BOI was faced with a significant problem: their customers no longer thought, acted or worked in the ways that their organisation was accustomed to. In fact, as a 234-year-old company, they were facing the risk of moving even further away from customer needs.Traditional methods of market research had failed to help BOI understand and design for their customers’ rapidly changing requirements. For example, the API sharing economy, open banking and blockchain have drastically accelerated the rate and pace of change.To keep ahead, the challenge was to fundamentally alter the way BOI designs and runs its business. Our task was to help BOI’s senior management to understand customer-centricity and service design, what they mean for the business, and to take it forward as an approach to support the bank’s overall business goals.

The solution

With Bank of Ireland (BOI) we created a bespoke training programme “The Ambassador programme” to address their customer experience challenges, and in doing so helped the organisation shift their paradigm from a purely business focus to real customer-centricity.

The results

As an outcome for the project and the tested prototypes and innovations the client has launched several initiatives like the Parent VIP –package, Baby food Ambassador, Free fruit for kids nationally, sweet free checkouts and doubled parent parking spaces and built hotel grade baby changing rooms in all new build stores. During the project, we saw an increase of 643% in social media reach and 512% in engagement.

The client saw a 3.3% increase in their baby category revenue when looking at the pre-vs post trial period, in addition they also saw a marked increase of 5.2% in the overall store sales pre-vs post. During the trial period, 70% of the shoppers said they felt less stressed during their experience and 90% said they would be spending more time in store and/or would return more often to shop as a result. In addition, there was an increase to shopping earlier in the day +3.5% from 22.6% of people shopping 9 to 12pm to 26.1%, this helped the store give a better experience at quieter times and maximise their resources in store.  For the stores involved in the service design project and in the commercial trial, the total annualised incremental revenue impact was as high as 678,000€. Based on the project, the improved customer experience and the new solutions, the client now estimates an incremental revenue of €4.84M annually to be achieved as a direct result of the Service Design.

Top results

36 senior managers turned into ambassadors

We helped BOI top management to create customer-centred business goals and establish organisational structures to support them. The eight-month period allowed the organisation to develop a deeper understanding of the current situation; and, to make real impact in long term development, BOI increased the service design budgets and investments, removing silos. 36 senior managers had their skills and knowledge boosted by the Hellon team who worked with them during the training programme. They gained hands-on experience of the difference between their traditional organisational culture compared to a more agile customer-centred way of thinking and doing.

8 redesigned service propositions

Eight proof of concept examples and short documentary film done during the programme has raised the awareness in organisational wide of the need for organisational change towards more customer centricity. A Chief Customer Officer was appointed to lead a dedicated Customer Experience team and customer experience has become a core focus area for all product and service change initiatives.

1 Design Thinking department established

Besides changing mindsets, a specific Design Thinking department was established, mandated to work across the entire organisation. This is now responsible for designing and delivering a comprehensive range of masterclasses, workshops and design sprints — of varying complexity — with cross functional teams of Bank of Ireland employees. The Experience Design Programme increased competences and gave strong mandate to engage customers and stakeholders to co-design and prototype early on.

We found the tools and approach extremely useful and need to embed these in our development going forward.”

Barbara O’Malley, Head of Retail Business Assurance, Bank of Ireland