Going to the DMV doesn’t exactly conjure up pleasant thoughts for many drivers. But over the last few years, DMV employees in New Hampshire have been working hard to change that perception.
It seems that all of that hard work is paying off. According to a state audit of DMV customer service, customers were “overwhelmingly satisfied with the services provided.” The audit also found that customers found wait times reasonable, and employees “were consistently viewed as knowledgeable and friendly.”
You can view the entire report here.
The DMV put numerous initiatives in place beginning in 2009, which included changes such as a new high-tech phone system and a centralized Contact Center that handles all incoming calls and emails. Also implemented were more online systems, including license renewal and ticket payment. The combination of those changes and hard work by SEA members has made a big difference.
Jeanne Hibbard-Bickford, an SEA member and steward at the DMV, said it wasn’t hard to convince staff to buy into the changes.
“I think once we knew what the big picture was and it was all explained to us, we were happy with all the positives,” she said.
Hibbard-Bickford added that her fellow staffers are very aware of the perception of the DMV, and it’s something they strive to change.
“When people think of the DMV, it’s always been in a negative light,” she said. “In other states, like Massachusetts, people remember waiting forever. We want to change that picture — we’re New Hampshire and we’re very unique.”
She said that uniqueness is what the staff members who interact directly with the public want to represent.
“For instance, when we have a line, we don’t say ‘next’ — we say, ‘how can we help you?'” Hibbard-Bickford said. “We try to individualize. We try to make it specific, not generic.”
“We really just try to give the best customer service,” she said. “I know when I’m waiting on someone, I look at them as a family member and treat them that way. If you have somebody who’s ticked off, it’s not helping anyone. It makes you miserable and them miserable.”
So while the perception of the DMV in other states might not change much, thanks to a lot of hard work, New Hampshire is on the right track.