Transforming into a customer-centric organisation
M Storey, A Nair, J Isben, R Davies, D Kernahan
Publication Date (Web): 15 June 2016

To inform and support Sydney Water’s transformation to a customer-centric organisation, a Customer Experience (Cx) Design program of work was initiated. The first phase of this program was recently completed and the key results are presented.

The key objective of the program was to provide the organisation with a truly ‘outside-in’ view of the business and identify what customer needs and ‘moments of truth’ were. A human-centred design/design thinking approach was employed through an iterative process of empathy, definition, ideation, testing and prototyping.

An extensive customer research program was initiated to gain empathy with the customer. This included methods such as online surveys, interviews with customers and staff, listening to customer phone calls at the contact centre as well as observational studies in the customers’ environment.

The ‘define’ stage synthesised the rich information gathered from the customer research to identify the problem or opportunity by sharing customers’ real concerns, issues, needs and emotional drivers. The artefacts produced included a Customer Journey Map, Customer Experience Pyramid and Customer Service Principles.

Through the Customer Journey Map we were able to visualise the end-to-end view of a customer’s journey to help better understand and empathise with their current experience and expectations, and identify key touch-points and pain points across their daily interaction with our business.

A Customer Experience Pyramid identified the three key elements of delivering a great customer experience. Starting with meeting a customer’s basic needs, being easy to deal with, and making customers’ lives better. Eight customer service principles were also identified across four key themes: what customers need; what the services must offer; how the organisation must deliver it; and how customers want to feel.

The ‘ideation’ phase included co-creation workshops with staff and customer groups to come up with ideas that would address unmet customer needs or fix pain-points. These workshops provided staff with an opportunity to immerse themselves in customer research and see why customers felt the way they did. Ideas validated with the customer were integrated into the ideal customer journey or ‘Ideal Flow’. The Ideal Flow proposes an ideal state across the six customer journey phases identified in the Customer Journey Map.

Prototyping and testing were undertaken with conceptual models to validate whether the proposed solution met customer expectations. Feedback gained from the customers helped in reworking ideas where appropriate. This gave us the confidence that ideas being proposed were addressing customer needs.

The Customer Experience Design program of work has for the first time provided an outside-in and enterprise-wide view of the customer journey when dealing with Sydney Water. It provides rich customer insight, which is both a critical input into a program for transforming the customer experience, and foundational for building the culture and capability necessary to create a sustained change in the business.
The first phase of the Customer Experience Design project has laid the foundations for a five-year transformation program. Deep-dive analysis of the six customer journey touch-points identified in this phase has commenced and will continue to provide the business a steady flow of customer improvement opportunities.


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