How to identify and remove friction between a business and its customers

Detailed customer research provides a fresh, outside-in approach that identifies areas of business friction which internal teams may struggle to uncover in the normal run of their day-to-day.

In-depth market research methods get to the customer truth quickly, revealing key customer pain points and how to fix them or how to take a good experience and make it an even better one.

Participants in customer research workshop

Benefits of market research: certainty and clarity

Researching how customers interact with a business is one of the most important components of improving the customer experience because it gives access to honest consumer insights not otherwise available.

Using a range of different research tools with customers makes it possible to extract valuable information and identify with certainty the exact areas for focus and improvement.

The latest, carefully constructed customer research methods provide valuable qualitative data to draw detailed insight into customers' pain points, needs and values.

Transport worker participating in customer research gesturing to camera NSW commuter holding up an idea card about his desired improvements saying, I would catch a bus to the train station if it was clear which way I needed to go
Proto researcher shadowing Gumtree customer using the site

Discover what customers value most

Take an outside-in approach that provides clarity using rigorous qualitative customer research methods


An in-depth approach to customer research

The latest and most effective customer research methods go further and deeper than ever before. These include ethnographic research, call jacking, competitor research, customer surveys, customer interviews, user shadowing and Net Promoter Score (NPS) to name a few.

Another excellent tool is 7 Days in My Life. This is a unique market research method where customers fill out an online diary. This taps into selected customers' dreams and aspirations and it can be viewed as they fill it out... 24/7. Raw diaries data can even be reviewed too.

Proto researcher shadowing call-centre representative to improve customer service experience

Co-creation workshops

In addition to consumer market research, teams can also attend co-creation employee workshops. These give your people the power to influence and design future improvements. Involving them in the process means they are engaged and more likely to accept changes to the way they work.

During the workshops, attention is focused on those members of the team who are directly responsible for the design and delivery of an organisation's internal customer strategy. They learn to pinpoint what is important, what is less important and where to focus resources and energy for the best result, not just for external customers, but for the entire team, and ultimately, the bottom line.

Group of people participating in customer research workshop Woman filling out customer research form

Alinta Energy customer research success

Proto helped Alinta Energy uncover the unmet needs of their customers and the cost this had on their organisation. This allowed Alinta Energy to present a business case for change that stakeholders and staff could clearly understand the benefits of. With a new clear vision, Alinta Energy refocused their strategy from customer acquisition, to employee experience and customer lifetime value to transform the entire business.

Customer reviewing the booking process to provide feedback on the customer experience Endota spa employee with a happy customer

"The insights we gained from the process were surprising. We knew we had a big journey ahead, but I don't think we realised that at every single touch-point we had an opportunity to improve customer experience. I remember reading the results of the research for the first time and it was very sobering, but it gave us absolute clarity and impetus for change."

Felicity Clark, Customer Experience Manager at Alinta Energy

Discover what customers value most

Take an outside-in approach that provides clarity using rigorous qualitative customer research methods


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