Don’t Be the DMV.

The DMV. I bet after just reading that, you already have a bad attitude. If the DMV was a product/consumer based business, they’d have gone out of business a long time ago. Their PR alone is a nightmare. Everyone has their own horror story about their experience with the DMV. This is my most recent encounter.

By November 30th, I have to renew my driver’s license. The last time I was at the DMV was in 2006, and I’ve savored every un-DMV moment since. But now I have to drag myself back and l will probably have another horror story to tell for the next 5 years. But so far, before even going there, they’ve already left me with a sourpuss attitude. Since it’s been so long since I’ve been there, I was doing some research to make sure I know what’s going on.

First of all, I was trying to figure out what time and day they’re open in Brookings, since I remember there being an unreasonably small window of time that you can get your license renewed. Something like, every third Tuesday on a Leap Year from 9:27 am to 9:54 am, but only during the Waxing Gibbous moon phase. So I call the Brookings courthouse, inquiring as to whom I should call since I could not find anything online. So they give me a 1-800 number to call, which takes me to a voice automated system. I can’t tell you how many times the robot encouraged me to “remember, most of your questions can be answered on our website at www, dot dps, dot sd, dot gov.” I bet you hated reading that. Could they have picked a harder url to remember? Also, yeah, I get that you’re trying to reduce the amount of phone calls at your call center, but given your reputation, I don’t trust that your website will be very easy to navigate. So I opted to speak with an actual person, and of course, all the call center representatives were busy, which says something about the DMV in it of itself. I wasn’t even given the option to hold, the robot just told me to “call back another time.” So I had no choice but to go to their website, which actually had a somewhat modern look, but as I suspected, it’s difficult to find information. I will say that I learned about what documents I have to bring, but I only stumbled across that information by clicking through links. If they want to deter phone calls, don’t you think they’d make information easier to find on their site?

At the end of all of this, I’m still left with unanswered questions. The best information that I managed to find, was on an UNOFFICIAL DMV page! It really shouldn’t be this hard to find basic information. As I mentioned at the beginning, if the DMV was a business, they would have failed a long time ago.

There are a lot of things businesses could learn from the DMV about what NOT to do. First, make yourself available to people, and don’t keep them guessing. I still don’t know when the heck they’re open. Secondly, make sure you make all of the right information easily accessible. And don’t think that a modern website design is all you need. A fancy look should come secondary to accessible information, which is one of the most important things to your customers. You only have a small window of time to draw someone in and to keep them there. Consumers can be quick to give up and to move on to a competitor who makes things easier for them. Also, you want to make sure that you appear willing to help. In this digital age, people still have not lost their desire and expectation of businesses to be willingly helpful, and that includes on the phone, and even face to face! Passing me around on the phone, encouraging me to NOT talk to you, and directing me to an information source that is no more helpful than your holding music, sends the message that you don’t want to help me, and that you want to get rid of me as soon as possible. Who would want to do business with someone like that? No consumer should have to WORK to get answers about your business. So please, don’t be the DMV.

– Andrew

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