Design For Delight – My Recent Experience With Passport Renewal

Passport renewal

It wouldn’t be a sweeping statement to say that most people squirm at the thought of having to do any paperwork related to interacting with government officials in India. The sheer drudgery of it makes most people avoid it to the extent possible. I wasn’t any different! and when a trip abroad surfaced with just a few months left for my passport to expire, the very thought of having to undergo the process of renewing my passport would make me have nightmares.

A dear friend pointed me to their official website describing how the process was fairly digital now and there was no looking back. Well yes the website had a lot to be desired in terms of its user experience and ui, but the sheer ability to digitally prepare, upload documents and book an appointment was a gift!

What would have been a series of visits to get all the right documents in place just took a few hours in total with the help of the website. I was still however dreading the physical visit/interview I would have to make to get the passport renewed .

Finally d-day had come and I had mentally prepared to sacrifice the entire length of the day for this dreaded task. We decided to go hours ahead of our appointment anticipating the chaos of such places, but much to our bewilderment everything seemed calm and organised. The renewal experience was nothing like we had imagined, the entire experience was designed keeping the customer in mind and not on the whims and fancies of a few baneful bureaucratic officers sitting behind their desks.

Coming ahead of time didn’t mean we had to senselessly wait till our appointment time arrived, we were given token numbers and immediately ushered into the lounge to await the call for our token. But it was so efficient that we didn’t have to even wait a minute at the lounge and began the process immediately.

The space was designed in a calculated way where each person behind a desk took care of a particular class of tasks and upon your token being called, they warmly greeted you instantly finished their part of the job and moved you along to the next task and token call.

The entire process took no longer than fifteen minutes! I could have never imagined it to be so efficient and what was delightful was that as I finished the last step and before i even got out of the room I had received a sms confirming the approval of my renewal request and another one to inform me that my passport printing was underway.

I was intimated through sms about every step in the journey – from the printing completion to it being dispatched. I think the biggest delight factor for me was that what I thought would take hours and weeks for the passport to be in my hand reached me in 3 days! I am now their biggest believer – oh what a bit of customer focus supported by technology can do to make a dreaded experience a truly simple and great one! This is what design thinking is all about to me, crafting experiences around customers and bringing in delightful factors along the way. Here is what I can vouch for, I’m sure it didn’t take much resources for the passport office to make that change in the experience that it provided just a shift in mindset.

 

-Alisha Raghavan

Principal Designer

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