Our insights informed the foundation of our clients rebrand and new customer value proposition

The Client

Challenging the status quo is never an easy task, but the financial sector is filled with stories of those who have taken on the establishment and won. The difficulty is normally overcoming a disparity in resources, which means spending smart, not spending large.

CUA , recently rebranded as Great Southern Bank , is Australia’s largest credit union, and they have been serving the needs of its members for 75 years.

In 2022, they had around 20,000 members and $7 billion in assets. But despite their size, they were still considered a minor player in the home loan market.

The major banks controlled over 80% of the market, and CUA knew that they needed to do something different if they wanted to compete. They came to Proto for help.

Overview page of key insights Need states stack artefact

The Challenge

What makes a customer choose one home loan provider over another? That was the question CUA needed to be answered if they were going to increase their market share.

The home loan market is a competitive one, and the major banks have a lot of resources at their disposal. They can offer lower interest rates, longer terms, and bigger loans.

CUA didn’t have the same kind of financial resources, but it did have something else – a strong commitment to its members. They wanted to create a home loan product that would be tailored to the needs of their members, and Proto was tasked with helping them do just that.

Great Southern bank ideal journey artefact

We design customer experiences where everybody wins

Buying a house, for most people, is a singularly stressful event. It’s also a huge financial decision – one that can have long-lasting ramifications. Proto was brought in to help CUA create a home loan experience that would be as stress-free and straightforward as possible.

The reality is that CUA, and other banks, already offer a functional and practical home loan to their customers. However, there were certain key areas of opportunity that we identified that could make the process much simpler, more streamlined and less stressful for customers.

If your customer is lost as to how you add value, you've lost your customer

The first opportunity was in the area of customer research. We spoke to a number of CUA’s members, to get a sense of what they were looking for in a home loan. We then looked at the entire process, from start to finish, and identified areas where we could streamline and simplify things.

The end result was a set of customer journeys and detailed design specifications that CUA used to create an improved home loan experience for its members.

Imagine a world storyboard from CVP

Study, simplify, support

While designing the perfect customer journey would ensure a stress-free loan process for customers, there was still the matter of attracting and keeping their attention.

The home loan market experiences a high rate of churn, which means customers are frequently switching providers in search of a better deal. Our research showed that this was because customers did not perceive any particular value in loyalty to one provider.

This was a key insight that informed our strategy for CUA. We needed to find a way to make the brand stand out in a highly commoditised market and create value that would make customers want to stay.

The solution we arrived at was to focus on three key areas: simplifying the loan process, providing expert support, and making it easy for customers to compare products.

Removing the barriers between what is and what is possible

In order to stand out from the crowd, we needed to show people that CUA could help them realise their home ownership dreams and help them overcome their worries.

Our task was to show people that these worries were normal and that CUA could help them overcome them.

However, a one size fits all approach is never the best way, so we worked with CUA to implement customer segmentation, which would help us to create content that was more relatable and useful for each different type of customer.

By splitting customers into Set and Forget, Support Seeker, and Future Minded segments, we were able to create targeted content that helped address each group's specific concerns.

This level of personalised support provided CUA with a significant competitive advantage, and ultimately helped them to connect with their customers on a much deeper level.

Great Southern Bank pyramid prioritisation artefact

Every day we work with you, we find new ways to innovate

Changing the status quo is never easy, but the good news is that there are thousands of potential and existing customers out there who are only too happy to tell you how they want to be treated.

Personalisation is the key to success in the modern business world, and we can help you to achieve it. Get in touch today to find out more about our services and how Proto can help your business to prosper.

Prioritised solutions artefact

Understand your Customers and Grow your business.

Let us help you identify the most important thing about your customers that will unlock your company’s growth.


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