go to the tag office this morning and I was not looking forward to it at all for all the usual reasons, waiting in line, grumpy people, etc. To my surprise when I got there not one person was in line and a friendly employee says, "How can I help you?" She had the transaction completed in less than 5 minutes. I stood there in shock. I said, "Wow this is different than my last experience." The employee said, well we all received some really good training and every time I get one of these comment cards, I get a reward. She pointed out the post cards, taped to her cubicle with accolades from customers. Since, the tag office is part of the county government, I am guessing the rewards can't be huge. She went on to tell me that they also get "points" for efficiency as well. So not only do they have a quality measure but they also have a quantity measure. Wow, am I dreaming at the tag office?

Here are some lessons in this story for HR:
1) Training does work if done correctly-Apparently the training the tag office employees received worked
2) Pay for Performance does work-I looked around at the other cubicles and comment cards were being proudly displayed. I suspect their is a "friendly competition" that goes along with those cards as well. Whatever the rewards are, they are working!
3) You don't have to have a big budget to turn around performance
4) Make sure you have metrics that are understandable and balanced between quality and quantity

All of these things can be accomplished in today's environment where emphasis is on cost containment/reduction. By making sure your customers expectations are exceeded during this down time, will mean repeat and referral business when times are good! Now, I know I have to get a tag, I don't have a choice, so I will be a repeat customer, however, the experience was pleasant. I think it is a l esson to all of us in the private sector. I might even think twice before getting my tag online!
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