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The Department of Motor Vehicles, Research Paper Example

Pages: 1

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Research Paper

Abstract

The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is one of the most used and despised agency in government. Although thousands flock to the DMV to obtain licensure and government identification, many despise the idea of having to use the agency’s services. While D.C. is not exempt from such hatred, the DMV in the district has an impeccable data collection system that has the potential to change customer attitudes. The DMV in Washington D.C. uses communication and transparency to accomplish its goal of a better experience for the customer.

Data collection is the process of obtaining and implementing useful information that improves the key quality characteristics of a business. A company’s quality characteristics can be anything from rapid response time to proficient equipment. When considering the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), the most valuable services that the agency offers are vehicle registration, identification and license issuance, and title of ownership transfers. Although many have ridiculed the DMV in Washington D.C. for its impersonalized customer service and confusing procedures, the agency is working to improve its reputation through the data collection process. In particular, the DMV in Washington D.C. relies heavily on the feedback loop to improve customer service.

The Feedback Loop

The feedback loop is a “continuous process starting with data collection and continuing through use of data to make and implement responsive decisions” (McCord 2002). As businesses collect information from customers, the material is synthesized and used to make the key characteristic better. An individual who voices discontent with produce in a grocery store begins the feedback process. Completion of the loop is dependent on the store’s ability to accept such information and refine practices accordingly. Whereas implementing ways to provide fresh produce completes the loop, maintaining the same procedures that initially led to displeasure breaks the cycle.

While sometimes viewed as lengthy, there are only eight components associated with the feedback loop. At the beginning of the process is information collection. There are essentially two ways to collect data from customers. Businesses can either retrieve information formally through surveys and feedback cards, or companies can go the informal way of gathering facts through daily interaction. Whereas formal collection is straightforward, informal gathering requires special analysis and attention to detail. Supervisors and department heads are usually charged with collecting informal facts by observing employee’s interaction with customers, co-workers, and officials.

After collecting raw data, companies consolidate information to transform it into useful information. Consolidation includes everything from discussing observations in a staff meeting to applying statistics to survey results. Companies cannot proceed to the analysis and reporting components until information consolidation is conducted.

When reporting information, businesses seek to describe the complaint and analysis conducted. If a customer complains of slow delivery times and an analysis proves him or her correct, such information will be mentioned in the report. In addition to description, the report also serves as a guide for implementation. Whereas some write-ups regurgitate the problem and offer a solution, feedback reports offer staff a pathway of resolution. Thorough reporting typically leads to excellent decision-making, whereas vague write-ups usually lead to ineffective choices. Executives cannot delegate employees for implementation if the decision-making component is weak, and the component cannot be strong if proper care was not given to prior steps. In such sense every component, with the exception of data collection, is dependent on the prior process for success.

While each step is vital for the next process, communication is key for the entire loop. In fact, communication between client and business is vital in the feedback process, even after the company has implemented new practices in response to complaints. Although the corporation has taken into account and acted in an effort to please its patrons, it will not know of its success or failure unless the client again voices his or her opinion during the pilot testing process. There are eight components of the loop, but communication is primary because it serves as the pathway to improvement. The feedback loop loses all ability when the relationship between customer and business is not clarified through interaction.

The Feedback Loop and DMV, D.C.

Although other components of the feedback process are deemed inefficient by some residents, the District of Columbia Department of Motor Vehicles has an excellent data collection system. The agency offers several ways to contact department heads, and provides customers the opportunity to inform the mayor of satisfaction. While it is proper to go through the respective chain of commands when complimenting or complaining, the DMV offers a clear pathway to the mayor’s desk through a link from its website.

In addition to communicating with the mayor, customers can also complete online surveys and ask specific questions through the feedback link. Administered online, surveys asks a various queries that aim to grasp the customer’s overall experience. Questions such as “How satisfied were you with the professionalism of the servicing agency?” or “How satisfied were you with the response provided/action taken?” are meant to gauge the customer‘s content or distaste for the employees demeanor and handling of the situation. Whereas professional constituents with excellent personalities will receive high ratings, individuals with poor attitudes and little experience may receive criticism (http://http://surveys.dc.gov/se.ashx?s=3A9D115C7DD84066). Although surveys are great tools, they sometimes overlook small details that are important to clients.

Since surveys are generally used to gather information for statistical purposes, comments or questions pertaining to vehicle registration mat be overlooked by analysts. The feedback form allows individuals to give unadulterated opinions about their experience. Pure responses, in turn, allow the agency to conduct a better analysis and render an efficient report. The DMV in D.C. also gives customers the opportunity to make service requests online and inform the webmaster of site usability.

Compare and Contrast

When compared to other states, the District of Columbia seems to be more advanced in feedback than some motor vehicle agencies. Although some agencies implement feedback at a more rapid pace than D.C., many departments do not have an advanced data collection system that is user-friendly. California, for instance, does not feature a feedback page but rather encourages individuals to report technical difficulties and customer satisfaction on its “Contact Us” page (http://dmv.ca.gov/contacts/contacts.htm). Although Texas and Florida offer a customer service survey, they also do not designate a specialized place for feedback. New York is the worst of the bunch, forcing customers to call a telephone number or mail in comments to a specified address. While calling and mailing may have been effective means of communication in the past, such methods are no longer sufficient ways to collect data. Aside from having a feedback page featured on the home page, D.C. allows DMV patrons to comment on experiences over the Internet; a tactic that adds rapidity and convenience to the process.

Although D.C. is ahead of competitors in the feedback process, the system is not exclusive to the DMV. Such lack of specialization be the key factor that leads to a slower response time since suggestions must go through various chains before reaching the department. Under the current system, it is possible for a customer to voice a complaint in August and not see improvement until December. In some respects, it is worse to have outdated data collection procedures and rapid responsiveness, then to have an advanced feedback system with slow implementation.

Conclusion

The District of Columbia has an advanced feedback system that allows individuals to easily voice their concerns. The system, however, serves several agencies within government which causes response times and implementation of new techniques to be slower than the average company. When considering the feedback loop in lieu of the Department of Motor Vehicles in D.C., it is evident that the agency does not struggle to obtain data. The department does, however, have difficulty implementing suggestions given by customers.

Bibliography

California Department of Motor Vehicles (2011). http://dmv.ca.gov/contacts/contacts.htm.

District of Columbia Customer Satisfaction Survey (11/15/2011). http://surveys.dc.gov/se.ashx?s=3A9D115C7DD84066.

McCord, Michael J (2002). The Feedback Loop: A Process for Enhancing Responsiveness to Clients. MicroSave: Nairobi, Kenya.

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