I had to go to the Jefferson County Courthouse to transact some business.
Based on my previous experiences, I would rather have a ‘root canal.’
The last time I went to the courthouse there were people lined up around the block. The hallways were filled with angry folks with tempers flaring.
Some citizens were compelled to hire surrogates to stand in line so they wouldn’t have to miss a day of work to transfer a license tag.
So you can imagine my surprise when I opened the courthouse door and it was relatively quiet with no one in line.
I was welcomed by a male and female security guard. I looked around to make sure I was in the right place.
After I unloaded my pockets and walked through the metal detector, I must have looked puzzled because the male security guard took the initiative to ask if I needed directions. When I told him I had no idea where I was going, he laid out my route.
I walked down the long Courthouse corridor to the annex and located the appropriate bank of elevators.
When I entered the waiting room, I was warmly greeted by a jovial young woman.
She asked my name and appointment time.
I told her I was about twenty minutes early because I anticipated delays. She found my name on the schedule and said someone would be with me shortly.
Five minutes before my scheduled appointment she rose from her desk and walked over to where I was sitting. She assured me that I would be called any minute.
When she turned around to go back to her desk, a Jefferson County employee walked up behind her and called my name.
My meeting went well and I walked back to the lobby to thank the receptionist for such good customer service.
She giggled and told me I had made her day.
Quite frankly I was totally unprepared for how well I was treated. I could have been shopping at a Publix or a Costco where the employees seem to actually care about their customers.
It’s true–I had low expectations, but my previous experiences with county government had been pretty awful.
When I got home, I told my wife about my unexpected positive experience.
She said she had just renewed her driver’s license on line. It took about five minutes and she didn’t have to leave the house. She also explained that she was conveniently able to transfer her license tag around the corner in Vestavia Hills.
Jefferson County must be doing something right.
Evidently Jefferson County employees are better trained and their technology is much improved.
Yes, there’s something strange at the Jefferson County Courthouse.
Fortunately, it’s a good kind of strange.
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David Sher is Co-Founder of AmSher Compassionate Collections. He’s past Chairman of the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce (BBA), Operation New Birmingham (REV Birmingham), and the City Action Partnership (CAP).