There is a feeling familiar to millions of NSW drivers: part dread, part resignation, part resolve.
It comes around every year (or three or five), prompted by the bouncer at your local watering hole, or a friendly reminder from the Roads and Maritime Service.
“Dear Sir/Madam, your licence is about to expire …”
So begins the timeworn race against the clock: find a day, find a registry, take a ticket, fill out your paperwork, smile — no don’t smile — CLICK, and it’s over. Until next time.
Today, a new day has dawned: the NSW Government announced that, for the first time in NSW, driver’s licences can be renewed online.
This year, instead of visiting a Service NSW centre, hundreds of thousands of licence holders can open up the Service NSW web or mobile site and renew at the click of a button.
They can do it at home, at work, in the middle of the day, in the middle of the night — when and where it suits them.
Of course, if they’d prefer to visit a Service NSW centre, they still can. And because we value safety over convenience, some drivers will need to go on renewing their licence in person if they need to complete a health and safety test (like an eyesight or Older Driver assessment), or if they hold a restricted licence or are concession holders.
But these days that’s not so bad either, because if you renew your licence in one of our 60 (and counting) Service NSW Centres, you can expect (on average) to be in and out in under 20 minutes.
Better still, you can plan ahead and check store waiting times online, to keep any waiting to a minimum.
This is what government service looks like in NSW today: convenient, flexible, and with options that people actually want.
That includes digital options, and today’s launch means the two most popular Service NSW transactions (the other being car registration renewals) can now be done online.
And digital services are increasingly what people are choosing. In fact since we launched Service NSW in 2013, the number of online transactions has doubled every year, with around 12 million digital transactions completed through Service NSW in just the last 12 months.
We are offering more digital transactions because, no matter how good our in-person services may be, transacting with government is not something you do for fun, and if convenient digital options are a possibility, this Government is determined to deliver them.
Despite what the inevitable naysayers may say, this isn’t a case of “On the other end of the smartphone app, no one can hear you scream.”
Because not only do we have a 24/7 phone contact centre ready and waiting to talk you through a transaction should you need assistance, we also have staff in-store offering “digital assisted service” — helping you navigate hundreds of digital government transactions to save you time and hassle.
And we continue to drive a culture of customer service excellence throughout our one-stop shop network, because we know there will always be a need for exceptional face-to-face service.
I am confident we are succeeding in our mission to improve government service in NSW, but don’t just take my word for it: as I write, the average customer satisfaction rating for Service NSW interactions is 97 per cent.
People are being shocked daily at just how far NSW Government service has come in the last few years.
In fact just recently, Joanne McCarthy at the Newcastle Herald wrote how Service NSW had “in one fell swoop … ended my state’s proud history of motor registries modelled on Soviet-era gulag toilet blocks”.
It’s a funny line, but it rings true, and that’s a testament to the people making it happen: the Service NSW team.
From the in-store concierges to the customer service representatives taking your calls 24/7, these are the people who are putting a radical new, can-do service culture into practice.
It is thanks to their fantastic work that, when someone visits a Service NSW centre for the first time, the most common reaction I hear is astonishment at how the staff were so helpful and the process so quick — that a government service could really be that good.
So whether you’re renewing your licence online, calling the 24/7 phone contact centre, or popping into Service NSW, rest assured: this Government is not resting on its laurels.
We will keep listening, and keep breaking new ground in the services we deliver, to make life easier for you, the people we are here to serve.
Read the article in The Australian Business Review here