Designing & delivering better customer experiences
The Customer Experience Company is a leading consultancy which specialises in guiding organisations through large scale transformations. Operating for more than 15 years, we have a dynamic team of experienced practitioners in design-thinking, empathetic research, strategy, tech-advisory, culture-change and digital transformation. Our core skills enable us to impact organisations (by challenging, inspiring and driving change) to help people thrive in a complex and changing world.
Service NSW, Integrity Life, Sydney Water, Transurban, NSW Government, New Zealand Inland Revenue, Transport for Victoria, HCF.
We designed a better experience for NSW citizens and equipped SNSW employees to deliver a better standard of service
Service NSW was tasked with transformational service delivery for Government services across all channels. In the retail channel, its Service Centres enable customers to coordinate thousands of different Government transactions in one location.
The model requires customers to 'check-in’ by transaction type upon entering a Service Centre to receive service. The challenge is maintaining simplicity – making it quick and easy to select and ticket for the reasons for visiting, enabling appointments and driving high participation in customer feedback linked to analytics.
CEC led a design and implementation project which started with collaboratively identifying business requirements with the working group to capture the intentions of Service NSW as a business. Iteration of prototype was extensively used to gather stakeholder and customer feedback.
Using an agile methodology, CEC then co-designed, built, tested and deployed the solution across four software releases with numerous sprints.
CEC undertook extensive customer research to identify the interface design for a greater than 90% success rate for customers accurately and quickly selecting their transaction(s). CEC developed a mobile concierge solution comprising of a tablet application with eight tabs and enabled with mobile ticket printing, live queue management to minimise the customer waiting time.
CEC produced a range of deliverables including conceptual solution design, detailed solution design, test plan and test cases, support documentation, training documentation, mobile training kit (enabling the ability to train up to 20 people anywhere with an internet connection), development roadmap with prioritised recommendations for implementation years 1 and 2.
We partnered with a life insurance startup and helped them build a business model from scratch – based on real customer needs
Integrity was established as a new business with the sole intention to differentiate from competitors and disrupt the life insurance industry in Australia. They sought to understand their ecosystem in order to deliver a completely new and 21st century experience to their customers. They wanted to build a company that would fundamentally change the way the life insurance operates. With no legacy systems or ways of working, CEC were able to work with Integrity to design a company from the ground-up with the customer at the heart.
We identified a need for Customer Value Propositions as well as a dedicated transformation and growth partner that could help them uncover customer need and embed this into the core of the system and the culture.
Putting customers at the core is at the heart of the integrity vision. Not designing on intuition or experience, but through real customer feedback. Using the Customer Value Proposition methodology, this allowed us to bring the experience to life through real customer feedback. The research unearthed pains and workarounds that people with more than 20 years experience didn't know existed. Research began by understanding the customers (adviser and consumers) and then allowed the working group to better understand how the current market was satisfying their needs.
Using the customer insight and where the different types of opportunity were we worked with the team to develop concepts that aligned to the product strategy that was determined in the customer research and market analysis.
Designed unique customer value propositions and developed concepts which were turned into products that allowed a conversation to happen. The creation of physical objects allows a dialogue to occur. It frames the context for a conversation and allowed advisers to articulate what types of solutions they would find what type of value in so the essence of these solutions could be used across the appropriate part of the journey. We were able to design for digital, human and everything in between. Not focussing purely on one channel meant we could build processes that gave continuity to the experience for insurance advisors – and the end customer.
Integrity Life received a Good Design Award 2019 in Digital Design for their Customer Centric Insurance Platform. Dr. Brandon Gien, CEO of Good Design Australia, said it best "it represents the hard work and dedication towards an innovative outcome that will ultimately improve our quality of life".
New Zealand Inland Revenue (NZIR) is the government department responsible for collecting 80% of government revenue across New Zealand. In 2013 they set their aspirations high, aiming to be a leader in debt collection as a part of the vision to improve the socio-economic situation of all New Zealanders.
We conducted an ethnographic ‘research safari' across seven sites in New Zealand to observe customer interactions and the Collections culture first-hand. We used Contextual Inquiry to gather insight from customers, internal stakeholders and staff to produce a holistic view of the current culture.
These insights and other key concepts were shared through a series of accelerator workshops. Participants from a broad cross-section of sites and teams collaborated to produce design prototypes for practical ways to embed the cultural vision within their day-to-day working environment. The workshops were designed both to gather input into cultural artefacts and to equip participants with the tools and messages to carry the initiative out to the remaining staff.
Using our diagnostic framework, we delivered an insights report detailing five key areas of improvement within the organisation. Developing a deep understanding of the current state of NZIR culture from an internal and external perspective guided the next steps on their journey toward customer centricity.
The insights gathered and workshops enabled us to develop a customer-centric vision of what it is like to work in the collections department at NZIR. We extended the concept using co-design methods to give everyone in team collections (753 people) the opportunity to contribute. We co-designed with team leaders, giving them the tools to engage their teams on the journey. The activities and collateral produced in conjunction with the workshop created positive internal momentum around the project; with an ongoing ripple effect through all of Collections.
In one year, employee engagement rose from 3.87/5 to 4.27/5 and the rate of return for old debt collection increased by $62 million.
The HCF Member Portal project was a significant part of HCF’s journey to become a more customer-centric organisation and uplift their digital experience for its members. Their primary objective was to deliver an improved digital experience to help members self serve when managing their cover and to bridge the gap with competitors. To ensure this experience met customer expectations, HCF engaged CEC to apply a customer centric lens on the experience. By testing the proposed solution with customers prior to implementation, we were able to input insights from customer testing to inform us of the most desirable experience.
We used a number of methods including understanding users’ mental models, qualitative research and prototypes to help explore a mixture of concepts with customers. This enabled us to fully understand the ‘why’ behind what customers expected from their interactions with a health insurer, and how best to support them to achieve their goals.
User flows were initially developed through collaborative workshops with key HCF stakeholders to analyse and prioritise requirements. This allowed us to understand the business needs and technical feasibility of the design concepts, and to push the boundaries on how the experience could be improved. For customer testing, we used high-fidelity clickable prototypes to gain contextual and functional insights throughout the experience. Research participants were asked to complete tasks like make a claim, or update their details. We observed their actions, probed underlying expectations, and unpicked their choices. This enabled us to breakdown the barriers between HCF and their customers.
HCF launched the MVP of the Online Member Services platform in July 2019, and the mobile application in September 2019. Since the launch of both applications, HCF are monitoring feedback from members and capturing insights to inform future improvements, and continuously working to add new features to meet customers’ needs.
HCF have become ambassadors for a user centric process and have a strong belief in the power of engaging with their customers, and the value of customer testing.
A disruptive customer-centric transformation for Transurban
Transurban’s markets were ripe for reinvention, with opportunities to consolidate a leading position and deliver business benefits through a superior customer experience. The approach taken was to demonstrate tangible business benefits by aligning and focusing on three strategic objectives; enhancing reputation through customer experience, reducing cost to serve and driving revenue.
In this thirteen week project that covered discovery, customer insights, co-creation, prototype and test, The Customer Experience Company (CEC) team started out by fundamentally understanding the needs and behaviours of road users.
The research led to a set of customer personas, deep insights and customer value propositions. The persona and customer insights from the discovery phase formed the foundation in which a collection of concepts were conceived through several co-creation workshops.
These concepts were rapidly prototyped and iteratively refined through rigorous customer testing and then brought to life through three service blueprints. The service blueprints delivered on the three strategic objectives and were underpinned by a set of experience and design principles that provides a framework and guidance for the development of future initiatives and concepts.
Development of a roadmap to help Transurban improve their current service by eliminating major pain points.
Prioritised customer experience initiatives and concepts that were presented to the Board for endorsement and funding.
A customer experience playbook which is used during onboarding for new employees and as reference for customer experience decisions.
In 13 weeks, we helped Transurban prioritise their focus on business initiatives that improved the bottom line through better customer experiences.
Sydney Water is Australia's largest water and wastewater provider, providing safe drinking water to almost 5 million people across Sydney, the Blue Mountains and the Illawarra. By 2020, Sydney Water’s goal is to transform itself from an asset focused to a customer-centric organisation.
Underpinning this is Sydney Water’s aspiration to put customers at the heart of everything they do. As part of their customer-centric vision, Sydney Water wanted to deep dive into the Troubleshoot journey – moments customers need to intervene because their service is not working properly, or when they are impacted by Sydney Water operational activities – and design a future experience that would resolve pain points and meet customer needs, feeding the development of a new operational model.
We started by ‘looking-in’ - reviewing complaints, interviewing stakeholders, listening in on customer calls and shadowing staff in the field. We then took a ‘looking-out’ approach from the customer perspective by conducting phone interviews and site visits with customers. Our design approach was heavy on ideation, prototyping and testing. We took our research insights and developed concepts to test, iterated and re-tested with customers. Through staff workshops, we assessed the feasibility and viability of the desired future state, identifying risks, challenges and key considerations.
This research led us to uncover key moments for customers and develop insights which greatly altered the way Sydney Water considered their customers. We discovered 'customers' were not only the people who held an account with Sydney Water, but all people affected by a problem. From the person who discovered a leak, to the parent detouring around a blocked road to pick up their kids from school, many people were affected and needed a way to report, contact and recieve assistance. We also discovered the need for contact centre staff to be empowered to diagnose problems, so the right solution could be actioned straight away.
These insights, among several others, underpinned the future state we designed. In collaboration with Sydney Water, we translated each stage of the future experience into operational and data models, processes, tools and systems, skills and other capabilities and requirements.
In 2018, Transport for Victoria engaged The Customer Experience Company (CEC) to better understand the needs of travellers when it came to travelling to and from the airport.
TfV is the statutory office that overseas the coordination of all state transport systems. Their remit is to look beyond individual modes and projects to develop transport as one, within the context that Victoria is facing a period of intense growth and change - with the state's population forecast to reach 10 million by 2050.
CEC’s remit was to conduct user centred design research into the current travel experience to Melbourne Airport, across all user types and geographies.
Over the course of three weeks, we conducted research with 50 participants who represent the different user types that travel to Melbourne Airport.
We used a combination of in-depth interviews to probe deeply into users' current transport choices and perceptions, coupled with observational research which involved us travelling alongside users as they undertook their airport journeys.
This piece of work was positioned as the first part of a more comprehensive research piece as more robust data, further research and modelling are required during business case development.
Following the research, we collated a series of impactful outputs to share within the organisation.
- Decision making lenses and variables: Key factors that influence users’ journey planning and mode selections when travelling to or from the airport, to assist with travel demand modelling.
- Customer scenarios and profiles that bring the decision making factors to life, and demonstrate the ways in which users make mode choices.
- Customer journeys that document the existing transport modes that service Melbourne Airport, as well as their associated benefits and pain points.
- Airport link insights: Insights from qualitative research that summarise research participants' expectations of the proposed rail link.
- A short video that summarises the key findings.