It varies by state and county, but the average national Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) appointment takes between 34 and 44 minutes. Considering that most of us only have to go every couple of years to apply for or renew a license, manage a title, or take care of some other related task, this outlay of time isn’t really all that great. But ask about anyone of driving age, and they’ll say that they look forward to a DMV visit about as much as they do a dental exam or some other (often unfairly) maligned appointment.
This is in large part due to the fact that actual wait time and perceived wait time are not the same. Consider this – the average wait time for a meal at a casual restaurant is 28 minutes and we watch about 20 minutes of previews before a movie. Neither of those wait times that get compared with a colonoscopy – and in at least one of the cases, we’re hungry.
Yet the DMV battles a reputation for slow processes, long wait times, and frustrated staff. And many citizens walk into an appointment with that expectation darkening their experience before it even begins.
Many DMV locations have begun proactively working to mitigate these issues, largely by modernizing the process and the DMV experience, focusing on automating as many functions as possible – from appointment scheduling to duplicate driver licenses, to vehicle registration renewals. They’ve also begun gathering and sharing useful analytics that is helpful in creating efficiency that benefits citizens and DMV staff alike. For example, it's common knowledge that citizens should avoid the lunch hour or the first and last weeks of the month, where the crowd is likely at its highest.
How to improve the DMV citizen experience
Manage citizen flow with appointments
Regulating the customer flow, as well as managing the number of visitors and branch capacity can significantly improve the customer experience. Utilizing a smart appointment solution can further improve not just staff and citizen experiences, but also operational efficiency.
A smart appointment solution helps you automate appointments, including the reservation, sending out reminders, and also regulating the appointment slots with the consideration of resource distribution and availability.
Enable remote waiting with Mobile Ticket
Allowing citizens to wait somewhere else, while keeping them informed with real-time updates on their Mobile Ticket can transform their experience. Not only they can choose to wait somewhere more comfortable (or run an errand while waiting), this will also allow you to minimize wait times and reduce crowds in the waiting area.
Keep citizens updated
Waiting can feel a lot longer when there are uncertainties. Make sure you keep citizens regularly informed so they know what to expect and prepare accordingly.
Apart from the on-site display, you can also automate messages to be sent to the waiting citizens, for example, to inform that they're next in line, or if there's a disruption or delay in the services.
Get the right data to improve your operations
How do you know what areas to improve, where you should put more resources on, and what business decisions you should take?
Business intelligence and analytics tools can give you an insight into your operations. Real-time dashboards, average wait time and transaction time, staff performance, and historical insights, for example, are among many things that you can look into to start working on improving services for citizens.
Asking Citizens to Meet Them Halfway
Tools and information are only as useful as the level to which they’re engaged. Citizens have a role to play in improving the experience. Around the country, DMVs are using their web and mobile sites to allow citizens to schedule applications, download and/or submit required forms, and to list the documents and payments that will be necessary to complete their transactions. They’re even providing study materials to lower the chances that a driver will have to re-take an exam.
Wasted time and effort are frustrating for citizens and expensive for government agencies like the DMV. By working together, agencies, their staff, and their citizens can put technology and information to good use to improve the citizen journey for all.
If you'd like to learn more about how technology can help improve your citizen experience and how to manage citizen journeys efficiently in DMV offices, download our guide below.