Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Customer Service - can it be delivered in public service?

Sure can:-))

In Germany, probably like in most other countries, one is obliged to register at the place of living. 

So normally that is just a thing you HAVE to do. The agents in the city council office treat you as you would be just a mere "case" for them. More work on the desk.

Not so in Dresden, where I had my most enjoyable memories getting my passport some 12 years ago during the carneval time and it was a whole lot of laughter and joy over there.

Yesterday I was heading towards the same place to register and make myself a "Citizen of Dresden". As it is the time between Xmas and New Year's Eve I wondered whether the place would be open and phoned the general city information. Got through (in Leipzig that line was either taken or you waited for ages, by the way I lived in Leipzig for the last four years, not feeling like a "Leipziger".

Alright I got off the tram in front of the town hall (all the Dresden suburbs used to independant cities and therefor had their own town hall from the late 19th century). All lights shut off in the building - almost;-) I wondered ("Didn't they tell you there would be service until 6 PM? Now it is 5 PM. Almost all dark. Strange."), stepped up the staircase and -surprise- the main door was open.

So I went in, looked around and found my way to the ticket machine (to make the queuing easier). Pulled my number, and expected to wait (saw dozens of people in Leipzig earlier that day when I was over there). No way, a few seconds later I was invited to next free service agent and waived in.

..and off we went, quickly she got the data into the computer, checked name and signed the piece a paper (on a WACOM tablet - so the electronic signatur is right in the computer, without copying and scanning the paper - great lean stuff:-)). We had a nice short chat and told her about my previous visit and how much I enjoyed it.

Five minutes later I was out of the office again and thought:

"Whow. that was customer service I would like to see not only in a city council but also at companies who have paying customers, like car manufacturers, railway companies and any other business type company"

A great example how easily the customer can be appreciated and takes his experience into the world (sure will post the City of Dresden about that story:-)).

Best regards and let's see where there are other fine examples around the world. Feel free to comment and write your story.


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