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Making the case for customer service

By Jo Causon, CEO, The Institute of Customer Service

Just a few weeks ago at the beginning of October, organisations across the UK got involved in National Customer Service Week (NCSW). The Institute took a lead role in supporting many of the activities and events.

Once again, it proved a huge success with high levels of engagement from businesses around the country. We saw many imaginative activities to bring the week to life such as a Dragons Den event based around customer service, ‘back to the floor’ exercises as executives hit the frontline, work shadowing, videos being created and posted online, and lots of reward and recognition activity.

There was a plethora of social media activity and engagement, which helped drive NCSW’s reach even further, which is always good to see. It was a busy week for The Institute too, in which apart from organising the week as a whole we hosted a webinar with CrowdControl HQ on customer service in the social media environment and held an important CEO breakfast, which focused on the role of the board and what more NEDs and the Executive team can do to bring customer experience to forefront of an organisation’s strategy.

I also did an interview for BBC Radio 4 with Barbara, a remarkable lady of ninety-one years of age who they have been making a series of programmes with. She interviewed me about what I thought constituted good customer service and it’s due to air in November. She asked me some great questions, but more importantly the whole experience was very humbling and reminded me personally of the difference authentic service can make not just to the organisation but the customer and the employee. NCSW is a fun week, but we also try to bring some real focus to it by structuring each day around a specific theme.

This year we focused on insight, agility, skills, leadership and recognition. More than that, I hope that NCSW gives organisations the opportunity to really reflect on where they are in their customer service journey and what they can do to ensure that service sits at the heart of their purpose and vision. In the last twelve months, our research has shown that there is a tangible ROI to driving a service agenda. Those organisations that are above average in customer satisfaction levels achieve revenue growth approaching 10% year-on-year: what we call the customer service dividend.

Meanwhile, our latest UK Customer Satisfaction Index (UKCSI) revealed that organisations that score highly in customer satisfaction enjoy better results in customer trust, recommendations to others, and repeat purchases. The evidence that the service agenda brings real performance rewards is compelling.

Now, as we approach that crucial time of year for many businesses in the run-up to Christmas, and as businesses navigate all the uncertainties surrounding Brexit in an already volatile environment, it becomes more important than ever that organisations stay resilient and hold to their values and their purpose. I hope that businesses that took part have been able to reflect on NCSW and how they can embed the learnings.

Customer service is about a whole culture and mind-set that should last all year round, all of the time. The organisations that put the service agenda front and centre week in, week out will be the ones that truly reap the benefits.

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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