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From hyper-validated personas to new tailored services carried by the entire organisation.

The customer

Acerta is the largest HR services group in Belgium. Start-ups, self-employed persons, employers and accountants can turn to them for payroll administration, social affairs and more. Within this total service, we collaborated with Acerta's department regarding payroll management and administration.

Acerta logo

The challenge

In the declining HR services market, Acerta took a critical look at how they could still continue to grow. They wanted to better tailor their services to the needs of their clients. This required really getting to know these clients and mapping out the journey they go through in their contact with Acerta. What are the key moments and when can Acerta make a difference with their service?

After 3 years of service design support, Acerta wanted to train 5 self-sufficient service design teams, with the help of Knight Moves. This way, the internal teams could apply and carry out customer-oriented working even better throughout the organisation.

We are a large organisation with a diverse customer base. Every day, we help more than 40,000 customers with their specific needs and requirements. Standardisation in an organisation where personal service determines customer satisfaction is a big challenge.
Head of Product Payroll Service (Acerta)

Our approach

In the first phase of this project, we created a survey to understand exactly who Acerta's more than 40,000 customers are. This provided an excellent basis for transforming their 'one-size-fits-all' strategy into a thorough tailor-made approach. In line with this quantitative research, we also conducted extensive qualitative research. This combination ultimately resulted in 5 hyper-validated personas, which to this day are still displayed life-sized in all Acerta offices. This gave Acerta's customer groups 'a real face', which increases employee empathy and makes customer-centricity visible to the entire company.

Five personas in life-size printed in a Acerta office. Computer screen showing a detailed version of a persona.

In the next phase, Acerta wanted to zoom in deeper on the different key moments in their contact with customers. To this end, we organised an observation day with file managers and invited several customers to co-creation sessions to map out their experiences with Acerta. This process resulted in important new insights, which we translated into several fine-grained customer journeys. Through these journeys, together with Acerta we identified and prioritised pain points on which future service offering could improve.

Finally, for the first time within their organisation, Acerta wanted to train 5 self-managing teams in complaint-oriented working according to the principles of service design. To this end, we organised several tailor-made training sessions and offered expert coaching to equip these internal teams with the necessary knowledge and skills. To support them even further in this, we compiled a detailed playbook explaining a multitude of service design principles and examples. This enables the employees to independently conduct new qualitative and quantitative research, organise co-creation sessions, map out even more customer journeys and translate this into future-oriented roadmaps.

The result

In addition to the 5 personas we co-created with Acerta and their customers, the organisation now also owns a repository containing more than 30 customer journeys, with new ones being added frequently. This allows Acerta to continuously fine-tune its services and respond even better to the needs of the different customer groups. The positive impact of this soon became clear. Various surveys showed that customer satisfaction has improved significantly in almost every area of service since the start of the journey. In addition, Acerta had experienced continued growth in customers and turnover in recent years.

Personas and customer journeys make it possible to put our customers at the centre of our organisational strategy and tactical plans. We no longer offer our service to 40,000 anonymous customers, but we serve Toby, Iris, Margaux, Didier and Renée. And that helps our company grow.
Head of Product Payroll Service (Acerta)