Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Nigeria Immigration Service - living up to a name

Every now and then I rant about a topic that is close to my heart. Not that I assume anyone is listening but just because I find that blogging can be therapeutic. Sometimes.

Today's spot of bother is the Nigeria Immigration Service. As you may have noticed, customer service is a subject that is close to my heart. Whether it concerns coffee, developer support, mobile telecommunications etc.

I happened to have business at the Nigeria High Commission in London today and was not satisfied that the Nigeria Immigration Service took the Service part of their name very seriously. From the lack of information regarding the visa application process to the customer experience on the ground at the consular section of the embassy, it was a trying process.

The first thing you notice once you get to the embassy is the queues. They may be unavoidable but some effort should be made to reduce them. I personally find them dispiriting. The next issue you are confronted with is the way the front-line staff address customers. Condescending in some of the cases I witnessed. I believe the higher-ups need to take a step back and consider the benefits of friendly customer service and the fact that customers appreciate it and would sometimes pay a premium for it.

Some questions came to mind: What would the customer service be like if they had competition? Why can't there be competition? What is the complaints procedure? How would customer service be affected if front-line staff knew their bonuses depended on customer satisfaction?

The other thing I had to contend with was a lack of information access points. The website doesn't have all the information required to get an application from start to finish. On-site information from front-line staff is patchy and conflicting in some cases. The whole communication package for the service needs to be revisited, as it is missing a few tricks.

My experience entailed filling out a form online, making payment and then turning up on the day and having to fill the same form out yet again, because I didn't bring a printed copy of the online form. All this is in addition to being chided for daring to turn up without a printed copy like other good citizens. The other soul-destroying part of the saga was making the trip (and braving the queue) thrice to the post office about 5 minutes away because the service refuses to streamline its processes. Cards are permissible online but one still needs to pay some 'admin' fees in person via postal orders. Why not simplify the process for the customer so that both payments can be made online as a single transaction? Why even use postal orders in 2012?

I hope someone is listening. If not my ranting has helped restore my usually zen-like calm. Now all is well with the world.

Till the next rant...

Cobertura Goodness for Groovy code in Gradle builds

Was trying to measure code coverage on a Groovy side project and tried a number of Gradle plugins for Cobertura. Settled for this one from Val Kolovos (thanks dude :)), as it just worked out of the box.

By default it doesn't drill into Groovy files to show the line coverage on source files. To get it to do so you need to add the following convention setting in your build.gradle:

cobertura {

coverageSourceDirs = sourceSets.main.java.srcDirs + sourceSets.main.groovy.srcDirs