Why is it so hard to give customers what they want?

Nina Muhleisen | 7 March 2017


Everyone likes the idea of the ‘future state’ but delivering it is hard. It was easy to get everyone together to create the Customer Journeys, but when it’s time to get stuff done, why does it all fall to pieces?

Be prepared to fail and learn from it

Getting ANZ to become world class has definitely been a journey; we’re still learning and continually adapting our processes to remain agile in our changing environment. There hasn’t been a program like ours before – we’re crossing so many borders and in some cases, have needed to completely overhaul how we do things – a major effort when you’re trying to change the way people have done things for decades, over multiple countries and convincing over 40,000 people that there’s a need to do so.

So how do you move an entire organisation to purpose around delivering the journeys you’ve created.

In a nutshell, we needed to try new approaches, new delivery methods, new engagement techniques and when they didn’t work try something else new – we failed fast, and changed quickly.  How did we do this? I’ll step you through something we tried, how we failed at it and what we did that had better results.

Failing Assumption: That what everyone agrees to in the room, will get done when you leave.

We ran workshops, we had the right decision makers in the room and we left with a clear vision and governance model to support implementation. We left. We went back to our days jobs with the best intentions…..but it failed.

We didn’t understand why it wasn’t working. The CEO was supportive, all the senior stakeholders had bought into the process and the Customer Journey. So where did it go wrong?

  • Because it had CEO support everyone wanted to be involved – we needed to narrow down our decision making rights.


  • We didn’t have the right resources – A component of this is increasing the continuous improvement capability of our staff which is an ongoing thing. But it comes down to prioritising initiatives so that the few improvement resources we have are working on the right initiatives. If this is really important (which our customers are telling us it is) then we need to stop all the extra things that we are doing and focus on those one or two things that are going to have the biggest benefit for our customers.


Now I’ve only talked about one failure point when delivering end to end solutions; there are many more. It is difficult to deliver transformation

The key: You are going to need to be agile and review your approach regularly.
We used the ‘5 why’ technique on the issues to ensure that we were addressing the root cause and taking actions to respond accordingly.   It doesn’t matter what methodology you use, but you’ve got to reflect regularly, to ensure you don’t get stuck on the wrong path…or that will be your biggest failure.