Case Studies / Tesco Bank

Customer Wednesdays

Helping mobilise customer centric design across a major UK Bank

The challenge
Tesco Bank wanted to create a sustainable way to involve customers throughout the design process. And to embed user insight at their organisation’s core.

They hoped to support teams to engage with customers more frequently and effectively. Not at the end of the process or on an ad-hoc basis.

Projects were investing time in building more finished solutions before engaging customers. Single rounds of design research were time-consuming and expensive.

Design leadership at Tesco Bank recognised they needed everyone to look at customer involvement in a new way. This collaboration would factor the customer into all aspects of projects rather than the visual elements.

  • 30%

    reduction in design research cost

  • 30+

    designers trained to apply customer insight

  • 90

    customer sessions run every year

How we helped

We co-created a robust, repeatable design research playbook with Tesco Bank’s design team. The playbook would shift the focus to customer values and needs.

We built structures and systems together to regularly weave customer insight directly into the design of everything – from digital journeys to new propositions.

This framework meant Tesco Bank could sustainably apply it rapidly, reliably, and at scale. The programme became widely and affectionately known as Customer Wednesdays.

Tools and playbooks are useless without the right motivation. The more significant work lay in transforming the mindsets and culture of internal teams.

We ran a grassroots behavioural change campaign in partnership with the design function.

We utilised simple, readily available apps like WhatsApp and Skype, along with onsite pop-up installations. We constantly worked to increase empathy and compassion with customers. We shared live customer insights to build awareness, excitement and momentum for the programme across the bank.

It just makes everything super efficient… We are connecting with customers on a really frequent basis. We are listening to what customers are saying… and we are actioning it!
Catherine Richards, Head of Customer Design, Tesco Bank
A lasting impact

Throughout Customer Wednesdays and by employing a series of new design norms, the role of Design at Tesco Bank evolved.

It moved from ‘styling’ to an established strategic capability. The role became central to creating new propositions, products, and physical spaces.

Design and customer research, often seen as a luxury, grew to be a business essential. It ensured teams are really empathising with customers and their problems.

As of early 2020, the Tesco Bank design team ran 90 customer sessions a year. That’s the equivalent of spending 18 days face-to-face with their customers.

Sessions range from strategic discovery work to tactical user testing. Each year, they can generate around 50 new insights that directly support business cases and design delivery.

These sessions are just one way they engage with their customers frequently.

Based on Customer Wednesdays’ success, the team is also running Colleague Thursdays. It replicates the structures, ways of working and collaboration with front-line staff across the business.