Modernizing the DMV Experience: Putting the Citizen in the Driver’s Seat

Modernizing the DMV Experience: Putting the Citizen in the Driver’s Seat

Mark Sarria |April 13 2022 8 min

What if I told you that the Department of Motor Vehicles is a perfect example for self-improvement? It’s human nature to try to better ourselves. We champion people who see the need for self-improvement and take the necessary steps. We all can do it. Even the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Like most government agencies, the DMV has had a reputation for being inefficient and outdated. This results in long wait times that cause frustration from customers who want answers or service quickly! But, like all of us, it can improve — and in many ways it has. The DMV is seeing the need to modernize and become a more efficient government agency whose engaged employees deliver top-notch service.

In fact, many offices are transforming by utilizing a customer journey management system to create a streamlined, pleasant experience. With the help of this technology, the DMV has become more customer-centric, improved operational efficiencies, and obtained valuable business intelligence and feedback.

Streamlining the customer experience

If we were to bottom line modernizing the DMV experience, the focus would be on customers and offering them greater control around their visit. A customer journey management solution focuses on each touchpoint of the citizen’s visit —appointment scheduling, check-in, communicating vital information and updates, service, and feedback. The customers seamlessly navigate between digital and physical spaces, gaining an elevated experience. 

Today’s DMVs handle a large volume of transactions for everything from registering titles, licensing commercial and non-commercial drivers, vehicles, and boats to compliance with the motor vehicle code. Without a process in place to efficiently manage every moving part, it is no wonder customers have complained of long waits and crowded offices. 

Reducing wait time

The first step in streamlining the customer experience is simply to reduce wait time. While that might seem too obvious, in a place like the DMV where people expect long lines, it is a two-fold challenge. It’s not only about reducing wait time, but also managing the preconceived negative assumption that there will be long lines. Whether real or perceived, wait time has a tremendous impact on the customer experience.  

Managing appointments and arrivals

The customer journey begins at the moment of engagement, so allowing them to schedule an appointment online or over the phone starts their experience by demonstrating there is a managed process focused on providing efficient service. Any preconceived notions of long waits are already being abated. The customer goes to the DMV only at their appointed time where they can check in at a kiosk that guides them to their next step. By better managing arrivals, customers are able to be served at an expected time and without seeing a large number of others waiting in limbo. 

Keeping customers informed and engaged

Because the reason for the visit has also been established during scheduling and check-in, the customer also no longer has to wait in multiple lines or bounce around to different personnel.  They are now automatically assigned to the right line with the right person from the start. Internally, this also allows the DMV to proactively plan its resources and staffing to meet the customers’ needs. 

And, yes, while there may still be some wait, the managed process creates a greater sense of confidence and fairness. The citizens now can be engaged as well as get updates through digital monitors all while remaining social distanced in an uncrowded wait area. They can also wait more remotely and get updates on their phone as well. The customers feel more in control when the DMV is communicating and managing their expectations. 

Data fuels continued improvements

When on any self-improvement journey, it is vital to know what is going well and what isn’t going so well. Agencies need feedback and data to help in the planning process as well as to improve service. Queue management solutions allow citizens to offer their opinions online where they are more likely to provide more honest and complete opinions. DMVs are using this capability to collect and analyze their services, and in turn reinforcing the positive experiences while making appropriate changes as needed.

Collecting data allows the agency to better plan for internal resources as well. The DMV can monitor and examine each touchpoint of the customer journey to optimize and streamline its processes. Additionally, the DMV can project service rushes, customer flow trends, and transaction times and respond with appropriate staffing and resources to better accommodate each insight. While these queue management insights can lift the customer experience, they also help the DMVs make more informed budget and personnel forecasts.

Citizen Satisfaction

With a proper understanding of the needs and wants of citizens, DMVs are using technology to meet those demands, illustrating how a public office can best serve its citizens satisfactorily.

By becoming customer-centric, DMVs are seeing decisive results:

  • New Mexico: By implementing customer journey management they were able to gain a 95% customer satisfaction rate and reduce their wait times by 50%.
  • Nevada: While the number of customers rose by 22%, customer journey management helped reduce wait times by 42%.

DMVs have effectively used customer journey management to create happier customers while improving internal operations. By better understanding every online, mobile, and physical interaction, the DMV has been able to dramatically drive improvements for each touchpoint from pre-arrival to post-service.

Learn more about how to manage citizen journeys efficiently in DMV offices. Download our guide below.


Download the Citizen Journey Management Guide


Mark Sarria

Mark Sarria

Product Evangelist, Senior Technical Sales Engineer

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