Service transformation is the tale of 2 faces: customers and employees

The importance of the symmetry of attention to deliver success

In today’s rush for technology and efficiency, we often forget about people. Surprisingly, the numbers clearly show why this is a big mistake. Recent studies reveal that only 22% of companies successfully transform themselves*.

At the core of this challenge is the concept of “Symmetry of Attention.” This idea, explained by the Académie du Service*, means that the quality of a company’s relationship with its customers reflects the quality of that company’s relationship with its employees. It’s a simple but crucial principle: when employees are satisfied, customers are satisfied. Recognising and addressing this imbalance is key to achieving successful service transformation.

The traditional approach to projects is fragmented and so, inclined to fail

When clients approach consulting firms for support, they often have a clear goal in mind—an idea of their desired future state (the What). This could include objectives like:

  • Improving the efficiency of a specific supply chain by x$ or x minutes.
  • Successfully designed the roadmap for software implementation in APAC subsidiaries.
  • Optimising an existing application/website.

This external team’s role is to dig deeper into the Why behind these goals, articulating the vision and addressing pain points that challenge the status quo. Examples of the Why include:

  • Being a trusted brand known for exceptional customer satisfaction.
  • Being a recognised innovative brand.
  • Being the cheapest and still reliable brand in the market.

The goal of the How aspect of a project is to determine the path to turn the Why into reality. A traditional approach does this by looking at operational excellence, customer experience, or strategic methodologies. The “or” is key in the last sentence as this approach treats these different “how” factors in silos. For instance:

  • Conducting process reviews within the Sales department using Lean methodologies.
  • Creating the TO-BE state of internal processes or customer experiences in Design Thinking workshops.
  • Optimizing a network planning team’s time and effort through Shadowing and Measurement activities.


Despite these efforts, many transformation projects still falter or, even worse, fail. It’s not due to inadequate scope or ineffective methodologies but rather because critical components are often overlooked within the scope: the How and the Who.


Rethinking Projects by integrating the Human Factor: a key factor to success

Instead of confining the How solely to fragmented tools and methodologies, we advocate for bringing Customer Experience and Operational Excellence together holistically. It goes beyond one or the other — it involves understanding user journeys and human struggles within those processes, ensuring alignment with the overall objectives. Doing so enables the “Symmetry of Attention” to balance the Customer’s and the Employee’s needs. Studies state that an increased engagement of up to 47% was achieved by boosting user interaction* by redesigning the user’s activity and experience. For instance:

  • Defining the use cases of a Generative AI powered Chatbot taking in account both Employee and Customer Experiences.

The Who in this context refers to the people—both employees and customers. Balancing these elements is crucial for maintaining service quality. By choosing a human-centered change management approach, we can engage people* more effectively and tailor our approach to address their needs. Examples of the Who include:

  • Identifying Champions to support the Business Analyst work of describing the key functionalities of the application.
  • Increasing employee engagement by clearly communicating the need for the change, the benefits brought about by the change, and how employees can get support during the transition phase.
  • Implementing a knowledge management culture to improve onboarding and upskilling.

We believe that a successful service transformation journey is rooted in this holistic methodology, which leverages the understanding of the How to create a custom change readiness plan centred around people—generating enthusiasm for the Why and achieving the What seamlessly. This approach not only enhances process efficiency and customer experience within the same project but also fosters a culture of collaboration and innovation, driving sustainable success within the company.Top of Form

*Notes & References

(1) Harvard Business Review, The Secret Behind Successful Corporate Transformations, 2023

(2) Consulting firm specialising in customer experience and relations, which launched the “Symmetry of Attitudes – Happy Team, Happy Customers” label in 2020.

(3) Digital Experience Benchmark Report, 2023

(4) McKinsey, The Science behind successful organisational transformations, 2021

Picture of Alexiane Richard-Bole

Auteur : Alexiane

Performance & Change, Management Consultant


Auteur : Vipin

Performance & Change, Management Consultant


Auteur : Catherine

Performance & Change, Management Consultant