Ashton Media
Marketing & Customer Experience Hub

The customer experience balancing act

CX balancing act


At Aussie, we are focused on our customer journeys and the digitisation of key parts of the process. One of our points of difference is that we don’t want to digitise to the point of taking away the personal side of the customer equation. It’s an interesting situation for us to be in.

CX balancing act

We provide a rich personal experience for people getting a home loan and in order to improve on this, we made a frank assessment of how truly customer-centric we were. That has led us to a point where we understand there is more we can do to create a richer digital experience before, during and after that personal experience. We don’t see these stages as competing but being complementary. This has been hugely important and one of the biggest changes Aussie has gone through during the past 18 months.

Technology probably wasn’t one of our real strengths but in this time we have effectively modernised the majority of our platforms. This has involved upgrading some applications. We’ve made additional marketing technology selections and simplified areas such as campaign management. Where we once had three systems communicating with our customers at different stages in the journey, we now have one.

We put a big focus on getting the right platforms in place so that our teams can make meaningful changes to the customer experience.

The right technology for our customers

One of the things we’ve tried to do is push harder on the technology front to put the platforms we need in place. We are working to simplify the whole ecosystem for our staff, customers and our network of more than 1,000 mortgage brokers.

One example is Adobe Campaign which we have selected as our go-forward platform. We’re moving our infrastructure to the cloud to enable an upgrade for our broker systems as well as investing in Salesforce as a tool to better manage our brokers. We are in the process of pulling this all together so that we can treat our brokers like customers. Having this mindset will help us to be much more customer-centric.

From a staff point of view, we’ve upgraded everybody onto new hardware. We’ve moved to Windows 10 and Office 365 as quickly as we could. We haven’t got it perfect but these systems are going to give us the right tools to keep improving and iterating on our employee experience. It was important that we made decisions like that so that even our staff could see we are working to make their life as easy as possible while they concentrate on doing the best job they can.

There’s no such thing as the perfect solution

You can spend a lot of time trying to pick the perfect solution but many organisations only tend to use a small portion of a platform’s capability. We all have so many different types of platforms and so many things happening. At Aussie, we are working to simplify the systems of technology rather than choosing the technology based on a particular application.

When it comes to choosing technology partners, we looked at the companies and their approach to investment in their own platforms. For us, it was important to have something with longevity that was easy to iterate on.

Technology, in general, is changing so quickly it’s not just a case of finding something today that could solve all of our problems. We know we’ll have to keep updating our platforms and the customer experience. We need technology to help us do that.

Anyone who embarks on one of these journeys, unpicking what came before is par for the course. The best way we found to approach the challenge was to have a good look at our current technology, work out what parts to upgrade and what parts to move away from completely. The fact that we are predominantly a sales and distribution business without a lot of legacy product platforms has enabled us to move quite quickly.

The importance of culture

Culture is one of the absolute critical pieces for customer experience and that culture has got to start at the top. Everyone needs to be passionate about the customer and it’s essential to make sure everyone is aligned to that vision. Not having the right culture in place will hamper your efforts in terms of making inroads into better customer experience simply because it will feel like each time a trade-off needs to be made, it can be difficult unless there is a strong alignment around wanting to be truly customer centric.

Getting the team right is also vital. One of the things I’ve focused on in that respect is diversity. We already have enough mortgage brokering expertise and value people with difference experience and perspectives. We need people to challenge us because having a different sense of context can challenge the paradigms we might set up for ourselves.

We are also looking at our work practices and how we work together. That is a big shift for a lot of people but we’re taking them on that journey as we move to an agile way of working right across the business, not just from a technology point of view but from the executive team all the way down. Sharing that journey with our people as opposed to having it done to them is important.

Getting the balancing act right with all of these elements is a challenge but I believe that is the key to customer experience success.

About Richard Burns – General Manager Customer Experience and Technology at Aussie
Richard is a passionate leader with proven ability to rapidly grow businesses through innovative strategy and effective execution. He has broad financial services industry knowledge with particular in-depth experience in online retail financial services and investment markets. His career has developed in Marketing, Product Management and Product Development through delivering results in various industries by being able to develop and build strong relationships throughout all levels of an organisation.