I had been dreading renewing my license, procrastinating until just days before my birthday. I remember how in the past I had to stand in line for what seemed like hours only to be greeted by a drone-like civil servant employee of the DMV. Granted, it had been six years or so since I went through this experience, but it has stuck in my mind. A negative brand impression is hard to displace!
I went on line to find out if I could make an appointment and where I needed to go. I quickly found the link for “renewing your license” and found that I could do it at an AAA office.
Marketing tip for the DMV – you should include mention of the AAA option in the renewal notifications that you mail out to your customers. Some customers need to be hit over the head that there’s an exciting new way of doing things. You know who you are!
In disbelief, I called the AAA office to understand what/how/when it works, and they said come on down, bring a check for $66 to the DMV and a $2 surcharge to AAA; take your photo, sign the paperwork and you’ll have your new license.
This sounded too good to be true and it turned out to be BETTER than true. It was fantastic. I was in and out of there in less than five minutes! I wanted to hug the AAA representative and let her know how much time, money and angst she had saved me. She did a good job of offering me additional AAA products/services and letting me know about AAA membership benefits that might be helpful in the future. I appreciated that too.
Can you believe that they only charged $2 for this AAA service? That’s less than some ATMs charge you for taking cash out. I would have happily paid $50 to avoid going through DMV hell.
It got me to thinking on the drive home…
- Who else could help you distribute your product/service in a way that would delight your customers?
- How could you make getting your product/service more convenient and pleasurable for your clients?
- What could you “take away” or remove from your service delivery that would please your customers?
- What incremental value would you create (and could you charge for) for this extra “love” with your customers?
This experience reminds me of something I read from marketing guru, Seth Godin’s book, Free Prize Inside: the next big marketing idea. Seth presents the idea of “soft innovation” as the best way to grow a business, instead of relying on big ads or big innovation. He says that anyone can think up clever, useful, and small ideas to make a product or service remarkable, that is, worth talking about. He calls this kind of innovation a free prize because it generates much more revenue than it costs to implement.
I can’t believe that I would ever say this, but perhaps we need to be thinking more like the DMV and AAA. Congratulations to both organizations for a creating such a sensible, logical and appreciated way in which we can renew our driver’s licenses.
If the DMV can do it, so can the rest of us!
photo credit: www.flickr.com/photos/shimone/2714644676/