On April 29, 2021, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson announced the Michigan Department of State (MDOS) has entered a new service-driven era of operations that is more convenient and efficient for customers. She noted that the majority of transactions can now be carried out from home or at a grocery store, and residents who are required to visit a Secretary of State Office are typically in and out in 20 minutes.
“Michiganders can now complete most of their transactions online, by mail or at one of our new self-service stations located at their local grocery store,” Benson said. “And the remaining in-person transactions are carried out by appointment, ensuring the vast majority of customers have little to no wait time.”
More than 60 percent of transactions are already conducted outside of branch offices — up from 30 percent in 2019 — and this year more than 1 million people have already visited department offices. Benson noted that since MDOS began operating by appointment in June of last year, its ratings on Google have doubled — from two to four stars on a five-star scale — and are higher than they have ever been. Many Michiganders have asked for the department to continue operating by appointment, and Benson said their wish is coming true.
“We’re going to listen to the people on this,” said Benson. “It’s clear they do not want us to go backwards to the old way of doing things, where on any given day you could spend hours waiting for a basic transaction in any given branch office. The branch office by appointment model is working and yes, it is a new way of doing things. But it’s a better way of doing things.”
Benson acknowledged that the system still needs to be improved, as some customers find it challenging to book appointments. To help remedy that, she announced MDOS is increasing its offering of appointments by at least 10 percent, or 35,000 appointments per month, and in the coming weeks will dedicate call center staff to booking online appointments for residents with internet limitations.
Benson also announced her Service Driven Legislative Agenda, and called on legislative leaders to implement reforms that would enable customers to interact less frequently and more efficiently with the department. She called on the state Legislature to allow remote driver’s license testing, stop requiring veterans with the military equivalent of a commercial driver’s license to retrain and retest for a civilian CDL, and provide funding and authority for the department to develop innovative public-private partnerships to improve operations.
“We need lawmakers to join us as innovators in furthering a vision for the people of Michigan and pass needed reforms that will help us improve customer convenience and satisfaction,” said Benson. “That means pushing forward and implementing modern, best practices and available technology along with innovative ideas that support Michiganders in ways that work best for them.”
To access online services, locate a self-service station in your area or make a branch office appointment, visit Michigan.gov/SOS.