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Breaking down silos to create a unified, customer-centric experience with John Holland Group

The challenge

John Holland Group (JHG) aspired to deliver an exemplary customer experience in line with their status as a Tier 1 infrastructure company. In a fiercely competitive industry, JHG recognised the influence that their organisational behaviour and enterprise-level collaboration had on their project tenders.

JHG needed to build a rich understanding of the needs of their customers and develop ways of working that would challenge their traditionally siloed approach to customer experience. JHG at the time lacked a common understanding of the experience created across the different business units and how this contributed to customer perception of the enterprise as a whole.

Prior to this project, JHG had been relying on feedback received during the tender and sales process, which was found to be inadequate in providing an accurate reflection of the overall customer experience, leaving JHG in the dark about how their customers truly felt about the brand.

The situation

The approach

The research

Over 16 weeks we took a human-centred research approach that was core to our continued working relationship with JHG, with rich insights sought across the whole organisation and across customer segments.

Through this approach, JHG was able to gain a much deeper understanding of their customers' needs. We socialised and engaged with each business unit, as well as the senior leadership and CEO to ensure that the research insights were fully heard, understood and valued which truly transformed JHG’s understanding of their customers and set the enterprise up for customer experience success.

The findings

The solution

Following our extensive research with internal teams and a wide range of external stakeholders and customers, the CEC team developed a research report which included:

  • 5 key insights gathered from both staff and customers
  • Business unit-specific insight reports
  • 10 opportunity areas, each with a set of How Might We Questions
  • 2 focusing questions identified during the executive workshop with actionable next steps 

This distillation of our research was both the summary and communication tool for JHG to be able to align the organisation on the need for a consistent customer experience. These deliverables were an influential input into the development of JHG’s broader corporate strategy.

The impact

The impact of this project was far-reaching, not just within JHG but throughout their ecosystem of customers, contractors, sub-contractors, and stakeholders. CEC's insights were integral in directing JHG's broader corporate strategy towards customer-centricity, leading the Executive Team to adjust their strategy development process and organise a strategic offsite for internal strategy development.

CEC also led a Strategic Opportunity workshop, where the Executive Team identified areas of opportunity and developed next steps for the Senior Leadership Teams of each business unit. By cascading the project outcomes down through the entire organisation, JHG was able to create a meaningful impact on their customer experience and business operations. This project serves as a testament to the importance of executive sponsorship and cross-functional support in creating lasting change within an organisation.

In a hyper-masculine industry like construction, there is a tendency towards aggressive litigious interactions. Contrastingly, for an industry built on relationships, where the contract is king, the art of conversation and relationship-building is often neglected. Our work with JHG broke down these long-held, industry-wide approaches to customer relationships, and challenged JHG to think differently about how they interacted with their customers, ultimately driving a shift towards a more customer-centric approach.

John Holland

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