Believe it or not, I've found a place that consistently delivers some of the worst service found in our society – any Department of Motor Vehicles (it's the MVA here in Maryland). As someone who has moved around quite a bit, I've had the displeasure of visiting offices in a number of states and one fact rings true in all of my experiences; these places are devoid of the basic elements of good service.
Step into any DMV and two things are going to happen to you, regardless of your reason for being there. First, you are going to encounter at least one employee that hates his/her job and is determined to punish each customer that walks through the door. This person knows you need to be there, so he/she treats you like an inconvenience rather than a customer who should be valued. In fact, the DMV is much like a monopoly whose services are a requirement if you wish to drive legally within their jurisdiction. The result, a collective apathy and the idea that employees don't have to hide behind labored smiles or good communication skills.
Second, you are going to wait in very long lines while the people behind their respective counters do as little as possible as slowly as possible. The goal of any customer-facing organization is the care of its customers. The DMV, because it delivers must-have services, has no such charge, so long wait times or complaining customers mean nothing. It is the ultimate in dehumanization delivered by a department of the local government that we as taxpayers pay for. Imagine if the stakeholders of a corporation were treated as badly as visitors to the DMV are on a daily basis. The corporation's board of directors would be in revolt, and customers would run the company out of town with the evening train. The DMV doesn't have to worry about any such action, so customers will continue to be an afterthought; if they are ever a thought at all.
If you have a story about your visits to your local DMV, send them in and I'll post a few in the upcoming posts. There has to be something we can do about this.