Customer insights driven product strategy

May - Nov 11


Making the fibre product customer focused

The roll-out of NBN Co's much-anticipated national broadband network across Australia was by no means an easy feat. From the physical construction of the network to the installation of infrastructure in homes and businesses to the liaison with Service Providers - NBN Co had a lot to deal with. But all this back-end work is for nothing if the customer experience is not up to scratch. With this in mind, the NBN Co Product Team sought to conduct in-depth research about the customer experience for the fibre optic component of the network, so they could gain a clear, holistic picture of how different customers interact with the product. Although NBN Co's actual customers are RSPs that on-sell the product to end-users, the company considers end-users as central to delivering a complete product offering as well - so the research had to include both groups.


This project was a 6-month journey to conduct research with service providers and end-users, in close collaboration with various NBN Co divisions to identify, document and improve customer experience journeys. The resulting insights - in the form of personas and journey maps - are now being used across NBN Co to inform product design and customer interactions.

We are thrilled a the final content, insights, personas and journey maps – these will set a great standard for the organisation.

Katrina Harrison, Customer Focused Design Manager- Products, NBN Co


The project had three stages including the research, synthesis, and the development of customer-centric design tools for NBN Co.  We worked in close collaboration with sales, operations, communications, quality, community relations and solution/product engineering - to ensure that the questions we formulated, the insights we gathered and the solutions we proposed were all valid and relevant to the project's goals. 

For the end users, the research started with an online survey about the installation process. From this survey, we recruited 14 residential and home business users to participate in contextual inquiries. These users came from NBN Co's first release sites in 3 states. A second survey, two months after the first, was conducted to gather insights on the users' perceptions of the performance of the Fibre product.


We interviewed 12 employees from five Internet service providers, including product managers, technical managers and support staff. We then analysed the information gathered in the research to identify what end-users and service providers were thinking and feeling at each point of the interaction with NBN Co. From this analysis, we developed four detailed end-user personas, three service provider personas, and two journey maps for distribution throughout the organisation.

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Early Findings


Insights from the end-user personas confirmed that there are opportunities for improvement in the design of the equipment that is installed in people's homes.  Based on this evidence, NBN Co has been exploring options to redesign the equipment and hopes to shortly kick off a project to address the aesthetics, functionality and usability for consumers in future rollout areas.

“The personas show us how we need to work with different people; while the journey maps help my team to see the bigger picture and not get caught up in day-to-day issues. They are both very powerful tools that are adding immense value to the way we operate,”

Katrina Harrison, Customer Focused Design Manager- Products, NBN Co

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Final Personas

Journey maps

The journey maps created during the project played an important role as effective communication tools that enabled conversations across NBN Co based on evidence of what customers/ end users actually think, feel, do and use. In addition to physical improvements to the product itself, NBN Co is using the journey maps and personas to improve the process of dealing with end-users and RSPs. "For example, we've identified the need to work with our installers and RSPs on communications with consumers to provide a better end-to-end experience," said Katrina Harrison.

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Journey Maps

Key activities

  • Online Surveys (100+ end-users)

  • Contextual inquiries (home visits),

  • Remote Skype interviews

  • Workshop facilitations

  • Persona development

  • Journey map development

  • Presentation of research insights

  • Report writing