Western Union finds new ways to use the Voice of the Customer as a compass for future opportunity

Western Union has been an industry giant in the money transfer business for over a century. Since its inception in 1851, Western Union has been at the forefront of the advancement of communication technology and money management. Operating in over 200 countries worldwide, it is the oldest, safest and most efficient way to move money and stay connected for businesses and consumers.

The challenge.

Western Union felt disconnected from their customers. They were on the cutting edge of development when it came to new products, but they lacked the understanding necessary to identify their customers’ needs. This detachment led to many product failures. Western Union recognized the need for a deeper understanding of what it meant to struggle financially.

The solution.

Innovation Focus was commissioned to organize and lead the research that would bring the Western Union Team to a deeper understanding and appreciation of a lower income demographic. The IF team coached and equipped the WU team for ethnographic research.


This research, jointly conducted and facilitated by IF, allowed the group of WU professionals to catch a glimpse of what it was like for families living on less than $25,000 per year. They found out what these families cared about, what they struggled with, and uncovered areas of opportunity. One team member described these sessions as “the best [two hour] investment our company has ever made.”


The team was excited to apply what they learned in the next step of the research process: Data Synthesis and an Innovation Session. In this unique process, Innovation Focus leads the team in organization of data and insights and then helps them to take this raw information and make it evolve into ideas and concepts for implementation. Four of the ten final concepts were approved in consumer research and business strategies were formed to implement the concepts. These four concept strategies were projected to have a value of $40 million annually. These concepts were presented to the president and his executive committee by five of the consumers involved in the ethnography and ideation.

The result.

The change in mindset and approach has had a rippling effect on the company.


Western Union’s involvement in communities worldwide in business, charities, and individual lives has earned them hundreds of awards and recognitions. Western Union’s consideration of every customer voice is evident and now guides their business practice.

Western Union, http://www.westernunion.com