April 17, 2012
It’s Possible! A User-Friendly Clerk’s Office Unveils New Website, City Sticker Process and Mobile Initiative
Sticker Unveiled at Press Conference Uses Technology to Provide Interactive Experience and Dramatic Cost-Saving Improvements to Purchasing Process.
Less than a year since taking office, City Clerk Susana A. Mendoza is drastically changing the City Vehicle Sticker purchase process and providing new benefits with the stickers. The 2012 – 2013 City Vehicle Sticker, honoring Chicago’s police, fire and paramedic personnel, will be on sale earlier than ever before, is easier to purchase, and provides interactive features beneficial to all Chicago motorists.
“Last year I took office the day we started selling City Vehicle Stickers. After visiting sale dates in all 50 wards and talking to thousands of Chicagoans, I saw so many areas for improvement,” said Clerk Mendoza. “Immediately following last year’s sales, my staff did a deep-dive into the sales process. We threw out the old ways of selling City Vehicle Stickers and I challenged them to think and do things differently. We met with our front line staff to learn what they are hearing from customers on a daily basis. Our goal with all these changes was to improve the purchase experience for motorists, work more efficiently and better protect taxpayer dollars.”
City Vehicle Sticker Sales Period
Traditionally the sale of nearly 1.3 million City Vehicle Stickers is crammed into a 6 week sales period, from June 1 – July 15. The condensed sales period resulted in considerable overtime costs and an inconvenience to Chicago motorists who can experience long lines and mail delays.
This year, City Vehicle Stickers will go on sale online starting April 23, three weeks earlier than last year. In-person sales at city offices and more than 400 community vendor partners begins May 1, a full month earlier than last year. In addition, renewal forms will be mailed in late April, allowing an additional month for motorists to place their order via mail.
Interactive City Vehicle Sticker
Besides improving the sales process for City Vehicle Stickers, Clerk Mendoza has made driving in Chicago easier with this year’s vehicle sticker. Using the increasingly popular quick response code (QR code) technology, motorists can access a variety of helpful services for Chicago drivers by simply scanning the back of their City Vehicle Stickers. The QR code takes drivers to a brand new mobile landing page, v.chicityclerk.com, where they can: look up street cleaning schedules, determine if they are in a residential parking zone, buy daily residential guest parking permits, report a pothole, find a parking spot, find their Alderman’s contact information, pay a parking ticket, register their dog and contact the City Clerk’s Office.
The mobile service provides an interactive experience for Chicago drivers and will eventually be part of the Office’s overall mobile web strategy. It also is the first step towards showing potential City Vehicle Sticker sponsors the popularity and demand for this helpful information. The page will be updated with useful seasonal information for Chicago drivers, like festival street closures, snow removal parking bans, and more.
Last year, 232,926 City Vehicle Stickers were sold online, generating more than $18.2 million in revenue. Although online sales have steadily increased over the years, there was still significant room for improvement.
A new City Vehicle Sticker and Daily Residential Parking Permit purchase website application was created using entirely in-house resources at no additional cost to taxpayers. The website, dubbed EZ Buy, is more intuitive, with step-by-step instructions to minimize purchase confusion. It also allows for the purchase of multiple City Vehicle Stickers in one transaction. In addition, this year motorists can enter to win prizes such as restaurant and theatre gift certificates, hotel stays, and sports memorabilia when purchasing their City Vehicle Stickers online. All prizes were donated to the City. There is no additional fee to purchase online.
Clerk Mendoza implemented and tested a Will Call program during the final two weeks of City Vehicle Sticker sales last year. The popular program is being expanded this year to include online sales and last the full duration of City Vehicle Sticker sales. The online Will Call pick up option was created after hearing concerns from residents that they didn’t order their sticker online because of unreliable mail delivery. Now, when people order their stickers online, they can choose to have them mailed to their home or pick them up at one of three City Clerk office locations in 5 business days at a dedicated Will Call window, similar to picking up tickets to a game or concert.
In addition, motorists can drop off their sticker order with check or money order at the City Clerk City Hall Office, located at 121 N. LaSalle Street. Those orders will be ready for pick up in 5 business days at a dedicated pick up window in the City Hall Office.
One of the greatest improvements in City Vehicle Stickers will be seen for those who place their orders by mail. Motorists who receive a renewal form have the option of mailing in their City Vehicle Sticker order. Last year, more than 119,000 City Vehicle Sticker orders were manually sorted by sticker type before processing of the orders even began. This was a tedious process that cost nearly $30,000 in overtime. It could literally take up to 6 weeks before orders were even processed. This year under Clerk Mendoza, instead of manually sorting all orders, sticker orders will be processed as they are received using processing technology and better staffing allocation. Ultimately, the goal is to shorten the processing time for a sticker order, create worker performance metrics for better accountability and reduce overtime costs.
In addition to launching a new City Vehicle Sticker purchase website application, EZ Buy, the entire City Clerk website was redesigned. Visitors to chicityclerk.com will find a more streamlined website with easier navigation and expanded Clerk services and program information. The site links directly to EZ Buy where Chicagoans can purchase their City Vehicle Stickers, Residential Daily Parking Permits and Dog Registrations. It also connects with the Legislative Information Center where Chicagoans can access all City Council legislation and Aldermanic contact information in a transparent, easy to use website. The website redesign was done entirely in-house at no additional cost to taxpayers.
“As City Clerk, it is my duty to improve and create a more efficient office for Chicago taxpayers. For the last year I have worked diligently to revamp a program that impacts nearly half of all Chicagoans. It is my hope that the dramatic changes that we’ve implemented in our processes, our web strategy and to our interactive city vehicle sticker this year will provide greater benefit and useful information to Chicagoans,” said Clerk Mendoza.
The cost of a passenger City Vehicle Sticker is $85 and larger passenger City Vehicle Stickers are $135. Senior citizens, age 65 and older, are eligible to receive one sticker for $30. Annual Residential Zone Parking is $25 and Daily Residential Parking Permits are $8 for 15 permits. To purchase a City Vehicle Sticker, residents must bring their driver’s license or renewal form and know their vehicle license plate number. In addition, this year’s City Vehicle Stickers contain the vehicle make and model as another security feature.