A customer-centric culture — the cornerstone of great business

Our customer service expectations are higher than ever before. No matter what we are buying or doing, from a morning coffee to a tax return to a new car purchase, we want personalised service and faster responses.

The good news is, there has never been more opportunity to bring these kinds of solutions to the market. Fast-moving technology has made available devices that are smarter, more responsive and more customer-centric to solve problems customers face (coffee ordering apps, online tax returns, plenty of options to customise a new car).

For a nimble start-up or an industry-disrupting entrepreneur, it's a great time to be in business. But what if you're not?

You have probably heard the term customer centricity being used more and more in relation to customer experience, but why? What does having a customer centric culture mean and why should your business set this as their customer experience goal?

Having a customer-centric design means that you place the needs of your clients at the heart of everything you do, creating an environment that is driven towards bettering their experience. This means having:

It is these steps that will help create an engaging and collaborative experience that allows you to provide a service that meets the expectations of your customers. If the expectations of your customers are met they will feel valued and show loyalty, which benefits your business in the long run.

Our customer service expectations are higher than ever before. Customers expect a fast and personalised service from everyone, even if it's just the barista serving me my morning coffee or someone at tax time helping with filing my returns!

This high standard may have some businesses sweating, but the good news is there has never been more opportunity to bring these kinds of solutions to the market. With all the new technology, it's never been easier to create a customer centric experience. The most successful businesses are those who recognise that innovation is key and will work hard at staying ahead of their competition by utilising these smarter, more responsive devices.

Happy customer making a transaction in a small boutique shop

How large organisations can embrace customer-centricity

For more conservative, traditional models of well-established businesses, these changing times can be disconcerting. And any organisation that makes the customer the centre of their world has a huge jump on the competition.

Customer experience design can be a huge part of this revolution. Market disruptors are bringing more customer-centric products and services to the market. But rather than seeing this as a threat, smart organisations will see it as their chance to do the same, to create new products with new technology that will show customers that they have been listening, and watching, and know exactly what they want.

Many large and long-established businesses have failed to invest in customer-centric programs and innovations because they are seen as expensive, full of challenges and can appear difficult to implement alongside business as usual (BAU) demands. But this customer-centric approach needn't be a separate initiative; in fact, seamlessly integrating it with BAU is imperative for businesses that wish to future proof themselves.

Making customer experience a priority, and recognising that money spent on improving customer interactions with your business can have enormous potential to reward hard work with happy (even, delighted) customers who return more often and spread the word, presents a major investment opportunity for any business.

Proto portfolio designed to build a customer-centric organisation Proto Founder presenting to employees at research workshop

Drive a customer-first culture

Future-proof your business by changing from the outside- in using customer led-experience design


A company-wide approach to customer-centricity

People can often be resistant to change, and understandably so. Change can be hard. It can disrupt the status quo and create uncertainty around what this change might affect. This rings even more true with large organisations, especially long-established companies with deeply ingrained processes, culture and traditions. The very thought of shifting to a whole new way of operating a business focused around the customer can appear a little overwhelming. Each member of the organisation would also benefit from understanding the role they play in the customers' experience.

These changes are not easy to make, but they could be the chance for a reinvention and a new lease of life for a business. Here's how it could work:

Proto Growth Driven Design methodology

Creating a customer-centric strategy for your business

The good news is, it doesn't need to be difficult. Even though there may be challenges along the way, employees can embrace a new vision that clearly shows the benefits for the customer and for themselves.

As we shift to a focus on the customer becoming a more widely acknowledged and valuable approach to driving business growth, it becomes the catalyst for investment in new customer-centric services initiatives that are long overdue, having been placed on a CX backlog that has struggled to get traction.

The key to implementing a successful customer-centric approach in a business is to ensure that your employees understand your customer strategy and consistently deliver it day-to-day. Equally important is for organisations not to see this in a negative light, but instead, as an exciting challenge and opportunity to change how they design, implement and deliver centric customer service and experience.

Book of Proto CX strategy overview page

"We worked with Proto on an exciting and unprecedented challenge to design the customer experience of the future. Proto worked hand-in-hand with us and brought in global experts to work with us to take our deliverables to another level of quality and innovation."

Dan Sunderland, Director of Customer Experience Strategy at Optus

Drive a customer-first culture

Future-proof your business by changing from the outside- in using customer led-experience design



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What is Customer-Centricity?

Customer centricity is an organisational mindset that puts the customer at the centre of the business rather than products or sales.

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Why is being Customer-Centric important?

A business model that adopts a customer-centric approach helps to achieve a positive and personalised experience for customers and encourages employees to pay attention to the customer.

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What are six capabilities to build a customer centric organisation?

Improve experience through the Voice of the Customer, Experience Design & Improvement, Customer-Centric Strategy, Customer-Centric Culture, Organisational Adoption & Accountability and Metrics, Measurement & ROI.

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What is a customer-centric culture?

Creating and nurturing culture, through behaviours, practices and standards that encourages all employees to focus on delivering outstanding customer experiences.

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How can I create a customer centric culture?

A Customer-Centric culture can be achieved through driving employee engagement and involvement, from the front lines to the executive suite, and developing and delivering ongoing CX interaction training to employees. Following, you will be able to develop communication strategies and tactics to share the importance of CX with employees, customers and the company to then collect and share stories of CX excellence at your company.

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What is the Voice of the Customer and how can it be utilised?

Voice of Customer captures and analyses customer needs, wants, perceptions and preferences to build collective insight. This can be utilised by designing and implementing Voice of Customer programs (solicited through surveys, focus groups, communities, etc.), collecting unsolicited experience feedback from customers (by mining calls, web data, emails, etc.) and gathering input from employees about customer experiences and opportunities for improvement. From this, analysing Voice of Customer feedback drawn across sources to identify customer pain points and opportunities to improve and differentiate and to finally identify and map major customer touch-points in the customer experience.

Delivering phenomenal outcomes

“Working with Proto was a leap of faith, but they have become a major strategic partner in our CX evolution. The work they've developed and the way we've been able to embed it in the organisation has been absolutely phenomenal, and we're getting the outcomes we want.”

Felicity Clark
Felicity Clark Customer Experience Manager

Creating empathy to deliver outstanding results

“Proto were a pleasure to work with. They were adaptive and responsive, and developed a deep empathy for both the client and their customers. The quality of their products and services was outstanding.”

Michael Storey
Michael Storey Manager of Customer Research and Strategy at Sydney Water

Halving your customer churn

“Without the customer experience insights from the research program, we would not have been able to identify the acquisition issues that we had. Changes to the customer interactions that led up to financial protection have reduced the outflow rates by 50%.”

Felicity Rowcliff Dean
Felicity Rowcliff Dean Customer Centred Design Manager

Take your NPS score to the next level

“From an NPS perspective, I have gone Spinal Tap on you guys and gone to 11. I still think the work you did with us, the way you went about it and the deliverables amounted to one of the best pieces of consulting advice I've ever commissioned.”

Matthew Liebmann
Matthew Liebmann Former Chief Operating Officer

Enabling customer-centric design

“Over the last 18 months, we've constantly referred to the work Proto did for us when designing and developing all the improvements to the app we're making. We've found their work to be highly valuable and has resulted in significant improvements to the MyOptus App that, without their insight wouldn't have been possible.”

Lucy Turner
Lucy Turner CX Design Launch Manager

Exceptional prototyping

“The outcome of the prototyping has been exceptional and we continue to use the knowledge and expertise that Proto shared with us during their engagement. The icing on the cake for me was that Proto captured all of the insights from the customer workshops into an organisational asset that we now use as an integral part of our toolkit for training and briefing new team members.”

Sharon Nanetti
Sharon Nanetti Optimal Care Program Director

Prioritising what matters

“Proto's in-depth customer research helped us to uncover underlying customer needs that wouldn't have been possible without an 'outside-in' approach. The team identified the core customer problems and provided actionable insights that enabled us to remove key areas of customer friction and frustration and redesign a credit card experience like no other.”

Christian Johansson
Christian Johansson Head of Marketing, Customer Finance

Achieving a 20 point increase in NPS

“I have worked with Damian and the team at Proto for several years. In this time, they have worked collaboratively with us to build a roadmap of strategic 'outside-in' initiatives that ultimately resulted in a 20 point increase in NPS. They imparted a great deal of CX knowledge, approaches and tools that have been invaluable to the team and the business.”

Amanda O'Donnell
Amanda O'Donnell Head of Customer Experience

Insight driven, customer centric ideas

“Proto revealed and captured a ton of insights, putting Gumtree in a position where we can take our experience from good to great!”

Coen Horrevoets
Coen Horrevoets Head of Product

Award-winning customer experiences

“We won the AFR Smart Investor SMILES award for Best Online Broker. This award is based on customer voting and I believe this was as a result of a clearer focus on our existing clients which you helped us to understand.”

Arni Selvarajah
Arnie Selvarajah Chief Executive Officer

Design that reduces cost to serve

“The Proto team demonstrated flexibility in their approach which made such a refreshing change. They took the time to coach and mentor each of us in a highly creative and energetic environment. Furthernore, they helped us exceed our customer satisfaction targets, all whilst stripping out in excess of 20% of our service costs in under 12 months. Proto helped us to stay focussed on the customer which enabled us to win in the market.”

Matthew Anderson
Matthew Anderson Chief Operating Officer

Service innovation at scale

“We worked with Proto on an exciting & unprecedented challenge at Optus, to design the customer experience of the future. Damian & the team had high energy & together we operated as 'one team'. Proto worked hand in hand with us to bring the internal team up to speed, & also brought in global experts to work with us to take our deliverables to another level of quality & innovation.”

Dan Sunderland
Dan Sunderland Director of Customer Experience Strategy and Planning

Actionable Customer Strategies

“Proto developed a membership strategy that addressed points of friction along our members journey, identified opportunities to improve and clarified the types of engagement that our members needed at the different stages in their career. We were impressed with the depth of insight that Proto were able to bring to the project - as well as the energy and ideas that they helped to generate.”

Sarah Thompson
Sarah Prescott-Thompson General Manager Shared Services

A partnership for CX

“Working with Proto was very much a partnership. We worked hand-in-hand to put CX on the map within the organisation. The team are flexible, trustworthy and do what it takes to achieve the best outcome. If you’re looking for a quality agency, providing quality data and insights – Proto are your guys. We received over 90 initiatives from the project of which 79% have now been implemented and we are seeing the benefits flow through!”

Customer Experience Specialist

Unique Product Innovation

“Proto integrated into multiple simultaneous projects to ensure we achieved the best outcome. They brought real clarity around customer needs, the fundamental elements of our value proposition and provided a clear roadmap of where we're trying to get to. This allowed us to differentiate beyond the traditional proposition. As a result, one customer-informed initiative we developed was loanScore™. This unique innovation helps customers see how good their home loan is and evaluate their options for a better deal.”

Anthony Justice
Anthony Jusitce CEO