Customer Service Challenges

Customer Service Challenges

What customer service challenges has your jurisdiction faced, and how did you successfully address them?

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Walter Anger, Deputy Director & Commissioner of Revenue, Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration

One of the challenges that we face is the amount of foot traffic in our offices that can often result in longer wait times for customers. In February 2018, we launched a new website called and introduced a new marketing campaign called “Skip the Trip,” in an effort to reduce the foot traffic in local offices throughout the state. MyDMV allows citizens to renew their vehicle registration, pay vehicle sales tax, register and title a new vehicle, order a duplicate driver’s license, change their address, request driver records and more—all from their desktop computers or mobile devices. MyDMV is allowing our state to deliver services to citizens in a more efficient manner by increasing the number of services available online, plus eliminating the need to travel to their local office.

Courtney Saxon, Deputy Director Field Services, South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles

In Charleston, which is one of our most populated markets, we had to close down one of our DMV locations last year as our lease had expired and there was a lack of real estate options available to us. This has put quite a strain on the remaining locations in the area, often resulting in customer frustration. Imagine our surprise when a vendor called to inquire about offering services at our “new office location.” When we informed the vendor that we hadn’t been able to find a new location yet, they sent us an address where they had seen one being built. The details were perfect—the door displayed our exact logo and office hours, and it even had replicated an accent wall with our signature bright blue paint. Upon further investigation, we learned this “new office” was the product of a television production company that was filming a new show in the area. We had to quickly develop a communications plan, complete with contacting the governor, legislators and other stakeholders in case news of a new location became public. The last thing we wanted was for word to spread that a much-wanted new location was coming to the area when it wasn’t true. Also, a fun fact: If your logo isn’t copyrighted, there is nothing to stop a television production company from replicating and using it.

Terry Walsh, DMV Communications Manager, Wisconsin Department of Transportation

A recent customer service challenge was balancing response time between customers who call and customers who email questions. Last year, Wisconsin DMV had a soft target goal of responding to customer emails within 48 hours. The phone customer service index was 80% of callers wait less than 2 minutes prior to speaking with an agent. Since the email goal was not measured and reported, program area staff consistently gave priority to phone service over email response time, even though email workload is typically more manageable compared to sudden call volume surges. To increase the importance of email customer service, as of July 1, 2018, Wisconsin DMV implemented a customer service index of 80% responded to within 24 hours. At the same time the phone customer service index was changed to 80% of callers wait less than 3 minutes prior to speaking with an agent. The thought process behind this change was to encourage customers to use DMV Internet site information and DMV online service applications to find their answer rather than call. To directly encourage the online options, a message is broadcast to callers regarding the various self-service online options once they have waited 1 minute 30 seconds and again at 3 minute 30 seconds. The goal of establishing a reported email service index was to improve email response times and encourage customers to send their questions/comments at their convenience. For the time period of July 1, 2018 – December 31, 2018, the division replied to 78% of all emails within 24 hours. Early data trends indicate some reduction in overall call volume as a result of this emphasis on improving email response speed.

Matthew Cole, Director, Division of Driver Licensing, Department of Vehicle Regulation, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet

Here in Kentucky’s Division of Driver Licensing, we have been undergoing a change in the culture in an effort to meet present-day customer service expectations. Undersized staffing and older technology are not excuses for providing anything less than excellent customer service. We have rolled out new tools to help assist our citizens in the services they need to stay on the road for their jobs, their families and their lives. Our MyCDL portal allows drivers to stay valid by uploading their paperwork from a PC, tablet or smartphone. Adding email capability to our driver licensing system now provides renewal reminders at 6, 2 and 1 month prior to expiration. We are now putting the finishing touches on our REAL ID compliant system that will enable the citizens of the Commonwealth to board domestic flights after the federal extensions end in 2020. We’ve now set our sights on updating our Kentucky Driver Licensing Information System that will be able to meet all the future customer needs as technology continues to quickly evolve.

Stephanie Whitfield, Consumer Education Coordinator, Office of Communications, Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) touches the lives of nearly every resident and many visitors in Florida. In 2017 and 2018, Florida was struck by two major hurricanes, Hurricanes Irma and Michael, the first major storms to hit the state since 2005. Both storms brought devastation to the state and interrupted operations at driver license and motor vehicle service centers in eight counties. Florida Licensing on Wheels (FLOW) units play a vital role in providing mobile driver license and motor vehicle services statewide, including during disaster recovery. Following Hurricanes Irma and Michael, FLOWs issued more than 5,000 credentials and registrations for customers impacted by the storms. In the aftermath of Hurricane Michael this past fall, five FLOW mobiles were deployed for 50 missions supporting Bay, Liberty, Jackson, Franklin and Gulf Counties, which resulted in:

  • 1,217 credentials
  • 2,443 motor vehicle transactions
  • 104 Florida titles

Additionally, FLOW mobile staff updated 1,214 customers’ Emergency Contact Information (ECI) and assisted 2,408 additional customers. To date, FLOWs continue to provide support in severely impacted Jackson County. Meeting the needs of the motoring public in the third largest state in the U.S. presents a challenge to the department’s customer service center. To assist, FLHSMV’s social media channels serve as a key customer service source, amassing high volumes of daily inquiries and feedback spanning the department’s many services and functions. The FLHSMV Communications Office works proactively and diligently to facilitate all communications and requests sent to these digital outlets, whether after hours, in another language or during an emergency situation.

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