Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Emirates ID

A few months ago, I registered online for an Emirates ID appointment...which is supposedly sometime in August..And I was bracing myself for a disastrous, chaotic experience. Given the experience some people went through to get it, and given the government's complete incompetency in communicating the right information to the population, I was ready to spend a few days running around, trying to get all the papers I needed and waiting long hours for my turn to come up.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, we got an email from our company's HR director telling us that an EIDA office was set up in Media City (Du building) and that there was no need for an appointment or anything of the sort.

So I filled up the online form, printed it out, and headed out the next day to submit my application. It took all of 20 minutes! There were 2 people ahead of me, and when my turn came around, all I had to do was show a passport/residency visa copy, the form I had filled out, a copy of my Media City ID. I paid, and was told to show up the next day for the fingerprinting procedure.

My appointment was at 9AM and I was there at 9 sharp and quickly got ushered into the fingerprinting room. That process took 15 minutes and they asked for my original passport and the receipt and initial application form. I was asked questions (such as what my last degree was and from which school, my mother's name, my religion, my address...), and got all 10 fingers scanned several times (my whole hand, and the side of my hand was scanned too!), and I was on my way back to the office.

My ID is supposed to arrive within the next 10 days.

My sister, on the other hand, had to get hers done in Abu Dhabi because her residence visa is under my father's name, and her ordeal was much more complicated. She managed to do the whole thing in one day, but had to be shuffled around from one office to the other for about 3 hours, and had to deal with some really rude attendants. At one point, she was "forgotten", as it was lunchtime, and all fingerprinting machines were shut down. She caused a small scene and was finally fingerprinted after about 3 and a half hours of waiting.

A few questions must be asked (not sure who will answer them, but still...):
1) Why is the service not consistent across all EIDA outlets?
2) Why can't the Media City system be adopted across the country?
3) Why was a simple process (such as the Media City one) not established from the very beginning, to avoid the drama and chaos that so many people went through?

Anyway...I'm just glad I got this over and done with. Not sure what will happen to my August appointment...I wouldn't even know where to cancel it!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Etisalat, Blackberry, and the whole fiasco...

The news over the past 10 days has been about Etisalat's Blackberry patch fiasco that has drained the batteries of many BB users. And to add insult to injury, it turns out that the patch is not really a "sofware update patch", as originally claimed by Etisalat...it was, in fact, a spyware patch that gave Etisalat access to BB users' email and messenger information (which should have technically been secure).

Now, the fact that Etisalat is trying to "spy" on its users is disturbing to begin with, but what's even more disturbing is Etisalat's ridiculous response to the whole fiasco. If ever there was a PR case study made out of this, it would be to showcase how NOT to handle a crisis situation.

Newspapers, the blogosphere, Twitter, word of mouth...EVERYONE was talking about this, but how did Etisalat choose to respond? By avoiding the situation. By not releasing a statement until a few days later, downplaying the story, saying only "300 customers were affected".

In an era where dialog with the consumer, transparency and honesty are key in ensuring a brand's credibility, Etisalat has got it all wrong...really!

I was not affected by this because just a week before the patch was released, I switched my BB service to Du...Yep...Du...And in all honesty, I am very happy with their service so far.

1) The coverage is good (there was only 1 location where I had Etisalat coverage but no Du coverage at all).
2) They are MUCH cheaper than Etisalat...even their international calling rates are better.
3) Turns out that changing my number to a Du number is not so complicated after all...All it took is one email and a few messages to advise my contacts that my number has changed. I still have my Etisalat number for a couple of months, and then I plan on completely discontinuing it.

I do hope Du benefits from the whole Etisalat mess. Not because I love Du (refer to some of my previous posts), but because any company that acts in such a moronic manner NEEDS to suffer some consequences!