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As we approach the New Year, our 2023 Trends Report highlights the challenging environment organisations face as UK society becomes more divided, tensions rise and customer spending contracts.

Attitudes continue to become more polarised, and supporting those who need it through the cost of living crisis presents both an opportunity and a threat for businesses. External issues such as strikes, inflation, tax increases, public spending squeezes, and low/negative growth will force organisations to manage costs, and some will inevitably risk losing trust and suffering the reputational consequences that come with cutting back on service provision.

Those organisations which allow service standards to drop, will feel the impact on the bottom line – not always immediately, but inevitably and significantly in the longer term. Our ROI research – which we will be running again in 2023 – shows that organisations consistently earning higher levels of customer satisfaction achieve stronger financial results than peers in their sector.  We are also seeing concerns will grow about failures of organisations providing essential services to meet acceptable minimum levels of service.

Somewhat unusually in a recession, recruitment and retention will still pose a significant challenge next year, with almost 30 per cent of employees planning to quit their job in the next 12 months, and with only half of customer services recruitment proving successful according to our Work With a Purpose research.

The coming economic storm will highlight many failures of corporate governance: leaders need to consider this more and better understand the role it plays in building trust in organisations.

As we all seek to improve productivity, skills, and infrastructure to ensure our businesses retain fit for purpose and ready to thrive in the new world, we will need to avoid distractions and move beyond the constant firefighting and crisis management. The key to doing so lies in strategic planning (including better workforce planning) and executional excellence. We need to sell the vision of where we are going and drive all those around us to get there!

In 2023, let’s not get blown off course by all the doom and gloom around us. By keeping our focus on the things that will bring long-term success while balancing short-term challenges, we can set ourselves up for success.

Jo Causon

Jo joined The Institute as its CEO in 2009. She has driven membership growth by 150 percent and established the UK Customer Satisfaction Index as the country’s premier indicator of consumer satisfaction, providing organisations with an indicator of the return on their service strategy investment.

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