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Behind the scenes at the DVS PIC

March 12, 2020

A Public Information Center worker viewing customer messages on her computer screens


When you email a retailer’s customer service, it’s easy to assume the reply is from some sort of bot. And with many companies and agencies, you’d be right. But not when you call or email Driver and Vehicle Services (DVS). Carrie is one of the real human beings in the Public Information Center (PIC) who answers your emails (and sometimes your phone calls), so we sat down with her to find out what that’s like.

On an average day, Carrie handles about 100 emails. That’s one every five minutes. Fortunately, it’s work she enjoys – she likes helping Minnesotans with their DVS-related questions. Some are very simple and take a lot less time than five minutes, but “Even the simplest questions are important,” Carrie says. After all, driver’s licenses and IDs are important documents, so when people call or email with concerns about them being lost or stolen, for example, Carrie can give them some peace of mind by looking up their license or ID’s current status. On days when there are a lot of people calling with questions, Carrie handles phone calls as well – that usually turns out to be 20 emails and 60 phone calls in a day.

The most common questions Carrie is getting right now have to do with people getting their licenses or REAL IDs. They often want to know when to expect their license in the mail, because processing times are longer now. Others have questions about letters they’ve received from DVS saying they need more residency documents for their REAL ID application, so Carrie walks them through the common options for documents. She’ll go as deep into the list as necessary, but ultimately, she encourages people to pre-apply online. That way they’ll have a printed list of documents to bring with them.

There are a few things Carrie would like Minnesotans to know about PIC agents. First, says Carrie, “We try to help as best we can with the information we are given.” The more information you can give the agent, the better, because they weren’t in the office with you during the transaction you may be having trouble with, but they want to help you in any way they can. In fact, “We want to help them as much as they want to get help,” says Carrie.

She also wants the public to know that “We work as fast as we can.” She keeps notes on her desktop screen with responses to common questions so that she can quickly copy, paste, and customize a response. She also uses the PIC’s system of quick note templates. The idea isn’t to give you a cookie-cutter response, but rather to take basic information and customize it to your unique issue as efficiently as possible.

Lastly, Carrie says, “The email reply you are receiving is from a person. It’s not an automated email response.” In other words, you’re hearing from a real human being, not a bot.