Garner, N.C. — In a recent customer satisfaction survey conducted by the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles, the agency ranked slightly ahead of the Internal Revenue Service.
The DMV hopes a number of upgrades rolled out in recent months will improve that rating, and Commissioner Kelly Thomas updated lawmakers on Friday about the changes. Every office now accepts credit and debit cards, he said, and some include cameras at every station and kiosks that can handle everything available online.
"Our goal is to continue to improve the customer service to you, for it to be a professional service and for you to spend as little time in the office as you need to," Thomas said.
Already, more than 200,000 people have renewed their driver's licenses online since the agency launched that initiative last summer.
"If you can go online, go online. If not, you can come in here and not have to sit for hours and hours and hours like you used to," said Kiffany Hagins, who renewed her commercial driver's license at the Garner DMV office on Friday.
The state is also rolling out mobile offices, packing DMV services into SUVs in order to reach more customers.
"It is a soup-to-nuts review of changes to DMV," Thomas said.
Still, the upgrades don't erase other problems, such as phone wait times. Thomas conceded to lawmakers that DMV had 400,000 abandoned calls last year because customers gave up on the wait.
"I was one of those 400,000," Thomas admitted.
The agency plans to shift employees to try to improve the call wait times
DMV fee increases that went into effect at the start of 2016 also have caused headaches for many December car purchasers. Various dealers say there was confusion on when the new fees would apply. Thomas blamed outdated computer systems for the problem.
"Right now, it's a lot of overtime, a lot of work on our employees," he said of figuring out the fees.