The NDIS: Does your organisation truly understand its customer’s journey?

11 September 2019

Mark Cushing , Partner, Consulting |

The way not-for-profits deliver disability services is changing. The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) came into force in July 2016, and after a transitioning phase, has now transferred the delivery of disability services from the government to not-for-profit entities. The significant increase in the delivery of these disability services requires not-for-profits to start thinking about operating in a much more commercially savvy way, to ensure they are financially sustainable into the future.

In order to do this, not-for-profits must truly understand their customer’s journey to retain and grow their existing customer base. Only then can they truly understand why customers select, purchase and stick to one service provider over another.

The six stages of the disability service provider's customer journey

To help, BDO has mapped out a six-stage customer journey for Australian disability service providers:

  • Stage 1: Awareness/understanding
    This is about a customer (or their carer or family members) understanding who in the market can deliver the services they require

  • Stage 2: Research and comparison
    Once a potential customer has shortlisted a number of service providers, they will then compare options to assess which provider will deliver the best service for the best perceived value

  • Stage 3: Selection and purchase
    Once the customer has selected a service provider, they will purchase the service required from that organisation

  • Stage 4: Service delivery
    The organisation’s carers then deliver the agreed services to the customer

  • Stage 5: User experience
    The customer reflects on their personal experience with the organisation and decides whether they want to remain with that service provider or consider alternatives

  • Stage 6: Relationship strengthening
    If the customer remains with a particular provider, they will most likely select additional services into the future and/or advocate on behalf of the organisation.   

It's important to note that the customer’s journey also applies to an organisation's employees. In many cases, customers will form strong relationships with their carers. As such, customer loyalty has a strong correlation with employee satisfaction levels and customer retention.  

How to map your customer journey effectively

In many cases, service providers lack the essential understanding of their true customer’s journey. Therefore, opportunities are often lost because service providers don't put emphasis on understanding what is truly important to both their potential customers and employees providing the service.  

This is why it's essential for an organisation to truly understand its customers experience, which means not just looking at a customer’s journey in isolation, but also includes reviewing how that customer interacts with an organisation's systems, processes and people in order to create a positive user experience. Customer journey mapping is a key tool organisations can utilise to better understand their customers.

The key steps to undertaking a customer journey mapping exercise include:

  • Understanding who your customers are through strategic customer segmentation
  • Understanding what your customers ambitions and desired outcomes are
  • Mapping your customers touch points across your organisational functions
  • Identifying the desired customer experience (i.e. the ideal/ happy path) in order to build solid relationships along the customer journey
  • Locating any pain points that are stopping this ideal/ happy path from becoming a reality
  • Prioritising improvement initiatives to fix these identified pain points across people, processes and technology lenses
  • Updating this information regularly in order to create an organisational culture of continuous improvement – to make tomorrow better than today.

The most holistic customer journey mapping exercises will be flexible in the way this information is obtained. For example, it will use a combination of face-to-face meetings with customers, family members, carers and staff, as well as utilising organisational data and customer feedback.

By understanding their customer’s journey better, organisations can reduce wastage and identify improvement opportunities across three core organisational areas of people, processes and technology. The way these three variables interact with each other can separate average customer experiences from exceptional customer experiences.

Customer journey mapping with BDO

Organisations that consistently produce exceptional customer experiences set themselves apart from their competitors. BDO's not-for-profit specialists provide a number of services to help providers understand and improve their customer’s experience.

This includes comprehensive customer journey mapping, business process re-engineering and the provision of strategic advice in order to identify improvement opportunities. In addition, we also support organisations with executing on their business strategies, creating practical plans and roadmaps to ensure organisational goals are achieved.

For more information, reach out to the team today.