August 2014

Perspectives on customer service from a jurisdiction, a vendor and the customers themselves


Customer-focused philosophy

Customer service is important to the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TxDMV) because we were designed for just that purpose. The Texas Legislature created our agency in 2009 to provide motor vehicle customers with an agency focused on the customer’s needs. Whether the customer is a member of the motoring public, a dealership selling a vehicle or a motor carrier moving goods across the state, each facet of the agency is designed with the customer in mind.

It starts at the top with a clear vision and mission that give the TxDMV staff a clear path to follow. With a vision [statement] like ours, “The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles sets the standard as the premier provider of customer service in the nation,” we are focused on making the right decisions at the right time to live up to the bar we set for ourselves. As the state with the most highway miles in the country and one of the top three fastest growing states in the nation, we have a lot of roads and bridges to repair and build, and more people traveling them every day. The 23 million vehicles we register, nearly 7 million titles we issue, 30,000 motor vehicle and salvage dealers we license, 17 million license plates we distribute and nearly 800,000 commercial motor carrier permits we issue yearly all generate revenue to maintain our transportation system and bring with it customers to serve.

With a customer-focused philosophy, we have been redesigning, reengineering and rethinking ourselves. From our legacy Registration and Titling System to our website, we are making improvements and enhancing our service wherever the customer touches us. Even though our outdated call center technology is in the process of being replaced, customer care representatives focus on creating a quality customer service experience for each and every customer. In fact, customer compliments are up 1,400 percent.

Our motor carriers don’t need to wait over three hours to receive a permit; now they are able to get on the road within 26 minutes. And Texas motor vehicle dealers have experienced a boost in their customer service, too. We found there were many barriers in place inhibiting dealers from getting a license. Once removed, the processing time improved from 34 days to just 10.

Across the agency, our customers have welcomed the new ways of doing business, and we empower our staff to keep our focus forward. One customer summed it up pretty well for us: “This is by far the best customer service experience I have had with a state agency. It was so great that I would have thought I was dealing with Zappos, and those guys know how to treat customers. Your employee really outdid herself, and just when I thought I could not get any more information from her, she asked me if there was anything else she could help me with. Thank you for taking away the negative stigma from state agencies.” This is what it is all about.

Serving the Collector vehicle community

Hagerty Insurance is the worldwide leader in collector vehicle insurance. With offices in the United States, Canada and the U.K., we see where the collector market is going globally and have a strong finger on the pulse of what the market is doing. We love insuring collectable vehicles, from classic Corvettes to Model Ts and modern Ferraris.

Our customers are passionate about their collector vehicles—so much so, that their vehicles become part of the family. For some, their collector vehicle may be a family heirloom, and for others it might be a fun restoration project. Still others may have put a lot of time and effort into doing research to find just the right car. Whatever the case, our customers are well educated about collectable cars and find themselves within this niche community.

We share our customers with the AAMVA membership jurisdictions, whether they are a U.S. jurisdiction or a Canadian province. Being in the business of insuring these vehicles, we need to know exactly what the vehicle is, just like the DMVs. The Hagerty Institute has built and patented a VIN decoder for classic cars to make our jobs simpler. This decoder works for cars that don’t have a modern day 17-digit VIN number—those that were manufactured prior to 1981.

We realized we’re sitting on top of a gold mine of classic car data, so we joined the AAMVA community. We want to help our clients enjoy this hobby, and they need to go to jurisdictions to register and title vehicles. We want to make that process easier for them. There are a number of VIN decoding providers out there, and they do an excellent job for vehicles made after 1981. However, they tend to only sporadically work with older cars.

Additionally, there’s a lot of slang out there to describe classic cars that can be confusing. For example, a Pontiac GTO oftentimes is referred to as a Pontiac Goat. We need to be able to drill down through the slang that’s part of the culture within the collector vehicle community and identify the exact car.

Our pre-1981 VIN decoder is a very easy solution to that problem. It provides a “résumé” for classic cars. Jurisdictions can benefit from our expertise and make it easier for all of the front-line staff to talk about classic cars, generate the proper paperwork and manage the process.