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Use journeys and design thinking to make bold moves

Rob Paauw, Manager customer experience at PostNL, shares how the company's teams are coming together through a journey-centric way of working.

Company Name: PostNL
Industry: Distribution
Revenue: 2.7 billion (2018)
Employees: 50,000
Challenge: Conflicting processes
Key outcome: Journey-factory method resulting in concrete benefits such as NPS increase and cost savings
Interviewee: Rob Paauw, Manager customer experience

Executive Summary
This article showcases why putting journeys and design thinking at the center of everything is the key to creating customer focus, and how PostNL has done this through their ‘journey factory’ method. It demonstrates how such an approach can encourage a customer-centric way of working on new solutions, so you can embed journey management within your organization.


As more and more of its design teams take an interest in journeys and understand how everything is connected and measured, PostNL is seeing its teams come together through a journey-centric way of working. Rob Paauw, Manager customer experience at PostNL, shares what happens when you use journeys and design thinking to make bold moves.

More collaboration, less wasted time

Before they started taking a journey-centric approach, PostNL design team members were not responsible for their own complete journeys. Several teams continually found themselves in a meeting room, trying to cook up yet another process that would result in the ideal customer experience. As Rob Paauw, Manager customer experience at PostNL, knows all too well though – this is exactly what you don’t want. He explains, “In order to prevent this increase in sometimes conflicting and unwanted new processes, we’re demonstrating how journeys can be agents of change that generate the most valuable improvements with concrete benefits such as NPS increase or cost savings”.

"Journeys can be agents of change that generate valuable improvements with concrete benefits"

Rob Paauw

Manager customer experience at PostNL

The ‘journey factory’ method

Journeys and design thinking are the two important factors for PostNL when it comes to creating customer focus. Centralizing these within their ‘journey factory’ method, each journey team comes up with ‘bold moves’ which they can then translate into features that have to be planned and built. Then the so-called ‘benefit tracking’ begins. They currently have nine journey teams placing an extreme focus on the customer in which the journey is the means to their bold moves. According to Rob, “It’s extremely powerful to have that in a journey tool like TheyDo so that we can do good research, then prototype and validate – all in one flow”.

In general, Rob finds a ‘journey factory’-like method to be essential in giving teams guidance. “Like many companies, PostNL is organized around business units which all have different goals and solutions. However, if you map the journeys according to the taxonomy, it becomes way easier to see where the customer is touching several business units together. That supports working together.”

"Letting journeys lead is the key in this entire methodology: it prevents double work and increases collaboration"

Rob Paauw

Manager customer experience at PostNL

Embedding their journey-centric vision 

One of Rob’s goals is to get non-journey design teams involved in journey management and TheyDo so that they can work more customer-centric on new solutions. The ‘journey factory’ created a lite version of the methodology and can deliver expertise to these teams. TheyDo plays a vital role in hooking up those teams to the journeys.

Rob further expounds on the significance of PostNL’s vision, saying “If we can build a system that spreads out customer feedback to the right people who know how to act upon these insights, I have a lot of faith that we can significantly increase the speed in which we handle information and how customer-centric we work as an organization”. 

Going where the journeys take them

PostNL’s existing Journey Framework captures the entire organization and consists of four macro journeys, 25 sub-journeys, and many micro journeys which make up the current state journeys as well as a number of ‘future state’ journeys. This is too much to manage in a normal collaboration tool; working together in TheyDo has changed the way they work for the better. With journey management, they’re gaining a better understanding of who they are as a company, and how their customers experience them.

Deliver great CX when everyone agrees, including your customer.

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