As business design manager of the Design Practice at Telstra, Dori Miller finds herself in high demand. “People from different areas of the business are coming to us and asking how can we best deliver and install products, or can we do something to improve the sales process, or to improve support,” she says.
At the heart of Miller’s work is Design Thinking, the human-centric approach that the company has embraced to boost just about every aspect of its customer service.
It’s a creative technique that places customers’requirements at the centre of the development of products and services. The Design Practice works not only with product teams, but also with staff in call centres and Telstra stores.
To better understand customers’goals, concerns and challenges, Telstra teams visit them to observe how they interact with technology in their home or business.
“We interview them to gather as much information as we can,” says Miller. “To learn what they’re using our products for, what’s important to them and whether their needs are being met.”
It was this kind of immersive research that uncovered the fact that when people move house, one of their headaches is reconfiguring their phones and internet. Telstra responded by creating mobile customer care teams to help out.
The company has also redesigned its wireless modems after customers said they wanted a more aesthetically pleasing product in their homes.
On the business side, Telstra recently developed special offers and bundles for people running small businesses out of their homes.
“When we visited these customers, we found that although they tend to buy consumer products, they need professional-grade services and the capability of business products,”says Miller.
“Design Thinking is about being holistic – thinking about not just the product but the whole experience and the whole ecosystem it sits in.”– Dori Miller, business design manager of the Design Practice, Telstra
The company is looking at how it can use Design Thinking to help large-scale businesses and government clients.
When employing this approach, Miller says, designers first determine the exact nature of a customer’s needs or challenges. Then they carry out extensive research.
Next comes the design phase, during which they use storyboards and other visual tools to present ideas to customers and incorporate their feedback. Finally, the new product is delivered to market.
“It’s a very collaborative way of working,”Miller says. “It’s about empathy and engagement and being a bit experimental. And it’s about being holistic – thinking about not just the product but the whole experience and the whole ecosystem it sits in.
“Customer expectations are much higher now, and we want to make sure the customer experience is as easy and positive as possible.”
How it works:
- Design Thinking is a human-focused approach that involves close engagement with customers
- Telstra is using Design Thinking to provide creative solutions for consumers and business customers
- Customer feedback has a direct impact on product development and services
- Telstra teams visit customers to observe how they use technology in homes and businesses
- Telstra is committed to using Design Thinking to optimise the customer experience.