The Customer Experience Company

What can other public-sector interests learn from how you conceived of and designed this experience?: 

Our learnings include:

Leadership

Service NSW was created on the back of a mandate earned via an election, which was a commitment to provide exceptional customer experience for NSW citizens. A strategic imperative, a time line and a budget was created and a public-private sector leadership group was put in place. This group was tasked with making a bold change with the aim of delivering the best service in the world.  And while ‘best service in the world’ is an accolade still to be won, the difference is profound and the work continues towards this goal. Only with commitment from leadership in Government is this possible.

Design for the situation

Recognising that Government service in NSW has its own attributes that needed to be addressed (rather than copying what may have been the right choice for another Government). This meant creating a unique design that aligned to the strategic imperative to deliver the best service in the world.

Design for real customers

A major theme of the design was to create something pragmatic, an outcome that would be understood and successfully used by the majority of customers.

Please describe how the concept for the experience came about, and what research, information, inspiration, etc. informed it.: 

Deep understanding of customer needs was integral to this design, but it was also important that we bring the public service on this journey. This meant identifying, re-using and/or modifying elements from the existing approach.

The Service NSW customer experience was designed by multiple teams representing different channels, so to ensure a consistent customer experience we created service principles and cross-channel measures to ensure it’s success.

The service principles are;

  • Secure
  • Convenient
  • Great Service and
  • Working towards making it easier.

 

These were chosen to guide the strategy, leaders and employees through the design, implementation, business as usual and optimisation phases.

Using these principles, the fundamental experience was designed by walking in the shoes of the customer; we developed a customer-centric process toolkit for the design of processes, which included a series of contextual inquiries with each agency, mystery shopping, customer observation, employee shadowing and interviews. These lead to both the development of customer personas for each agency which highlighted the values, drivers and channel preferences of different customer groups, and to service blueprints which demonstrated how the interactions would work between customers, Service NSW and the new agencies.

In the Customer Flow Management stream CEC used an agile methodology which involved co-design to prototype customer service scenarios coupled with low-fidelity service staging to engage subject matter experts. Once a “concept store” [full-scale prototype of SNSW store] was built, we used it for hi-fidelity design theatre exercises where we refined the CFM interface using customer feedback.

These service design techniques brought the experience to life for stakeholders, enabling them to support innovative design decisions from both a ‘heart’ (personal) and ‘head’ (logical) perspective.  This outcome required a trial and error experience using the principles and measures to guide decisions.

This approach allowed elements of the existing experience that made sense and resonated as ‘good’ with customers, to make their way into the eventual designs. This is also impacted how actual customers perceived the intended change, which was viewed as the ultimate success criteria.

What challenges and constraints arising out of working in the public sector did you face, and how did you address them?: 

The creation of a common mindset among Service NSW people with a shared vision, centred in a customer-centric philosophy, was extremely empowering. A shared determination to grasp the Service NSW opportunity and ‘make a difference’ was key.

A clearly articulated and consistently communicated perspective seeded a new awareness that grew in confidence with application and practice.

The challenges and constraints that were addressed by these factors ranged from introducing new legislation, to being recognised by the industrial relations commission, to finding a way to provide adequate storage facilities in retail sites.

In what ways has the experience benefited the work of the entity it was built for? If available, please share any quantitative, qualitative, and/or anecdotal evidence.: 

With a strategy aimed at being the ‘best’ in the world, Service NSW always recognised the role its employees would play. The Service NSW team members represent the NSW Government. The experience was therefore designed to meet the expectations of customers (citizens) and align the experience of the employees.

Service NSW people have a clear understanding of their role and the difference they can make. 1.4 million customers in the first six months recognised this through their feedback with an average score of 4.8/5, with greater than 20% participation rates (there is no incentive to provide feedback and it is not directly solicited).

Service NSW is recognised as providing significant improvement in service, which provides confidence for continuing investment in the transformation program.

In what ways has the experience created value for the constituent citizenry? If available, please share any quantitative, qualitative, and/or anecdotal evidence.: 

The value to customers (citizens) is:

  • The NSW Government is investing public funds to improve its customer service.
  • The transformed service delivery is delivering a high standard of customer satisfaction, 4.8/5 customer satisfaction ratings in retail stores.
  • The new experience is demonstrating to customers that the NSW Government and Service NSW understand their needs.
  • Understanding their needs includes elements such as completing more interactions at one time (rather than several attempts), enabling multi-channel service, asking for and using customer feedback, providing an effective phone-based service and generally demonstrating efficiency which recognises that a customer’s time is valuable.