Marketing Public Services

May 4th, 2007   •   3 comments   •   Author: Walter Lim   

Came across this interesting post by Seth Godin on his experience in applying for a VISA at the Indian Consulate. Totally agree with Godin that little touches like this make a world of difference to the way people perceive a country before they travel there for whatever purposes. I guess this is why in branding and marketing, every single customer touchpoint matter, right from the start (warm welcome) of the experience till the end (fond farewell).

“..Many of the chairs are broken, leaving sharp steel platforms on which to crouch. And there aren’t enough chairs, broken or not. The signs are confusing, the two clerks are protected by a sheet of glass a full inch thick (which is twice the thickness of a typical bank’s) and the little machine that dispenses deli-style tickets is broken.

Fixing the consulate would be easy. I’d start by putting in phone lines to a call center in India and making it easy for anyone waiting to get questions answered by a helpful person with plenty of time to invest in the conversation. I’d buy some comfortable chairs. I’d invite airlines and hotels to have brochures or even better, a booking agent right there in the waiting area. I’d hire seven more clerks. And I’d definitely lose the glass.

The more important issue is this: this is a business. They take in more than $20,000 a day in fees, but even more important, the way they market themselves has a direct and important impact on travel decisions. No visa, no trip. Big hassle, no trip. Given that every single person traveling to this vast country must deal with the consulate first, think of the leverage… Just a small influence on the quantity or quality of travel to India would be huge.”


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  1. posted on May 07, 2007 at 4:03 AM

    Not only that, i think it also reflects the image of the country.

  2. posted on May 07, 2007 at 9:50 AM

    Thanks zee. Its part of the whole thinking about brands and how every customer touchpoint matters. This is why many countries put great emphasis on how their airports are like since that’s the first contact which travellers have with the country. Of course, looking at the embassies is another key area.

  3. posted on May 07, 2007 at 2:03 PM

    Hmm.. i think SG did a very good job in this area. I learnt to appreciate Changi Airport the more i travel!!

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