Ambulance Victoria mapping the way forward with market research

In mid-2023 Ambulance Victoria (AV) enlisted the help of Square Holes to build and present a member journey map with “visual punch” to weed out any pressure points and provide a holistic view of their current customer offering through the AV Membership Scheme.

Engaging with key AV staff through a number of workshops, Square Holes developed two draft journey outputs (one for existing members and one for new members) before testing these outputs across member focus groups and one-on-one interviews – with the goal to refine key stages of the journey.

Mark Howard, Senior Manager, Membership Services, who spearheaded the project, has worked with AV for over thirteen years, and says that he is always looking to deliver the best experience for all of AV’s members.

“I’m always looking to make sure what we deliver is in line with expectations for the whole of the state, which is our potential customer base. We’ve got over 2.8 million financial members, so over 50% of the state are members of the scheme, and they all have differing opinions on how they want things delivered,” says Howard.

“We’re always on the lookout to make sure we’re doing things the way we think we should, but also the way that aligns with citizens expectations.”

While AV does vigorous customer research in house, Mark states that it was important to employ a third-party organisation in order to receive an independent and honest reflection of their service pathway as it stands.

“I wanted to have a current view that was independent of my team’s view on how the process works for customers. We reached out to a few providers and the Square Holes service offering aligned with where we wanted to sit,” says Howard.

“I’m fairly hands on, so having that collaborative approach to how we did the journey mapping was important to me. Getting the option of feedback from our internal stakeholders, our call centre team as well as the customer base – Square Holes offered the whole solution for us.”

Mark says that it was important to get an outsider’s view of the process through market research, because as an organisation sometimes you are too close to the service to be objective.

“I think it’s really important to get that independent view because then you’re not tinting it with your own opinion or your own thoughts on how things work. You’ve built that process, you’re intimate with it, you’ve done all the documentation for it,” says Howard.

“Using Square Holes to facilitate sessions and focus groups also allows everybody in that focus group to feel free to talk and touch on the things that need work, but also talk about things that are going well.”

The process enabled Mark and his team to gain insights into the inner workings of their current call centre provider, while also allowing staff the freedom to provide an uninhibited look into how the process works on the ground for them.

“You don’t get a lot of opportunities to receive unfettered feedback. So, what we found with Square Holes was we were hearing stuff that even though we asked for it on a consistent basis we weren’t being told – around where agents were having challenges with some of the processes or systems,” says Howard. “We’re not only getting where customers are having challenges with the process or system, we’re seeing where the agents are having challenges. Then we can address that with our service provider as well.”

Another key aim of the project was to produce a commercial quality visualisation of the journey a customer would undertake when engaging with an Ambulance Victoria Membership. Square Holes worked closely with a local designer in order to bring this vision to life.

“The deliverable that we were looking for was an executive document which explained the customer’s journey, but also a visual roadmap of how the customer interacts with us based on what they’re trying to do, where those roadblocks might be, or where they are meeting challenges,” says Howard.

“Square Holes were able to visually represent that as an executive deck. We do executive decks all the time, but I wanted something that had a little bit of visual punch to it.”

AV new member customer road map created in conjunction with designer Jeremy DV Boyd.

Square Holes Founder and Managing Director, Jason Dunstone says that market research has the power to reveal certain insights that people within the organisation are sometimes too close to see.

“Vital growth can come from giving your customers the opportunity to provide unbridled feedback on the strong and, more importantly, sore points in your organisation,” says Dunstone.

What the study helped Mark and his team articulate, is that many Victorians and newcomers are unclear there is a personal financial cost to them each time they use an ambulance service.

Mark adds that there is a very real concern around the lack of community awareness, and the possibility that people will turn down potentially lifesaving care because of anxiety around costs.

“At the moment, people are coming into Victoria unaware there’s a cost to use ambulance services,” says Howard. “So, we were able to use that in our monthly executive deck to highlight the fact that because we haven’t advertised since 2015, our acquisition rates have been declining.”

“There’s a gap in the community at the moment around communication of the costs, and the customer journey mapping highlights that.”


Square Holes offers customised research for leaders and innovators in local and global markets. For more information and to submit a quote please contact us for a no obligations chat.

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