Customer Wednesdays

How do you mobilise a culture of customer-centric design across an entire organisation?


reduction in design research cost


designers trained to apply customer insight


customer sessions run every year

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

The need

Tesco Bank wanted to create a sustainable way to involve customers throughout the design process and embed customer insight at the core of their organisation.

They wanted to support teams to engage with customers more frequently and effectively: rather than at the end of the process, or on an ad-hoc basis. Projects were investing time building more finished solutions before engaging customers. This meant single rounds of design research were time consuming, and expensive.

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

What we did

Working with the Tesco Bank design team, we co-created a powerful, repeatable design research playbook to shift the focus to customer values and needs.

Drawing from the playbook, we collaboratively built structures and systems to regularly weave customer insight directly into the design of everything – from digital journeys, to new propositions. Building a framework so Tesco Bank could sustainably apply it rapidly, reliably, and at scale. The programme became widely and affectionately known throughout the bank as Customer Wednesdays.

But we all know tools and playbooks are useless without the right motivation. The far more significant work lay in transforming the mindsets and culture of teams across the bank. Working in partnership with the design function we ran a grassroots behavioural change campaign. Using simple readily available apps like WhatsApp and Skype, along with onsite pop-up installations, we worked to increase empathy and compassion with customers week in and week out. We shared live customer insights to build awareness, excitement and momentum for the programme across the bank.

The outcome

Over the course of Customer Wednesdays and by employing a series of new design norms, the role of Design at Tesco Bank evolved. It shifted from being seen as ‘styling’ to an established strategic capability, central to the creation of new propositions, products and even physical spaces. Design and customer research was no longer thought of as ‘a luxury’ within the bank. Instead it grew to be considered a business essential; ensuring teams are really empathising with customers and their problems.

As of early 2020 the Tesco Bank design team on average runs 90 customer sessions a year, the equivalent of spending 18 days face-to-face with their customers. Sessions range from strategic discovery work to tactical user testing, generating around 50 new insights each year that directly support business cases and design delivery. Just one of the ways they are engaging with their customers on a much more frequent basis.

Based on the success of Customer Wednesdays, the team are also running Colleague Thursdays, replicating the structures and ways of working to collaborate with front-line staff across the business.

Other times we’ve made a difference

Bringing bereavement into the 21st Century

We unpicked the entire UK bereavement process to identity the painpoints and problems worth solving. Co-designing solutions with highly specialised legal professionals we prototyped Exizent’s first digital product.

Transformational customer service

Helping one of the UK’s largest commercial banks to transform their service model across all channels, designed with their customers at the core.