After six weeks on the job and a pledge of zero tolerance for long waits, discourteous behavior, untidiness and carelessness, Registrar Daniel A. Grabauskas has begun to tackle some of the Registry woes by increasing staff at the windows, extending branch hours and cleaning up dilapidated branch offices. Today, Grabauskas unveiled the details of an initial overhaul at the Registry of Motor Vehicles and its branches throughout the state.
"I have spent my first few weeks figuring out how to fix our biggest problems within existing resources," said Registrar Grabauskas. "After an intensive evaluation of the Registry operation, I am prepared to report back to Governor Cellucci, Lt. Governor Swift, the Legislature and the Public Safety Committee on changes to date. I believe these initial changes prove that we are headed in the right direction and that any additional funding would be an investment in a top notch organization. They will not be throwing good money after bad."
The Registry has consistently been criticized for long waits and unfriendly service. To address these issues the Registrar has begun to:
Streamline branch procedures and shift staff resulting in the equivalent of 60 full- time staff, or a 24% increase in personnel for direct customer service;
Assign "greeters" who will direct customers to the appropriate windows and assist with forms, paperwork, and inquiries at the 29 full-service branches; and
Take branch managers out of their offices and move them in front of the windows to act as problem resolution specialists, in addition to their other duties.
A number of the Registry branches were in disrepair, including peeling paint, tattered carpets, trash and clutter. The Registrar has:
Ordered a facilities overhaul, including fresh paint or wallpaper, intensive cleaning, new carpets or flooring and constant upkeep of trash removal;
Improved signage in the branches to better assist customers;
Worked with the Massachusetts Highway Department to ensure adequate locator signage in communities housing Registry branches; and
Instructed branch managers to move all forms, pamphlets and other collateral materials to the front of the branch to be distributed by the greeters. No customer will have to wait in line for a form or booklet.
A survey of hundreds of customer satisfaction cards revealed that consumers are not aware of their ability to transact with the Registry via the phone, the mail or the Internet. The Registry will:
- Revamp all collateral materials, including the Drivers Manual, brochures, and form letters;
- Improve our automated telephone messaging system;
- Promote the Registry website on all correspondence and collateral materials; and
- Appoint an Ombudsman to assist customers with difficult problems.
To increase accessibility and convenience for Registry customers in the upcoming months, the Registrar will:
- Re-open the Haverhill branch at City Hall, with expanded services, staffing and hours of operation in December 1999;
- Extend all branch hours. Full service branches will now open at 8:30 a.m (instead of 9:00 a.m.) and license express branches will open at 9:00 a.m (instead of 10 a.m.);
- Expand services for Insurance Agents and "runners"; and
- Explore options to restore service to the Falmouth, Southbridge, Gardner and Milford areas.
There is currently $6.5 million allocated for a new computer system pending in a Transportation bond bill filed earlier this year. In the final supplemental budget, Governor Cellucci filed $5 million for a new phone system at the Registry which is pending before the Legislature.
"Eight out of 10 people who try to call the Registry get a busy signal because our phone system receives 10,000 calls each day but can only physically handle 5,000," added Grabauskas. "Our customer service representatives are working on green screen computers that are as old as the kids coming in for learner's permits. Millions of people interact with the Registry each year -- not by choice -- but because it is required by law. While there is still much to do, we have made some substantial improvements in just a few short weeks, and once the budget is passed, we hope to continue this momentum."