Australia’s largest public transport project

Sydney Metro is Australia's largest public transport project currently under construction and a priority infrastructure investment for the NSW Government. When it becomes operational in 2019, it will be the first fully automated metro rail system in Australia, delivering eight new railway stations and 4,000 commuter car parking spaces to Sydney's growing Northwest population.

Sydney Metro the largest prototyping experiment

Asking the right questions

As part of their partnership with us, Sydney Metro switched to an "outside in" method of customer research to determine the answers to three fundamental questions, "who" are our customers, "what" are their needs and "how" can their needs be met.

By working with Proto to find the answer to those questions, Sydney Metro would have the tools necessary to design an integrated travel experience simple, stress-free and engaging, making Sydney Metro the customer’s first choice of travel for every journey.

Sydney Metro customers and Proto conducting customer research workshop Sydney Metro guiding customers and Proto conducting immersive research

Capturing genuine customer insights

To build a comprehensive and reliable picture of Sydney Metro's Northwest customer, we deployed a wide range of research practices, capturing the customers perspective and highlighting relevant satisfaction drivers. By undertaking methods such as customer surveys, interviews, in-depth "jobs-to-be-done" workshops, and even a seven-day online diary delving into customers emotional needs, we quickly uncovered a number of significant customer insights.

Chief among these was the inescapable fact that the journey experience for Sydney Metro customers was part of a broader transport ecosystem that would need to be considered and incorporated as a fundamental part of the delivery of the ideal customer experience.

Sydney Metro workers engaging with customers on site Sydney Metro and Proto customer research workshop
Sydney Metro employee being interviewed by Proto customer research expert

Building the ideal "door to door to door" experience

To provide Sydney Metro with the toolkit needed to build the ideal “door to door to door” experience for their customers, we distilled our research down into a compelling visual flow of the 20-touch-point ideal Metro experience.

We gained the understanding of the typical customer’s current journey by analysing similar travel experiences step-by-step, interaction by interaction, touch-point by touch-point. By stepping into travelling customers shoes, we gained a much greater understanding of how customers interacted and perceived what an ideal service would look and feel like.

Proto ideal flow -designing an easy door-to-door experience for Sydney Metro

Delivering Compelling Experiences for Sydney’s Travellers

With an emphasis on “What does easy look like?”, we highlighted a total of 40 fresh opportunities to improve the lives of Sydney Metro’s customers, providing them with mission-critical insights that would allow them to deliver their customer experience goals.

Proto customer needs prioritisation pyramid

A deep understanding of information needs

To help Sydney Metro understand what information its future customers would need for an easy customer experience as part of their door to door journey with Sydney Metro, we sought to validate assumptions made based on information from the Sydney Metro Service Model we had developed.

The objective of the research was to gain a deeper understanding of the self service information requirements of their future customers, uncovering underlying information needs at each stage of their journey. In order to validate the assumptions we undertook research groups with each of the 5 segments identified by Sydney Metro and validated each segment with what information was most important to them at the various stages of the customer journey. The final outcomes resulted in interactive heatmaps by segment.

Proto customer journey map moments of truth for Sydney Metro

Sydney Metro and Proto came together in 2016 to conduct Australia's largest prototype transport simulation at a mock-up station of the new Sydney Metro, three years ahead of launch. We created a simulation that “stress-tested” a worst-case scenario with 300 people arriving from all points at the Metro Station. To do this, using 6 cameras in multiple locations a typical afternoon peak train load exited the station at the same time as a bus-load of commuters entered. Proto then synthesised the research findings through a rigorous process where they were able to construct the results into meaningful insights, which shed light on key pain points that could occur at the Cudgegong Road Station ahead of launch. This ensured any future solutions built in the learnings ahead of construction, saving potentially millions of dollars and anxiety by commuters from 2019 onwards.

Extract from Proto’s Prototying Portfolio

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 Customer Experience Manager

Bringing a new approach and mindset


“Proto is different. They roll up their sleeves and get busy working with us to do thing we wouldn’t have been able to do ourselves. They bring a new approach and mindset to get fresh insight by using design tools and methodologies that create solutions to really get things done!”

Michael Storey Head of Customer Engagement

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 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 Chief Operating Officer

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 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 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 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 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.”

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 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 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 Prescott-Thompson General Manager Shared Services

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