Two years ago, Kindred Group redesigned its operating model to be customer-led, insights-driven, fast and connected. To apply a customer lens to how Kindred organises, designs and delivers change, seven key Experiences were created: ‘Join & Leave’, ‘Pay & Withdraw’, ‘Play Sports’, ‘Play Gaming’, ‘Get Communication & Rewards’, ‘Be in Control’ and ‘Get Help’.
A new ‘Experience Owner’ role was born, with all Experience Owners accountable for the success of their experience.
To overcome internal silos and be able to respond to customers’ changing needs faster, Kindred’s new delivery model aimed to embrace a startup-inspired structure. This included setting up cross-functional end-to-end virtual teams, according to ‘hub-and-spoke’ organisation design. Virtual teams are bringing together ‘Spokes’ from different functions to support a business need, and expert resource is allocated to virtual teams from the expert ‘Hubs’.
This article looks back at how Kindred has successfully transformed towards journey centricity since the experience led model was launched back at the start of 2019.
Before assessing the model performance, I will first explain the main reason for using a customer journey-centric approach and what this experience led model aims to achieve.
Why journey centricity?
Many organisations focus on improving their experience without necessarily organising the entire business around customer journeys.
Why did Kindred decide to do exactly that?
- Because journeys are customer-lived realities, which, let’s face it, are rarely the same as company-imagined business processes.
- Because focusing on journeys is essential to a company’s evolution from being set up inside-out to outside-in.
- Because journey centricity is good for business as it leads to higher revenue, reduced costs, and better CX. A recent study by Boston Consulting Group found that companies can realise 20 to 40 percentage-point improvements in customer advocacy, cost reductions of between 15% and 25%, and revenue increases of 10% to 20% as a result of a customer-journey-at-scale approach.
- The Bottom line? You can’t become customer ‘obsessed’ without becoming journey centric.
The Experience led model explained
The model aims at:
- Rapidly adapting and responding to current and future customer needs. In other words, delivering quality at speed.
- Reconfiguring the way we develop, deliver and improve our products and processes in order to deliver the best possible experience to our customers. To transform how we design and deliver change, the model draws on the principles of human-centric design, with customer validation at the core, and agile ways of working.
- Improving performance via strong data orientation that emphasises value measurement – something that is inherent to the model.
- Overcoming internal silos to be able to respond to customers’ changing needs faster through the set-up of a start-up inspired structure built around cross-functional, autonomous, end to end virtual teams serving each of our 7 experiences.
- Defining clear accountabilities to determine priorities and deliver the right things at the right time and for the right reasons to the customer.
Is the model working?
Creating a clear vision for what best CX means in the first place
One of the merits of an experience led model is that it forces you to define a clear vision for the intended experience. This vision serves as a guiding light for our experiences as we develop them moving forward. It provides a clear definition of success, making prioritisation of improvement initiatives easier.
The model definitely has helped us to focus and has given us a higher sense of purpose for what we do and aim to achieve.
Delivering quality at speed, speed over perfection through agile ways of working
To achieve the speed and the precision that our competitive marketplace demands, we are moving away from step by step design-and-build approaches that end up in big-bang launch months, if not years, later and we’re embracing instead rapid design & delivery methods in a continual cycle of testing and learning, co-designing processes and journeys.
In order to do that, one of the biggest mindset changes has been to embrace the minimum viable product, or MVP, methodology to help teams focus on releasing services when there is sufficient customer value, rather than when they are deemed complete.
Overall, the model is helping us to increase the speed and precision of our deliveries.
Embracing human-centric design with customer validation at the core
Our delivery model is using a Triple Diamond process that builds on the Double Diamond process designed by the British Design Council, with each of the three diamonds having a specific type of output.
The first diamond is all about gathering all types of user research to form insights. The value of insight is simply to deeply understand customer pains and opportunities. The second diamond is about testing different solutions until a concept can be validated. The third diamond is about planning the delivery, building, designing, testing and releasing the solution.
If all has gone well, a new product/feature is born and the continuous development, well… continues :)
Research and design happen throughout most parts of the cycle and we embrace change throughout the process.
Overall, the model helps us in identifying customer needs and placing them at the centre of our delivery process. It creates more opportunities to determine not only how customers use our services but also what their intentions are. We then turn these insights into features and release them continuously via a delivery pipeline that constantly measures and improves itself.
Perfecting the art of prioritisation and working in smaller increments
Inherent to the model, our agile practices are helping teams break down large projects into smaller, more manageable chunks, referred to as ‘increments’.
This way of working makes earlier production releases possible. Increments also provide better utilisation of resources, giving us a better view of the capacity required and ensuring we have the available resources for greater throughput within a given period of time.
We’re also making significant progress toward prioritising increments based on value while adopting a more data-driven approach together with embracing continuous planning and prioritisation.
The aim is to prioritise the right things, at the right time, at any point in time, and for the right reasons.
Results so far
The model has already been positively impacting the business in different ways, by realising significant improvements in customer advocacy, cost reductions and revenue increases as a result of this customer-journey-at-scale approach.
Since Q4 2018, the quarter before the model was effectively launched, we’ve seen many CX metrics trending positively:
- Kindred Net Promoter Score (NPS) has improved by +7 points
- The share of Kindred customers who believe Kindred offers the best gambling experience from all other competitors has increased by +8 points
- The share of Kindred customers who believe Kindred offers a trustworthy experience has increased by +4 points.
- The satisfaction of Kindred customers playing both casino and live casino has improved by +6 points
- The satisfaction of Kindred customers verifying their account has improved by +7 points, despite the increasing stringency of regulatory compliance related to KYC procedures, which makes it more challenging to create frictionless journeys for this part of the experience.
- The satisfaction of Kindred customers depositing & withdrawing funds has improved by + 4 and +5 points respectively.
- And the list goes on…
Those customer perception metrics are not soft or fluffy, as those improved CSAT scores directly impact our customers' loyalty, which leads to higher revenue.
Next to improvements in customer advocacy and revenue increases, the model also helps to deliver efficiency gains, through cost reductions, increased efficiency of change delivery, greater productivity, increased automation or reduced cycle times.
The journey ahead
"Rome was not built in a day" as the saying goes. In many ways, the path to fully embrace this customer outside-in model and customer journey at scale approach is also a journey in itself. This journey has no end, only a beginning and the job will never be done.
But first, it started with Kindred internalising the fact that we need our customers more than they need us. Understanding who our customers are and what we’re supposed to do to meet their needs is focusing us. This model is also an encouragement to spend time learning what it feels like to be one of our customers.
Ultimately this model is about believing, as I do, that nothing is more important to our success, in the age of the customer than putting customers at the centre of our business.
This is just the beginning and the best is yet to come.