Go to top of page

Redefining the debt collection experience through culture change

We embedded a customer-centric culture by co-creating a vision with the entire collections team

The challenge

New Zealand Inland Revenue (NZIR) is the government department responsible for collecting 80% of government revenue across New Zealand. In 2013 they set their aspirations high, aiming to be a leader in debt collection as a part of the vision to improve the socio-economic situation of all New Zealanders.

The situation

The approach

The research

We conducted an ethnographic ‘research safari' across seven sites in New Zealand to observe customer interactions and the Collections culture first-hand. We used Contextual Inquiry to gather insight from customers, internal stakeholders and staff to produce a holistic view of the current culture.

These insights and other key concepts were shared through a series of accelerator workshops. Participants from a broad cross-section of sites and teams collaborated to produce design prototypes for practical ways to embed the cultural vision within their day-to-day working environment. The workshops were designed both to gather input into cultural artefacts and to equip participants with the tools and messages to carry the initiative out to the remaining staff.

The findings

Using our diagnostic framework, we delivered an insights report detailing five key areas of improvement within the organisation. Developing a deep understanding of the current state of NZIR culture from an internal and external perspective guided the next steps on their journey toward customer centricity.

The solution

The insights gathered and workshops enabled us to develop a customer-centric vision of what it is like to work in the collections department at NZIR. We extended the concept using co-design methods to give everyone in team collections (753 people) the opportunity to contribute. We co-designed with team leaders, giving them the tools to engage their teams on the journey. The activities and collateral produced in conjunction with the workshop created positive internal momentum around the project; with an ongoing ripple effect through all of Collections.

The impact

New Zealand Inland Revenue Department
In one year, employee engagement rose from 3.87/5 to 4.27/5 and the rate of return for old debt collection increased by $62 million.

Have a challenge, idea or opportunity?

We'd love to help.
Speak with us