New Technology To Help Save Time with Driver’s License, Vehicle Tab Renewals
The wait for service inside the Hennepin County Service Center in Maple Grove wasn’t too unreasonable on Tuesday morning. Many waited to see associates who could help with driver’s licenses, vehicle plate renewals and other related questions.
“During the pandemic, it was a tough time, there were a lot of constraints we had to conform to, and coming out of that, we’re trying to make adjustments,” said Joseph Heider, regional manager with Hennepin County Service Centers. “Obviously we haven’t perfected that, but there are certain things we’ve done as of recent to try to make it a little easier.”
One of those is offering more appointments. Heider said right now the Maple Grove appointments are booked about two weeks out, but nearby locations like Brooklyn Park are only about a day or so booked out.
“If you have that appointment, you’re guaranteed that time slot and we try to call you up to the counter as soon as we can around that time frame,” said Heider.
According to Hennepin County officials, the county’s seven service centers completed more than 500,000 transactions in 2022, up nearly 15 percent from the year before, which was more severely impacted by COVID restrictions. The county also answered nearly 60,000 phone calls, nearly 7,000 emails and performed more than 7,000 online chats with customers with questions.
“A lot of people come (to service centers) with basic questions that could be answered by a bot or on the phone,” said Heider.
One feature the state will soon unveil is self-service kiosks located at many spots. Right now, there are only two available: one in South St. Paul and one in Rochester. Anoka County officials recently announced that the kiosks will be located in some Cub Foods locations.
Heider and other Hennepin County officials say the vendor has been selected by the state, though many details need to be worked out to provide more kiosks. The same vendor has supplied kiosks in other states.
“When they come out to begin with, they’re going to start with the very basic transactions,” said Heider. “Tab renewal, plates, things like that. The basic transactions will be handled at these kiosks, and from what I see it can do a fairly good job at that.”