Designing the opportunity to build direct customer relationships

After performing a deep-dive on the current onboarding process, we discovered that limited engagement in this crucial primary phase of the customer journey had led to a critical gap in the current system, constraining Sydney Water’s ability to create direct and rewarding relationships with new customers.

A rapid solution to the problem

Having revealed the root of the problem, it was crucial that Sydney Water's onboarding experience was re-assessed and a redesigned solution put in place as swiftly as possible.

To facilitate the best result for our customer, Proto created an embedded, rapid-prototyping team. They work closely with Sydney Water's customers, staff, and management to create an updated onboarding system. This would allow Sydney Water to engage their customers in a rewarding and personalised manner.

Defining a customer-centric strategy to build engagement

To lay the groundwork for an onboarding strategy that was uniquely focussed on the customers needs, we moved rapidly into an adaptive testing phase, using customer feedback to identify three primary opportunities to improve the onboarding process that could be implemented immediately.

We prioritised connecting with customers and acknowledging their individual needs and circumstances. This educated the customers on highly relevant information to enable us and engaging customers with meaningful and supportive interactions, we were able to create a framework for an improved onboarding process. Crucially, this updated process could be rolled out on in a short time frame but was still scalable and adaptive.

Creating channel specific prototypes to engage customers upstream

With a scalable framework in place, we moved quickly to identify seven critical channels of opportunity where changes would result in tangible improvements to the onboarding process. Using rapid prototyping, we were able to develop, test and implement over 30 prototype initiatives across those seven channels, drawing on feedback from external customers, internal staff, and industry leaders.

By identifying these channels, and creating rapid, customer-feedback driven improvements across all of them, we enabled Sydney Water to engage its customers upstream, building trust-based, long-term relationships from the first moment of customer contact.

Scalable implementation for minimal disruption

Introducing new systems and initiatives is an inherently disruptive process. Understanding this, and seeking to quickly implement a redesigned onboarding process while minimising disruption, we focussed on creating scalable design elements coupled with new communication tools that would generate traction across the organisation.

Through the use of storyboards highlighting the current and improved Contact Centre onboarding experience, profile posters of customer service representatives and videos that emphasised the positive experiences of staff from the onboarding experience pilot, we were able to fast-track implementation and scaling of designated components of the onboarding experience. This was complemented by our delivery of lean, customer-focused workflows for the Contact Centre and Accounts teams.

Building a foundation for customer trust

In a tight six-week time frame, we were able to deploy these initiatives that put the customer back at the heart of Sydney Water's onboarding process. Our communication tools and a robust roadmap for scalable implementation reduced disruption and delivered Sydney Water significant annual savings from a reduction in repeat calls from customers.

Our initiatives allowed staff to engage customers on a receptive, human basis, empowering them to respond quickly and effectively to their customers' needs and resulting in a 200% improvement in staff Net Promoter Score (NPS) along with a definable increase in customer NPS.

“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, Manager of Customer Research and Strategy at Sydney Water

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

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 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 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 Former 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

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 Jusitce CEO

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