Finweek English Edition - - BUSINESS TRENDS - DEIRDRE DU PREEZ deirdred@fin­

I CON­SIDER DEAL­ING with any Gov­ern­ment depart­ment a painful ex­er­cise. Throw in a call cen­tre and you usu­ally have a recipe for disas­ter. Af­ter fil­ing my pass­port ap­pli­ca­tion with a re­gional Home Af­fairs of­fice, I was ex­ceed­ingly ap­pre­hen­sive about deal­ing with its call cen­tre. How­ever, I chose to fol­low up sev­eral times in or­der to closely mon­i­tor the progress of my ap­pli­ca­tion.

I was pleas­antly sur­prised. The call cen­tre is avail­able from 8am to 7.30pm on week­days and is also open from 8am to 5pm on Satur­days – very con­ve­nient for some­one like me who is al­ways swamped and run­ning around like a head­less chicken. Al­though there was the cus­tom­ary voice prompt at the be­gin­ning of the call(s) I was never “on hold” for more than a minute and each of the cus­tomer ser­vices rep­re­sen­ta­tives I spoke to proved knowl­edge­able and help­ful.

Ser­vice from the team at Home Af­fairs was con­sis­tent – a qual­ity des­per­ately lack­ing in most other Gov­ern­ment call cen­tres I’ve dealt with. In short, I can hon­estly say I no longer dread phon­ing Home Af­fairs with any queries in fu­ture. Let’s hope my good ser­vice wasn’t just the luck of the draw.

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