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Helping a NFP Children's Services Provider transform into a customer-centric organisation

The challenge

SDN Children's Services (SDN) is a Sydney-based not-for-profit that has supported children and families for over 115 years through:

  • Early education services and childcare centres,
  • children's therapies, and,
  • family support.

Changes in the market and government policy lead to the need for this 115-year-old not-for-profit to differentiate. Knowing that thriving children need the support of thriving families, SDN leadership saw space to enhance the service and support they provide by enabling continuous relationship building between it's Educators who provide services, and it's Families who receive them.

The situation

The approach

The research

The findings

The solution

SDN needed the tools to redesign family experiences based on customer empathy to ensure that SDN's difference was defined and lived, including:

1. Understanding what families value and how to deliver this in a way that is consistent with its values and purpose.

2. Understanding and supporting the complex and changing needs of SDN’s educators who deliver SDN’s services by forming lasting family relationships. 

We began by understanding the psychosocial factors that drive families’ decision making. We complemented this by researching SDN educators’ perspectives, uncovering the way families and educators engage and relate with each other. These insights formed a foundational suite of tools and frameworks unique to SDN's ecosystem, designed to 

  • Equip and empower service delivery staff, building their capabilities to support the emotional experience of families.
  • Equip SDN with a common language.
  • Equip leaders with the knowledge to make informed strategic decisions guided by deep insights.
  • Equip the CX team to design services around the unique needs of its families and educators.

Kay Turner, CEO of SDN's Children services said, "We love how [CEC] collaborate and design with us and not for us. While SDN’s purpose focuses on outcomes for children, we can’t achieve these outcomes without working as a trusted partner with families and supporting the wellbeing of the whole family. We've made a commitment to families to be be consistent, responsive and hassle-free. Working with CEC has helped us to operationalise our aspirations."

The impact

Aligning the experience of Families with the experience of Educators through the design of services founded in empathy, connection and trust transforms SDN from just another children’s services provider to a village where everyone belongs.

The tools and frameworks developed have equipped teams to design services unique to its Families' needs. SDN’s brand difference is not just spoken about but consistently delivered with empathy across all its childcare centres during the moments that matter most to families. 

SDN’s investment in customer experience has set it apart from its competitors in a saturated market. In parallel to its CX transformation, SDN refined its unique value proposition that aligns with its vision, philosophy, behaviours and practices.

With CX at the core of cultural transformation, SDN is becoming an innovative market leader with decision making grounded in empathy and families and educators practical, emotional, and conceptual needs.

To date, the service design work led by the SDN CX team has seen a 20 point rise in the net promoter score (NPS), consistency between centres, and significant increases in measures associated with communication with families. In 2022, the work was awarded a prestigious Good Design Award Winner Accolade in the Design Strategy category in recognition for outstanding design and innovation.

The impact

SDN Children's Services
"The biggest impact has been our delivery teams' renewed awareness on moments that matter with families. This has been an investment that will last SDN a lifetime. We received tools and insights that will be valuable over and over again; it's not just for now. We refer to the tools every time we make a decision." - Adrienne Jerram, SDN Director of Marketing and Customer Experience

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