Friday, March 31

JUST IN : NIMC’s dummy lines

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You would take it for granted that every organisation dealing primarily and directly with the public, and as well professing commitment to customer care would be easily reachable by its clients through publicised contact lines. But that isn’t what you get with the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) despite that it is currently a cynosure, courtesy of ongoing registration for the National Identification Number (NIN) by members of the public and with the deadline set by government for linkage of the NIN with phone numbers by telecoms subscribers only just extended again to the end of 2021.

In posturing as an easily accessible public agency, NIMC on its web page outlined a painstaking customer care interface procedure that in reality could well be a ruse, because if you cared to explore the procedure – as of today, at least – you would hit a stone wall and won’t be near getting through to the commission with enquiries, requests and complaints as it touted. This procedure, said to be presided over by NIMC’s customer care unit, involves four channels of interface with the agency namely email, phone call, direct interface with customer care officers and the social media. But none of these channels is in practical terms available.

The commission touts a general contact line beginning with 0700 that, whenever you call in, perpetually relays a recorded message notifying you all agents are busy and you should rather send a message to 100, which is a bottomless voicemail pit to which you send messages and never get acknowledgement, much less actioned response. There are three other lines being paraded, all beginning with 0815, but calls to these lines get dropped preemptively and never connect. In pretention of keen customer responsiveness, the commission even touts an escalation path where issues not resolved at lower levels could be taken up to the Manager, Customercare and still further to the Principal Manager, but both officials’ phone lines are perpetually ‘not available’ when you call. Meanwhile, other touted contact channels are no better. Mails sent into as well as either bounce back or go into ‘God-knows-where’ because there is no automated acknowledgement pending necessary action as is customary in modern communication, and neither eventual response by the agency to issues raised.

NIMC not only boasts 24-hour service with its contact channels, it touts a response time of within 24 hours, resolution time at first level support within 24 hours, and resolution time at second level support within five working days. But try any of those channels now and you’ll get neither response nor resolution  for ever. For an agency under the new age Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, NIMC’s inaccessibility is grossly antediluvian.

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