Putnam County BMV top ranked

Friday, July 25, 2008
The Putnam County Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) received excellent ratings for Customer Service from a recent survey.

Thousands of Bureau of Motor Vehicle customers have rated their experience at BMV branches as either excellent, above average or satisfactory. The Putnam County BMV ranks in the top 97 percent for customer service.

While the Bureau has been maligned in the past for its many problems, the Putnam County Bureau has maintained a high standard of service to its customers.

Most people who spend time in the local BMV have excellent things to say about the service and staff who work there.

"Every time I have ever been in there the staff is always smiling and helpful. It makes what I thought would be a painful experience really pleasant," said Andy Rollins who recently renewed his driver's license.

Across the state, the average wait times declined in 2006 to less than nine minutes now and state officials are saying the agency has turned a corner.

This is partly due to new options for motorists, including appointments available at many branches, enhanced online services and 176 non-branch locations where at least some services are offered.

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels called it the "turnaround of a century," during a recent town hall style meeting with about 300 BMV employees.

It was during this meeting that Daniels also announced the BMV won the 2008 Customer Service Excellence Award from the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators. The award is presented to the state agency with the most improved quality, convenience and accessibility of motor vehicle services.

Prior to 2005 the BMV had a reputation for low morale, long waits and scandal. Efforts to improve the agency drew criticism particularly when 20 license branches were closed.

Credit for the turnaround goes to Joel Silverman who was appointed by Daniels to take over the broken agency in 2005.

Top officials were replaced, a dress code was implemented and training for staff was intensified along with the closure of the 20 branches.

A year later the conversion to a new computer system caused more headaches as long lines developed, police were unable to access accurate driver records and county taxes were not distributed on time.

The public outcry was loud enough that Silverman later resigned but before he did--he began surveying the agency's customers.

When Silverman took over the agency morale was low, computer systems out of date, old record-keeping methods were still in use and the department was still reeling from a scam that included bogus visas and passports being used to acquire Indiana licenses.

Silverman put together a questionnaire that asked those coming into branches to rate staff friendliness, their ability to provide service and to rate their visit overall.

By 2006 the overall service was satisfactory or above at 84 percent. In 2007 it rose to 97 percent, dropped significantly during a time of computer problems and eventually rose back to its current 97 percent rating.

Part of the satisfaction, says current BMV Commissioner Ron Stiver, is the department's Web site. Customers can check current wait times at branches and receive a discount for renewing registrations online. They can set up accounts to conduct numerous transactions without ever entering the branch.

Putnam County residents speak in glowing terms of their branch located in Greencastle.

"The people here are always so nice and helpful. I don't mind coming in here at all anymore," said local resident Lucy Givens.

"I lived in Indianapolis for years before coming to this area. I hated going to the license branch. People were short and rude. But, I've never had anything but a good experience here," she added.

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  • Kudos to our local branch, we have lived in the area the past 14 years. Each time we make our visit to the BMV is pleasant, courteous, and professional. Very little wait. Most of the time they are waiting for me to come rather that me waiting for them to call my name or number. Great job to a bunch of fantastic personnel.

    -- Posted by bearcat on Fri, Jul 25, 2008, at 7:24 AM
  • They are better then Spencer-Owen but could improve in my opinion!

    -- Posted by Sportfan on Fri, Jul 25, 2008, at 7:52 AM
  • I too have nothing bad to say. They are friendly and informative. I missed placed my licence and I would need them to vote, the employee told me my two options and then helped me in a fast professional manner. You go lady's, keep up the great job.

    -- Posted by mad-mom on Fri, Jul 25, 2008, at 9:27 AM
  • My last visit was 12 minutes...2 plates and a license renewal. I remember a few years back when a simple transaction sometimes took 2 hours. Governor Daniels deserves credit for this

    -- Posted by tenspeed1984 on Fri, Jul 25, 2008, at 9:54 AM
  • I've always experienced great customer-service at the Putnam County BMV - for 20 years - I've never experienced any problems there. Those employed are friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful. Congradulations & Hats off to the staff !!!!!

    I wish I could say the same for Spencer-Owen (shudder). I don't know why - but it's like the staff walk on egg-shells at that branch ..... there's a thick, stressful atmosphere there .... I only go there if I absolutely have to.

    -- Posted by Scripted Spontaneity on Fri, Jul 25, 2008, at 10:01 AM
  • They are the most pleasant, courteous, and professional group of people and I have had a great experience every time I have gone there!! They are the BEST!! Most States could learn from this example on how a BMV should work. Great Job!!

    -- Posted by Afghan Contractor on Fri, Jul 25, 2008, at 9:06 PM
  • nice seeing a bunch of positive comments for a greencastle business.

    i too have had nothing but good experiences in our branch. the ladys are always polite, smiling and usually having fun, it seems. i never dred going in there like i did the old one. rarely have i ever even had to wait to get to the counter. that is great!!!!!

    they do there job so well that one time i went in for a new license and had no id. i know almost every lady in there and they know me. they said it was against policy to give me a new id without 3 items stating who i was. so i had no choice but to go get those papers. this was all after 9/11.

    so hats off to the ladys making greencastle happy...

    -- Posted by badboy46120 on Sat, Jul 26, 2008, at 7:42 AM
  • Totally agree with all the positive comments for this great group of professionals. I was in the Greencastle location in Late May when all the Driver Education students from across the county were getting their permits. I was impressed how efficiently they completed all the transactions. I think my wait time was 2 minutes. Generally you are able to walk right in and get served. A great tribute to the workers at our local BMV!!!

    I also believe that a lot of the credit also needs to rely with the officials in Indy who have made the tough decisions to move to different software, offering more training, and closing locations. Let's bring Mitch back for four more years and see what other positive changes can be brought about.

    -- Posted by IndianaTrue on Wed, Jul 30, 2008, at 10:40 PM
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