The Brief

Adnoc Distribution’s recent IPO kicked off a process of transforming the company from a monopolistic government agency into a more commercial, customer-focused and responsive business.

The company was spun out of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) — the world’s 12thlargest oil producer and the Middle East’s most valuable retailer brand — in December 2017.

However, despite the successful IPO, legacy issues that needed to be resolved in order for Adnoc Distribution to meet its ambitious targets included overcrowding at peak times, facilities that were not in line with customer expectations and needs, and a retail experience that was not as good as it needed to be.

One of Adnoc Distribution’s core strategies was to convert some of its petrol pumps to self-service where, rather than having their tanks filled by team members as had been the case until then, customers could choose to do so themselves.

Customers would have the choice between paying a team member to fill their tank or doing so themselves. This choice was an integral part of Adnoc’s transformation strategy.


CGA was initially called in to ensure that the switch from customers having their tanks filled for free to choosing between self-service or paying for somebody to do it for them was seen by customers as a positive, experiential offering. This also included dealing with forecourt congestion and traffic direction in busy times.

Following the success of this project, CGA was tasked with mapping and diagnosing the entire customer journey from refuelling to visiting the convenience store, using the facilities, praying at the on-site mosque (at some stations), and other services such as the car wash or oil and tyre changes.

Our Approach

Insight & Implementation

Working with the Adnoc Distribution team, we discovered while the shift to self-service was a clear business imperative, it was less clear how customers would respond to being asked to pay for a tank-filling service that had previously been provided for free.

Previous attempts to roll out self-service fuel pumps had not been successful because Adnoc Adnoc Distribution had only offered self-service without giving the option of being served by a team member. The new offering, dubbed Flex, gave customers the choice of how they wanted to be served.


There was a risk that because the service had previously been free value-conscious customers would be unwilling to pay. Previous trials had refunded the service fee with discount vouchers, but these had been unsuccessful. They key to successful implementation of the strategy would be ensuring that customers received a superior experience for their money.

In order to deliver this CGA applied its Heartbeat® journey mapping methodology to highlight the way forward. We did experience audits and Heartbeat® journey mapping across the business’ offerings where we observed how Adnoc was serving customers before the switch. Through this exercise we were able to look at the business from the customer’s point of view and identify pain points and moments of truth.

Heartbeat is CGA’s proprietary journey mapping methodology which brings the voice of customers to life and identifies where proactive intervention and change offer the greatest value.

It assesses the functional and emotional expectations of customers and measures the gap between these and perceptions of how well the business delivers them. It supports change programmes and predicts where future focus will offer the greatest rewards through increased revenue, higher margins and better relationships.


The CGA project was the first step in an ongoing transformation programme to make the business more customer-centric.

Through CGA’s effective application of the Heartbeat customer journey mapping methodology the Flex programme was rolled out according to schedule. Time was of the essence – the timing of the roll out of self-service was planned and it needed to be done in time.

CGA also helped manage the launch and with the preparation of pre-launch materials explaining the different offerings to customers.

Congestion and traffic direction at busy times was dealt with in the roll out of Flex. CGA suggested organisational changes and tools to deal with peak demand times.

Through the CGA diagnosis of Adnoc Distribution’s business, the company was also able to see, from its customers’ perspective, issues with the quality of all its non-fuel services and act appropriately to remedy them.


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