The challenge: The NSW Department of Education needed help to enhance communication between its help desk staff and teachers across NSW. Both sides felt frustrated and neither could identify how to communicate more effectively.

The outcome: Following extensive research across eight different locations, Academy Xi helped co-design a twofold solution incorporating customer-centricity and service design called the “Embedding Empathy Project”.

  • 1) Create a Way of Working (WoW) framework that supported individuals to think and work more collaboratively and
  • 2) Use this framework to drive staff training in empathy across the organisation.

“We worked closely with Academy Xi as our strategic design partner to co-design a customer-centric Way of Working framework, set of supporting capabilities and a guidebook containing tools and templates. Academy Xi performed deep research insights for the organisation which contributed hugely to the program’s success”

- Carmelina Senese, Director Customer Experience, NSW Department of Education.

For this project, co-design was the obvious choice. Co-design allows for the design approach to take place with stakeholders and business representatives, rather than alongside. This means that capability is continuously built upon over the life of a project. This capability remains in-house ensuring long-term success.

Staff on both sides discovered that there was a “lack of understanding and clarity on how teams can work together” and that many team members were “reluctant to adopt changes due to technology gaps and the volume of change.” Team training and employee development were needing to be prioritised.

This “Embedding Empathy Project” was able to illustrate that 99.9% of people want to do the best by the customer, they just need the right tools. By learning some key customer centricity and human centred design principles, the relationship between the two teams was able to be improved.

Key outputs:

  • Increased empathy
  • Simplified processes
  • Open lines of communication
  • Customer-centric playbook
  • Internal program champions
  • Multimedia training assets
  • Higher employee satisfaction
  • Reduction in complaints
  • New capabilities

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