DMV hopes technology upgrades will improve service - and image

Posted January 8, 2016

— 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 Thomas blamed outdated computer systems for the problem.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.


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  • Theo Bishop Jan 11, 2016
    user avatar

    I would consider paying $40.00 more on a year on the tags for the car than paying for a car inspection that is ripping people off and over charging the tax payer.

  • Bob Bucy Jan 10, 2016
    user avatar

    It's never fun to go to the DMV, but I had to make a last minute trip on Dec. 31 for a CDL issue and found it much improved over my last visit. I did have to take a number and wait quite a while, but one my number came up, the DMV employee was very friendly and helpful. And the new technology is an improvement. I agree with the previous poster that we probably do have a better than average DMV.

  • bigwilliejohnson4phun Jan 9, 2016

    They are more effective and pleasant than the doctors' offices. Thanks Obama! Pus, I do appreciate being able to change the addres on my license online.

  • Jennifer Hulford Jan 8, 2016
    user avatar

    The NC DMV has a problem. It's not what you think. Their problem is that most people here have never been to the Connecticut DMV. Or they wouldn't complain about a single thing in NC. I have only lived here for 15 years but I have never waited in a line for anything except a license renewal. I have never had a single rude person. I have never waited for two hours in a line only to be told I have the wrong forms and to go fill them out and get back in line. I have never felt like I had to take a shower after leaving the NC DMV, or that my very soul had been raped.

    You have a good thing going here. Make it better if you want. But it's not like normal DMV experiences. It's way better.

  • Craig Elliott Jan 8, 2016
    user avatar

    The DMV isn't a #1 vacation destination, and, yeah, It's classic fun to bash the DMV (...any DMV) and it's contract offices but I have rarely have had a bad experience with the people there. That job requires a degree of patience I simply don't possess...