When the Haitian Consulate in Chicago breaks the rule of bad customer service expected from Haitian organizations

I was in line at the Port-au-Prince airport to check in for my flight to San Francisco, and my friend asked: What’s your passport expiration date? With certainty I looked at her and said: April 2017. Then, to be sure I took passport out and to me astonishment, I found that my passport was expiring in four days.

I had a conference to be in and different speaking engagements. I was stressed, but my friend and I kept a positive attitude hoping that I would pass through Miami immigration without too many hurdles. Of course, they warned me at the Immigration in Haiti and stopped me for over five minutes at the Miami Airport although they did not mention the passport.  I passed Miami and now I was free. Free to continue with different experience through the United States…

As a responsible citizen, I got in touch with the closest Haitian Consulate, which is in Chicago, while on the plane. I explained my situation and asked for the documents needed to get a new passport. No one carries all his/her papers in a trip, right? So, I called my girlfriend who scanned them and send them to me. It took two days to get them. I headed to DigiCopy, printed them and went to have my picture taken at Walgreens. I did all that hoping that I would be able to get a new passport in 10 days.  Unfortunately when I called they told me it was impossible to get a new passport in this short period of time. So I had to re-explain the shitty situation. After five seconds silence, that seem like the world has collapsed under my feet, the guy told me:  I guess there’s something we can give you to go back. A pass valid for just one day. I agreed and mailed the required papers and fees.

Three days have gone by, still no mail, no answers. The days before my flight I went to the post office and they told me that my paper would get there in two days. So, I get in touch with the Chicago consulate. During that day, they called over seven times to figure out my situation.  By the end of the day I spoke with someone who told me they would mail me a new pass overnight through FedEx. Guess who that was? I had to ask because I am not used to this level of customer service from my fellow Haitians (shame on us).  To my big surprise that was: Lesly Condé, the consul himself.

On a cold night in Chicago, he went to FedEx to ensure that his citizen got back to his country. Before knowing it was the consul, we had already prepared a thank you card, but the situation had surpassed the level of surprise we could handle. This blog is to thank the Chicago consulate, especially the Consul himself for this high level of customer service. We spent around 30 minutes talking on the phone about Haiti, customer service and his work.

Be intentional about customer service. Let use this example to redefine customer service in our society, our banks (worst service ever), and all other businesses. When more people like Lesly Conde get into the system, the “don’t care business” will be disrupted.  In the meantime, let’s celebrate great service by making this blog viral…

Pierre Stanley Baptiste

From cooking meager meals over fires made with pine cones in Haiti to studying business in the U.S...", I teach the art of leveraging scarcity in Creole and English and speak about my experiences including recent engagement at universities. Today’s the perfect time to start building your legacy. Let’s do it together!