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>Recently I had the pleasure to work with the Register of Deeds (ROD) and Auditors of the County of Greenville. They were interested in raising the bar on the level of customer service they were offering to the taxpayers and citizens of Greenville, SC. Knowing that their customers mostly have no choice in doing business with them, I asked the staff why customer service was important? The responses I heard were: people will be nicer to us if we are trying to be nice to them, feeling of pride in who I work for, goodwill in the community, better image of who we are and it helps to enjoy our workday more.

Tim Nanney, the director of Register of Deeds, was elected to the position six years ago. While this was his first foray into government work, his passion has always been customer service and he saw no reason why it shouldn’t be applicable to a government office. His goal is to be recognized as the best ROD in the state. The first steps were to clean up the office area. Recognizing that Everything Speaks in the physical environment, he saw no positive impact to having their area look like a “government office”. Clutter was organized, years of deeds were compiled and labeled in bound notebooks, post-it notes were taken down, computers/printers were moved to be more user-friendly and the waiting area was rearranged to be more inviting.

Without a budget, Tim had to look for ways to enhance the physical environment without spending much money. Discovering a summer intern had artistic talent, he asked if she would be interested in painting a wall mural of key points of interest in the city of Greenville. As citizens are looking for their deeds, they also get to enjoy the colorful mural.

Both departments recognize that the reasons their customers come to see them are not always pleasant events (for example: paying vehicle, boat licenses at the Auditors office) so the employees know how important it is to be extra courteous and respectful. The true product they believe they are delivering to their customers is “trust”. They want taxpayers and citizens to walk away knowing they can trust the amount of taxes they were charged is fair and correct, the documents are accurate, the information is safe, confidential and secure. They see their behaviors must exhibit competency, accuracy, helpfulness and advice. Whether it is making sure they know where to send the customer next, answering questions or sharing helpful information and advice, they try to empathize and look through the lens of the customer.

Wouldn’t it be great if all government organizations shared this philosophy and outlook on serving their customers? I wouldn’t mind my next trip to the Department of Motor Vehicles office!

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