Friday 21 August 2015

Disappointment at the Pakistani Consulate New Office in Birmingham at The Wharf

Over the years, we have come across several stories regarding the poor level of customer service provided by the Pakistani consulate across various cities of UK. Here is a recent example of the poor level of service provided in Birmingham (August 21st, 2015):
I had to collect a passport for a family member and was told by the Pakistani consulate to collect it from their new Birmingham office, located at The Wharf (Bridge Street, B1 2JS). I was also given a document which had a collection time (2-3pm) and date on it.
Fully aware of the the lack of efficiency of the consulate, I decided to double check, to make sure that it was indeed the new office I had to collect the passport from, rather than the old one (Hockley, Birmingham).
My cousin went to the consulate a few weeks ago and was told that from Monday 17th August, all services would be shifted to the new office. I also noticed that a few Facebook friends had shared photos of the inauguration of the new office which took place last week.
I prayed Jumma and rushed out of the mosque and made it to the new office for 2pm because that was the collection time. As I was parking my car, I noticed a school friend who I hadn't seen in years (a major coincidence that his office was next to the new consulate and he happened to be returning from his break).
After a brief catchup, my friend explained that many people have been knocking the doors of the new consulate this week but there is no member of staff around. In fact, the consulate didn't even put a notice up. People were knocking on my friend's door to ask why the consulate was closed, so he decided to put up a notice explaining that the consulate is not open and people should go to the Hockley building instead.
If I didn't bump into a friend, I would have been waiting for an hour or so, thinking they might be running late after Jumma. Many others will have wasted a lot more time than me this week.
Now, the point is why on earth can't they give us a number which they actually answer and why couldn't they have the courtesy to stick up a notice themselves? Or perhaps even have a member of staff at the office to inform people? They clearly told us not to go to the old office and made it clear that we need to go to the new office from 17th August onwards.
There was no communication whatsoever from them, explaining that customers still had to go to the old office despite being told to go to the new one. They have our contact numbers and e-mail addresses in the Nadra database.
So I did go to the Hockley building and was relieved to finally get the passport. I complained to the member of staff who said that the seniors assumed everything could be shifted in a week but it wasn't possible and so on (they have an excuse for everything). But they knew about the move months ago. You do experience problems when moving offices but the fact that you can't be bothered to inform your customers who pay you for your services, is ridiculous.
I have had many other miserable experiences and head aches with the consulate as have many others no doubt. This is just one story which highlights the appalling level of customer service provided. I have heard many other stories which are much more shocking but I thought I'd share this with you all nevertheless.
The introduction of an online booking system is a move in the right direction but it seems that the lack of efficiency and poor quality service will continue overall. I'm glad I didn't have to go to London twice as I did last time but there is still a long way to go if they want to put an end to all this frustration and head ache that one has to put up with when it comes to ID cards and passports. Even when you take all the documents they request, they will ask for some irrelevant document which they won't even look at, just to be awkward.
The world has moved on and organisations are run with efficiency and focus on customer needs, but sadly we are having to put up with the worst level of customer service possible. This is what we get for loving our country and supporting it in every way possible.

Sunday 16 August 2015

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