teenager being graded on a driving test


Growth  |  3 min read

Is There Care at the Motor Vehicle Division?

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Clate Mask

I have to admit that for years, I’ve held up the MVD (or DMV in other states) as the standard for how NOT to run a business. Ever since I was 15 years old, my experiences at the MVD have been filled with frustration while unhappy employees have unemotionally and robotically followed protocol as they’ve gone about their work. You get the distinct impression they wish you weren’t there. Not only do they not care about you, but they wish you didn’t exist.

That has been my experience over 25-plus years, without exception. But, yesterday was different.

I took my daughter to get her learner’s permit and I experienced things I’ve never experienced before: smiling, helpful employees, efficient processes, conveniences geared toward the customer (like plenty of pens, accepting debit cards instead of cash or check only, and not requiring me to wait in line again when we returned with the additional form of ID my daughter and I had left at home).  As I went through the entire experience, I noticed things were different. And then right toward the end of my stay at MVD, I noticed two significant things that explained a lot.

  • A woman who appeared to be the leader of the operation was smiling, cheerfully talking with customers and co-workers and efficiently running the photo line (where a picture of the customer’s MVD experience is taken and displayed on the primary form of ID for many years); 
  • At the desk where I paid for my services, a stack of slips of paper were neatly placed between me and the clerk.  The strips of paper said: “How was your visit today?” with a thumbs up picture and a thumbs down picture, along with a checkbox beneath each image.

What does all of this have to do with small business success? Well, the level of care you give your customers is directly related to the growth of your business.

So, pardon me for being shocked yesterday. The MVD was showing real CARE for their customers. In one of Gary Vaynerchuck’s books, he dedicates an entire chapter to customer care. The chapter consists of one big word in a giant font: CARE!

SBS Idea of the Day: As the leader, are you creating an environment conducive to happy employees who CARE about your customers and serve them? It starts with you. How are you showing your care for your employees? When you show them your care and teach them to care for your customers, your customers take care of YOU.


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To your success,
Clate Mask
CEO + Co-Founder