Deserved or not, if there’s anything synonymous with horrible customer service, it’s the Department of Motor Vehicles (or really any government office). People complain about interminable waiting times, poor communications and instructions, endless bureaucracy in getting the most routine tasks accomplished, and uncaring or downright rude workers. But the worst part is that society seems resigned to the notion that it won’t change, because it needn’t; there’s zero competition and there’s even less incentive for workers to go over and above.

But is there hope for improvement? And how?

The answer to the first question is yes. The DMV is under considerable pressure to improve from citizens and legislators, so there is movement afoot. The bigger question: how can motor vehicle and government offices overcome years of challenges?

By all accounts, technology is the answer. For years, government employees have been using legacy technology – such as “take-a-ticket” systems – that is woefully outdated. Replacement of these systems may be costly, but the good news is that more and more states are taking the leap. Connecticut, for example, recently shut down all of its DMV offices for several days to cut over to a new computer system and retrain its staff.

Other states are now offering more core services online – such as driver’s license and license plate renewals – in an effort to reduce the legendary wait times at DMV offices. Additionally, many states have introduced self-serve kiosks at their offices, so that people who must come to the office can do a portion of their tasks themselves before they get into a line.

Finally, several DMVs are employing new technology by QLess, which optimizes customer service flow and makes the wait much more tolerable. The technology allows citizens to check into DMV lines via mobile phone, by computer, or in person at a kiosk. Instead of waiting in line, people are free to do other things until receiving a text message with the time to return for swift service.

There will always be waiting in life, but advancements in technology certainly help reduce dawdling at the DMV.