Failing to Serve Customers

To serve customers in these times, most organizations need to make Appointments. Various organizations that I’ve dealt with do this in different ways:

Umpqua bank, for example, has always had a large staff of helpful folks on phone banks, so they make appointments by phone. You call them ONCE and make an appointment at your local bank. However, if you have to change an appointment, then you need to call them back and they need to Skype the local branch to change the appointment. You get email confirmations of all the changes. Ok. Not the best, but Ok. One phone call that you make.

Walmart provides a service to order and pickup your groceries. Same problem. You need to schedule an appointment to drive to the pickup and of course they need to schedule collecting the items for you to pick up.

No problem. Their website not only allows you to select the groceries you want, based on what the local store actually has in stock, but allows you to pick an hour long window on any day to stop by. No phone calls and confirmation on their website and of course the Walmart app on your phone. Excellent solution to the problem.

Cloud Solutions

There are lots of cloud providers that provide appointment services for your business:

Some of these are more targeted than others:

Seems clear that Vagaro is targeting the small business service industry with their offerings.

It looks like TimeTap has a broader offering.

How to Fail at the Problem

Oregon DMV fails at the problem. Looks like they built their own. And it’s not even one solution. After a couple of questions, you are directed to another place to finish the process.

So, after two NO choices you then get a manual link to another page. It doesn’t even just forward you there by itself. Sigh. Making you click to go to another page is completely unnecessary of course.

Fill out a form on Oregon DMV

Now you have to fill out a form to get an appointment.

Oregon DMV Confirmation Screen

And then they will “Call you back in a few days”.

There are so many things wrong with this approach, of course.

  1. What if I can’t answer the phone at the moment? I might be driving for example. Well they will call you back a couple of times, they say.
  2. What if I need to change an appointment after I made it?
  3. What happens if I walk up to the DMV, as I did. And found that there was nobody there, except the kind person sitting in the doorway with some papers – not a laptop – who said “You need to make an appointment”. But there is nobody here? If nobody is expected, can you make one now? Apparently not.

I’ve been waiting several days for my appointment callback.

So Oregon DMV, and maybe much of the Oregon Administration, has the “Not Invented Here” disease. They apparently think that if they don’t build it, it’s not correct. Rather than looking around for a solution, or even a model for a solution, they built something in a hybrid model of “Website” / “Old School” phone contacts and declared victory.

Their website page just make a “Call List” for a phone bank – I assume it’s more than one person – in Salem [Oregon Capital]. And of course, Portland, Eugene, and other large cities generate so many requests that they never get to the folks from Coos Bay or other small places in the state.

So the folks at my local DMV have nothing to do and are not empowered to take “Walk Up” appointments.

We can only hope that eventually they will purchase a solution from a cloud provider.


Update: They called 18 June and earliest appointment is 4pm on 30 June. Way to go. The phone call arrived less than a minute after I shut off the mower. I had the phone in my pocket on Ring/Vibrate, but still. Sigh.