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Scott McKain

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Surrendering to bad service — or why I LOVE the BMV

At a recent dinner, several friends who are top professionals were talking about the worst customer experience they’ve had recently.  For almost all of them, it revolved around their respective state’s Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

While long waits were at the top of their lists, perhaps you can imagine the litany of other offenses that were cited: untrained staff, getting the “run around” without quality answers, needless paperwork and more.

However, I stopped the conversation cold with this remark, “I LOVE the Indiana BMV!”

How long have YOU had to wait on something at the BMV in your state?

  • In Indiana, the average wait time is about eight minutes.  At the branch I go to, it’s never been half of that.
  • Going to the BMV in Indiana is about as easy as going to Starbucks!

I wish my doctors were as prompt as my license branch!

Somewhere along the line, customers in other states started shrugging their shoulders and saying, “Well…what do you expect? It’s the BMV!”

  • In other words, we started accepting inferior service — and were rewarded with exactly what we anticipated.

license branchMy home state did it differently.  It was decided there was no excuse for poor customer service.  It enabled citizens to check wait times online before departing to the branch.  It forcefully enforced that the customer experience was the primary goal for all.

It now has a customer service satisfaction rating of about 96%.

Indiana’s BMV handles more than 13 million transactions annually. They register 7.2 million vehicles and 4.6 million drivers’ records each year. About 4 million people visit a BMV branch in any given year, and the agency’s web site handles almost 5 million visits annually.

Let me repeat that — 96% of the customers at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles in Indiana rate themselves as satisfied or higher!

Don’t tell me that you can’t improve YOUR customer service!  

If the BMV can make that experience relatively painless — what is your excuse?

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More Stories By Scott McKain

Scott McKain is a business leader, bestselling author, and Hall of Fame professional speaker.
Scott's latest book, "The Collapse of Distinction: Stand Out and Move Up While Your Competition Fails" reached the #1 spot on list of Customer Service Bestsellers! He is the author of two #1 additional business bestsellers ( & 800-CEO-READ): "What Customers REALLY Want" (currently available in trade paperback) and "ALL Business is Show Business."
He is the Co-founder and Principal of The Value Added Institute, a think-tank that examines the role of the customer experience in creating significant advances in the level of client loyalty, and has appeared on multiple occasions as a commentator and analyst on FOX News Channel. His platform presentations have run the gamut from the White House lawn with the President in the audience carried live on CNN and NBC's "Today" a remote outpost near the Amazon...all 50 states, seven Canadian provinces...and from Singapore to Sweden...Mexico to Morocco.
An inductee into the Professional Speakers Hall of Fame, he is also a member of "Speakers Roundtable" -- an elite, invitation-only group of twenty of the world's top business speakers.