Robert Browne is a frequent traveler to the former Soviet Union, with close to 30 years of travel experience under his belt. He’s dealt with every imaginable sort of visa challenge, frequently fueled by visa service providers that lack knowledge or ignore minor details. Browne is quick to admit when he’s in error, but also notes that others’ attitude and level of effort can make a huge difference when it comes to getting a visa efficiently.
Mr. Browne loves VisaHQ so much he says “when I landed on you guys a few years ago, I felt like I had just discovered light or oxygen or pizza for the first time.” We had the opportunity to speak to Mr. Browne about his experiences with VisaHQ and we’re thrilled to share his enthusiastic responses with you today. -Why did you initially decide to apply for a visa with VisaHQ? Originally, it was out of frustration with the three other service providers in DC. After a very unpleasant experience with the Russian Embassy, one provider admitted they messed up and said, “well, you can use another company like VisaHQ but you’ll pay more for it!”
I literally asked him where to mail my right arm as payment. I was that desperate. Nowadays, I apply for all visas and passport renewals through VisaHQ because of the ease of the process, clarity of communication, and courtesy of the team. Charge me whatever you must to provide these benefits and treat me well…..right arm included. -What do you love about the VisaHQ experience?
Your online tools are the best in the industry and truly next-generation compared to anything I’ve seen elsewhere. I assure you I have looked. I am not the smartest person in the room when I’m the only person in the room, so I need things to be simple. Your menus, drop down choices, chat option, dashboard, follow-up emails, and willingness to NOT hide behind the technology, but pick up the phone and give me a call when needed (thus my love for Lauren) makes even a person like me feel confident. Thanks to all of this, I’m able to get it right the first time.
-Tell us about your trips: where have you gone and what was the purpose? During my most recent VisaHQ experience, I renewed passport with you for the first time. My wife and four kids will soon follow. In the past, though, you have provided visas for many business/service trips. I direct an international non-profit organization that creates mentoring programs for vulnerable youth in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, Lebanon, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
Doing what we do is hard enough as is and we have to be super cost conscious, as we are working with donor dollars. Therefore, I have to work with competent, fair, trustworthy people. VisaHQ has been that from day one. In fact, if I remember correctly, one of my first interactions with Lauren on a personal level, via email, was about a credit that was due me for something I hadn’t realized I overpaid for.
She did not have to do that and I might not have ever noticed it, but for her to work to find the problem, make it right, and alert me that a credit would be stored in my account just really won my heart and my business for the future. I’ve passed you on to countless other non-profits who I liaise with, like Chick-fil-A’s Lifeshape Foundation, Allies in Youth Development, and the International Leadership Institute with the advice to, “take the visa risk off your table because the work you’re doing has enough other risks. Do this correctly now so you can do more pressing things correctly later.”
-Do you have any recommendations for other travelers going through the visa process? YES – WORK ONLY WITH VisaHQ! Even as a three-million-miler with Delta and a 30-year veteran of international travel (even to some very challenging parts of the world), it can be hard to cross all the t’s and dot all the i’s leading up to a trip. Put yourself in a position to be successful in your business, educational, volunteer, or leisure travel by letting VisaHQ’s best-in-class team handle your visa issues.
You can decide where you’ll stay and what you’ll eat, but leave the heavy lifting of visas up to those who have trained to carry that responsibility. Then, when you have friends or colleagues ask you who to use as they’re preparing for their own trips, you won’t have to hesitate a moment before saying WORK ONLY WITH VisaHQ!
Is there anything you’d like to add about the VisaHQ team?
Since early 2014, Lauren has been a treasure to work with. Tatiana has done the impossible a few times for me at the Russian Embassy (or at least corrected my mess-up so that she could do the impossible there). I appreciate many others as well, especially Yulia who bring a human side to accounting and bill collection. I almost enjoy getting invoices from her! Tell them ALL they have a 6-7, 280 lb raving fan in Atlanta, GA.