Meathman's Diary: Customers come first? Not really

You can't hear the postman drive up anymore. Ollie arrives by stealth now in his new, nippy, noiseless electric van, a silent (whistling) assassin in Hi Viz, gliding in to deliver bills for me and packages from Shein for the girls. These two do more Chinese takeaway than the Oriental Palace in Navan. Anyway, the first inclination of 'You've Got Mail' is when it hits the mat inside the door and one morning this week, the thud was a bit heavier than normal. They had arrived! Nice one Ollie.

Two shiny new passports for two girls whose faces have changed considerably since their first baby passports issued a decade previously. Waiting for them to come through (just over a fortnight) was an anxious enough exercise given the 300,000,000 million (badly estimated) applications currently drowning Molesworth St in Dublin.

The Diary had poured over the online application process ensuring everything was correct before hitting send and posting off the supporting documentation and hoping there wouldn't be a problem. You’re praying an issue won't arise with the renewal process that will necessitate the involvement of.... a human.

Such is the demand for passports currently, staff are unable, or won’t, answer calls or attend the web chat service on the website leaving applicants with many easily resolved issues left in limbo.

In the first six months of this year, it's understood the service has already issued the same amount of passports issued in the whole of 2021.

Given the sheer demand for passports with people anxious to get away in the aftermath of Covid and overseas travel now hitting peak season, it's understandable to a point that the passport office is swamped, but just like the queue débâcle at Dublin Airport recently, one has to ask, where is the contingency, the planning? We were like penned sheep for two years, what did they think was going to happen?

This is a question you can pose to so many 'customer-facing industries' where they fail to face the customer. Where is the back-up plan?

If your insurance/broadband/phone network/bin provider's customer help line opens with 'We are experiencing a higher than normal call volume...' every time you call, than guess what?, that is their new normal and they need to allocate resources to that. If they have a 'higher than normal call volume, than they must be achieving a modicum of success with those calls coming in and therefore need to devote more humans to answer their bloody phones to the rest of us.

Hearing that opening line every time you dial is in fact a statement that: 'We don't value your custom, your call is not important to us at all and we couldn't give a flying fiddlers about your concerns and jog on please and see our website where your sure to find the answer to every question bar the one you're phoning us about, thank you."

Thank a god the passports arrived...need to get away.