Anyone following the TLScontact LinkedIn page over the last few months will have noticed that we have been renovating a number of our visa application centres around the world. This is part of a logical upgrade of premises that have already been in operation for several years and that receive hundreds of visitors each day. It also translates an ambition to enhance customer experience at our centres, for the benefit of both visa applicants and the governments that we represent.
Over the past year, we have been progressively rolling out a new design for our visa application centres, as we renovate existing locations or open new ones. Centres in South East Asia, but also in Russia, the Maghreb, Sub-Saharan Africa and beyond have had a facelift and we have ambitious plans to continue this renovation programme in 2020.
A new brand for TLScontact
Our new centre design is closely linked to the new TLScontact brand and to our purpose as an organisation, which is to make international travel easy and safe for both governments and citizens. Safety and security are obviously essential to our daily business, which is handling confidential personal data for thousands of visa applicants. However, we also have a keen focus on customer experience, aiming to support applicants throughout the visa process. Our visa application centres are one of the main touchpoints for our visa customers with the TLScontact brand. As such, they need to be pleasant and welcoming, to put customers at ease and facilitate the application process.
Key aspects of our new interior design
In 2019, we started working with specialist branding and design agency Design Rendez-vous and our own in-house interior design team to develop new design guidelines for our visa centres. Taking into account new design trends and our ambition to offer an enhanced visa experience to applicants, we focused on the following areas:
1. Warmer colours
The objective was to introduce some more neutral, warmer tones such as beige and brown into the design, reducing the presence of white, which can be quite cold and clinical. These were mixed with brighter colours for the furniture and signage, in line with the new TLScontact corporate colours.
2. More wood and vegetation
Wood and imitation wood panels were added, along with vegetation. Combined with the new colour scheme, the objective was to create a warmer, more welcoming environment for visa applicants.
3. Improved acoustics and lighting
Additional acoustic panels were proposed, along with more ‘intimate’ lighting in certain areas of our centres, to put applicants more at ease and emphasise confidentiality, which is obviously essential to the visa application process.
A new premium experience for visa applicants
As we have rolled out these new design guidelines, we have paid particular attention to our premium lounges, aiming to give them a more ‘exclusive’ feel to match the personalised services that we are offering to our premium customers. In certain centres, such as Beijing, China, premium customers no longer even need to go to a counter to have their application processed. Upon arrival in the premium lounge, they can choose a seat and are joined directly by one of our agents, who registers their application. Except for biometric enrolment, the entire process can be completed at their table, while they relax and enjoy the surroundings.
Promoting our client countries
For many of our visa customers, our centres are their first point of contact with the country that they are planning to visit. As such, we aim to showcase our client countries with attractive branding and visuals, design objects and even typical food and drink, to give customers a taste of what they can hope to find once they are on their trip. This is also of importance to our government clients, who understandably expect us to ensure service excellence to their visa applicants, but also to contribute to the promotion of their country among travellers.
Positive feedback on our new design approach from both visa customers and our government clients has encouraged us pursue this strategy in 2020. Our objective as we continue to renovate our centres is to ensure that we are true ambassadors for our client countries, while also providing an enhanced customer experience for visa applicants as they start their trip.
By Lucy Saint-Antonin
Head of Communications & Marketing