Case Study

User research brings a global business closer to its customers

How Waters Corporation built its brand with experience-led transformation

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Waters Corporation has more than 7,000 employees focused on developing analytical solutions, software, and services for scientists. Whether they're discovering new pharmaceuticals, exploring ways to treat diseases, or assuring the safety of the world's food and drinking water supplies, scientists in more than 100 countries rely on its products.


  • Supported with collating qualitative and quantitative user research
  • Deployed intelligent software to store, design, and standardize comprehensive customer personas
  • Provided strategic support to continuously improve personas and expand into journey mapping


  • To differentiate from the competition by consistently delivering exceptional experiences for customers
  • Guidance on business transformation through a user-centric lens


  • Actionable and standardized research-based personas, used by employees across the business
  • Comprehensive journey maps that highlight pain points and best practices at every touchpoint
  • Stronger customer relationships and brand differentiation in an increasingly competitive market


A need to enhance research, alignment, and standardization

Waters Corporation is known for its groundbreaking scientific technology. For many years, the company has been a market leader, but pressure was mounting to find ways to differentiate from the competition. Management realized that enhanced customer experiences were key to continued success. If Waters could find a way to exceed expectations across every touchpoint, loyalty and engagement would improve.

At Waters, the Customer Experience and Knowledge Management (CXKM) department is always looking for new ways to put the customer first. Creating customer personas – realistic profiles based on comprehensive data – is one example of its work. The department had been using personas for many years to inform business decisions, but knew its personas were not as comprehensive as they could be. In addition, the department did not use personas widely across the business. An ad hoc approach to persona development by various project teams resulted in inconsistencies. Limited research led to incomplete and often misleading information about users. And sometimes, teams didn't use personas at all, which led to a lack of alignment.

As part of its commitment to improve customer experiences, Waters embarked on a company-wide initiative to develop, implement, and scale a standardized methodology for personas. The objective was to create a sense of customer-centricity across the business through this new way of working.

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A customer-centric approach across the business

Waters wanted to empower employees with user personas that illustrated customer needs, preferences, and expectations across all touchpoints, channels, and devices. Waters turned to TandemSeven, now a Genpact company, for support with its experience-led transformation.

Waters used qualitative and quantitative user research to create personas, backed by Cora Journey360 software. With this approach, the CXKM department could store, collate, and update personas. Based on data from interviews, surveys, meetings, user forums, and usability testing sessions, the team created more than 25 comprehensive and actionable personas for use across the business. Whether project teams needed personas for external customer or internal employee insights, they could find valuable information about their target audience using the CXKM department's persona library. From lab technicians, to scientists, lab managers, and directors, Waters employees could find insights on persona goals, preferences, stresses, and objectives all in one place.

“Just as Waters looks to differentiate based on exceptional customer experiences, so too does Genpact," says Nancy Anderson-Semple, CX/UX consultant, Waters. “As we look to innovate customer experience in our industry, Genpact has helped us to deliver products and services that truly address the needs of different users. As our needs have evolved, the support and advice from the Genpact team has been outstanding."

Waters expanded its user research into journey maps, which provide a detailed visualization of the experience customers have as they interact with the company through a process, system, or service. These maps help Waters to identify pain points, best practices and align stakeholders across some of the most pivotal experiences it offers. The insight gained enables teams to correct issues and prevent them from happening again in the future.


Innovation today, tomorrow, and into the future

Today, Waters uses personas and journey maps widely. These initiatives have created a customer-centric community. Every employee, regardless of role, can use personas and journey maps at the start of their projects. This has aligned different parts of the organization around a common view of the customer and helped them to see where opportunities to transform experiences exist.

“Customer personas are used throughout the company," says Anderson-Semple. “When it comes to journey maps, we run design thinking workshops to build them in real time and then replicate the data within the software so that the information is accessible to everyone. It's been a huge shift in mindset. Everyone is thinking about the importance of getting the customer experience right."

Waters further advanced its experience-led transformation with a significant investment in a state-of-the-art Experience Design Center. The center takes usability testing and experience innovation to the next level. With continuous testing based on persona scenarios and journeys, the center brings together teams from hardware, software, chemistry, global markets, services, and digital design to improve the entire product lifecycle. With testing capabilities and observation rooms for anonymized user feedback, the center enables Waters to better understand users and map out future-state experiences. Even though its center is in the US, Waters employees and customers across the globe can connect remotely so that everyone has a holistic view of customer needs and can contribute to the process.

“When we talk to customers and show them what we're doing with user research, journey maps, and the Experience Design Center, they value our resolve to fully understand their jobs," says Anderson-Semple. “They see that we listen to them, invest in them, and take their needs seriously, which not only strengthens individual relationships, but improves the company's reputation. This is a key differentiator, critical to our leadership in a competitive market."

Going forward, Waters is exploring how to improve internal employee experiences that ultimately contribute to customer satisfaction. For example, Asia Pacific field service specialists wanted to streamline processes for product testing and qualification checks in local languages. By creating a journey map for the localization team, the team could analyze each step in the process to identify where it could make improvements. This exploration of employee experiences marks the start of the next phase of Waters' experience-led transformation.

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