• Organisation: AJ Park
  • Programme Participants: 60 participants
  • Location: Auckland and Wellington
  • Core Business: New Zealand’s leading intellectual property firm
  • Opportunity: To embed a consistent, values-based approach to engaging with clients

A bit of Background

AJ Park partnered with Blacksmith to support the internal launch of their new brand.  Working with key internal stakeholders and Brand Champions we co-created a programme to ‘connect’ the people in the firm with the new brand and the values that underpin it.

Building on this work, the leadership team invited Blacksmith to partner with them once again to support them to shift their focus externally.  They realised there was a big opportunity to engage their people with the AJ Park Values and truly embed them into every client interaction.

Specific attention was given to how the values could be put more ‘front and centre’ in everyday engagement with clients and other stakeholders across the firm. This powerful and consistent focus on aligning client needs, the values and service delivery aimed to increased client satisfaction, advocacy and overall business performance.

What did we do?

We worked closely with AJ Park to deliver a 10-month programme that would engage everyone, at every layer of the organisation, with their role in delivering a consistent, values-based client experience.  We were able to build on the earlier work by getting forensic on what worked really well and what could be done better or differently, and incorporating these insights into the new design.

The ACE (“Awesome Client Experiences”) Programme included six one-day workshops in Wellington and Auckland, each designed around one of AJ Park’s values and a supporting TakeON! TeamTalk theme:

  1. ASTUTE – Understanding Our Clients;
  2. ATTENTIVE – First Impressions;
  3. GLOBAL – Think Joined Up;
  4. APPROACHABLE – Building Client Loyalty;
  5. VITAL – Taking Personal Responsibility; and
  6. Wrap and Review Workshop.

A team of 13 “Linchpins” was identified to lead ACE across the firm. This group participated in each workshop which set them up to lead team-based conversations aligned to the values and client-focused themes. The linchpins were joined by 12 new people for each theme to share the load and offer stretch opportunities for more people.

By the end of the programme more than 60 people had the opportunity to lead a TakeON! TeamTalk theme back in the business.

What were the results?

The ACE Programme contributed to some very concrete results in the 2014 Engagement Survey that AJ Park is very proud of.

Overall engagement increased by 8%, putting AJ Park 9% above the professional services benchmark.

Increase in their communication scores
  • 22% increase in people feeling like their ideas are listened to; and
  • With both results a staggering 25% above the benchmark for other firms.

AJ Park Chief Executive, Pete Boyle also reported that leaders have noticed that people are considering the client’s perspective more and really thinking about what life is like for them. People are also demonstrating they have better clarity about how they play a part in providing great service, regardless of their role.

What clients say

People feel a lot more comfortable bringing their ideas to the surface and knowing we are going to pay attention and do something about them

Lavinia Calvert, Chief Marketing Officer - AJ Park

Blacksmith were able to relate easily to staff at all levels and brought infectious enthusiasm and energy to the workshop sessions. The tools, including the ON2Net, were exactly what we needed to drive through the engagement to the rebrand from our brand champions and ultimately to all staff and partners

Pete Boyle, Chief Executive - AJ Park

It was always stimulating and very engaging and I personally learnt a lot and I think our staff did as well, it was excellent

Lavinia Calvert, Chief Marketing Officer - AJ Park