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Better Than 30

Benson: Appointments achieve promise but more work to do

LANSING – Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson today announced that by making appointments available statewide she has achieved her promise to get Michiganders in and out of Secretary of State offices in 30 minutes or less, but that her administration must and will do much more work to improve the customer experience overall.
“When I ran for this office, I committed to offering appointments statewide to guarantee we could get anyone in and out of a branch office in less than 30 minutes. I am proud that pledge is now in place and any Michigander who plans ahead can do business at a branch office in under 30 minutes.” Benson said. “That does not mean our job is done. We have a lot more work to do. We have severe structural problems and inefficiencies that were decades in the making, and I am committed to implementing long-term solutions to streamline and modernize our services.”  
Benson took office in January 2019, after 46 percent of branch offices had been closed since the 1980s (when there were 242 offices), and 40 percent of branch positions had been cut since 2001 (from 1,418 to 848). Much of the department’s technology was out of date or broken, and data-tracking methods were insufficient and inaccurate. Wait times were among the data not tracked effectively, but even the inaccurate data showed wait times were increasing quickly over the last several years.
Customers with appointments do not wait in line at all. They are asked to arrive a few minutes before their appointment time and will be called to complete their transactions. Customers can make an appointment online at or by calling 888-SOS-MICH. Regardless of where customers live, they can schedule an appointment at any office in the state, and it is recommended they look at multiple branches in locations convenient for them, and do so far in advance of when they want to visit. Appointments are available 180 days out, and customers don’t need their renewal mailing to book them.
In the first months of 2020, the department will begin offering same-day appointments, as well as continuing to install new and improved self-service kiosks statewide. Additional technology improvements are underway, as is a simplification of the department’s renewal mailings.
“In addition, a lot of the traffic in our branch offices is unnecessary. We estimate that 50 percent of the residents who come into a branch office don’t need to at all, and could instead conduct their business by mail, online, or at a self-service station,” Benson said. “Part of our work in the coming year will be educating Michiganders on their options so they can make informed decisions about how to renew their plates and licenses, or get a Real ID.”

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Improving the customer experience

Challenge: A department in distress

Current numbers

  • 131 branch offices
  • 850 branch office staff

Systemic fails

  • 46% branch closures (1980s - 2009)
  • 40% branch staff positions cut (since 2001)
  • Training cut (2006)
  • Archaic technology; poor data tracking

2019 key milestones - Getting to 30

Appointment system replaced and expanded statewide. (43 to 131 offices)

  • 500,000 no-wait appointments scheduled, up 35% from 2018
  • 30-minute guarantee achieved
  • Appointments are available 180 days out and can be made
    • Online at
    • By calling 888-SOS-MICH (888-767-6424)

Launched new, user-friendly self-service stations

  • Replacement of 93 unreliable, hard-to-use kiosks underway (early 2020 completion)
  • 41 new self-service stations already deployed; 32,655 transactions completed; average transaction time: two minutes
  • Multiple languages: English, Spanish and Arabic (coming soon)
  • All new self-service stations accept American Express and many of the new self-service stations accept cash

2020 priorities - Better Than 30

  • Launch same-day appointments
  • Add 60% more self-service stations (150 total) at many Kroger and Meijer locations
  • Simplify renewal mailings; provide prompts for easiest options to complete transactions
  • Restructure Secretary of State website to make doing business with us easier for customers
  • Continue to encourage customers to use self-service options such as