Clocks disappear from Indiana driver's license offices

| 8/8/2005

As if getting through the line at the driver’s license office didn’t already feel like a gamble, officials in Indiana are making the dreaded Bureau of Motor Vehicles feel even more like the inside of a casino.

Just six months after Joel Silverman – a former higher-up in the retail world – took the reins as the state’s BMV Commissioner, the bureau has implemented a policy that forbids clocks at all of its 160-plus licensing branches.

“The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles has instituted a policy banning clocks from branch offices for two reasons,” BMV spokesman Greg Cook told “Land Line Now.” “One, we would like our employees at branches to customer-watch, not clock-watch. I think it’s human nature for people to look at clocks.”

But Cook said the move is aimed at customers, too.

“We are looking at moving clocks away from the branches because we want to manage the experience,” Cook said. “Part of managing the experience in visiting a branch is managing the entire experience – the customer experience – from the time the customers walk in the door until the time they leave.”

Cook said the idea came from Silverman, who is trying to put his background – which includes key positions at such retail giants as The Limited, Lane Bryant and Lerner New York – to use in the public sector as well.

“It’s really a retail philosophy,” Cook said. “If you walk into a lot of stores these days, you’ll notice that a clock is not displayed, or at least is not prominently displayed. It’s this same philosophy that Commissioner Silverman is taking from the retail sector into the public sector.”

Cook said the clock removal is not meant to deceive customers, and that an upcoming computer upgrade will help those waiting in line keep track of their wait times.

“We’ll provide them a receipt from the time they enter the branch until the time they leave the branch,” Cook said. “With the new computer system – which we hope to have online in all Indiana license branches by early fall – customers will know exactly how long they’re at the branch.”

The BMV isn’t the only place in Indiana struggling with telling time. In Elkhart County, county commissioners are refusing to decide whether they should be placed in the Central or Eastern Time Zone.

The decision was given to the counties after state lawmakers passed a statewide Daylight-saving time law in early May. Critics say the move shifts the political fallout from the move on the localities, rather than the state legislature.