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The leading forum for customer service thought leadership and best practice in the UK

The event draws hundreds of business leaders and service professionals to learn from examples of global service excellence and share best practice.

A glimpse of our last conference – March 2020

Grab your tickets for 19 October 2021!

Date: 19 October 2021
Venue: London Hilton on Park Lane

Customer Service 2021: Redefining the Service Nation – Building a better future

19 October 2021, Hilton Park Lane, London

The Institute of Customer Service Annual Conference is the biggest forum for customer service thought leadership and best practice in the UK. The event draws hundreds of service professionals and business leaders together to learn from examples of global service excellence and share best practice.

The Institute’s UK Customer Satisfaction Awards follows this, find out more here.

Last year was our highest rated conference yet and we will be doing everything we can to make the next one even better. It will again be a live event, but we may need to limit capacity depending on circumstances.

Dr Peter Carter OBE

Peter Carter was CEO of the Royal College of Nursing from January 2007 to August 2015. Prior to that he was CEO of the Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust for 12 years.

He is now an Independent Healthcare Consultant. Since leaving the RCN he has worked across the UK and internationally he has worked in ten countries. He has on three occasions been asked by the NHS in England to be the interim Chairman of NHS Trusts. From November 2016 to March 2017 he was the Chairman of the Medway NHS Trust and from October 2017 to February 2018 Chairman of the East Kent University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. In February 2019 he commenced an assignment as Chair of the North Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust ending in October 2019.

He has written articles for journals, newspapers and chapters in books, appeared in TV documentaries and has been interviewed many times on TV and radio. He has twice been the subject of the BBC TV programme Hardtalk.

Joanna Jensen - Founder & Executive Chairman, Childs Farm

Joanna Jensen is the Founder & Executive Chairman of the UK’s number one baby and children’s toiletry brand, Childs Farm. In July 2020, following huge demand from adults using the children’s range, she launched an adult skincare brand called Farmologie.

Joanna is a mother of two. Her daughters, Mimi and Bella, were the inspiration behind the launch of Childs Farm and the products she created.

As a child, Joanna was prone to eczema but her second child, Bella was allergic to everything and also suffered from Atopic Eczema. She tried so many different brands, but nothing was suitable, and Bella often had very sore, red raw skin. To help Bella, Joanna started creating her own homemade products with natural ingredients – the results were amazing, and so she decided to create a range that would also help other children.

Alison Jaap - Customer Director, first direct

Alison is responsible for delivering pioneering service across firstdirect, tackling the dual challenge of maintaining firstdirect’s existing number 1 position for customer service while adapting to meet the demands of a new generation of highly demanding digital customers. She has worked in financial services across the globe for over 20 years, leading a range of programmes to improve customer experience, reduce costs and create agility. She has a passion for creating organisations with the customers at their heart.

Lord Karan Bilimoria - Founder, Cobra Beer

Karan Bilimoria is the founder of Cobra Beer, Chairman of the Cobra Beer Partnership Limited, a Joint Venture with Molson Coors, and Chairman of Molson Coors Cobra India. In the Monde Selection, one of the most prestigious quality awards in the world for beer, the Cobra range have collectively been awarded a total of 111 Gold and Grand Gold medals since 2001, making it one of the most awarded beers in the world.

Lord Bilimoria is the Founding Chairman of the UK India Business Council, a Deputy Lieutenant of Greater London, a former Chancellor of Thames Valley University (now the University of West London); he was the youngest University Chancellor in the UK when appointed. Karan was a former Senior Non-Executive Director of the Booker Group now TESCO PLC (2007-2016); he is one of the first two visiting entrepreneurs at the University of Cambridge; he is a founding member of the Prime Minister of India’s Global Advisory Council. In 2006, Karan Bilimoria was appointed the Lord Bilimoria of Chelsea, making him the first ever Zoroastrian Parsi to sit in the House of Lords.

Chris Stylianou - Chief Operating Officer, Sky

Chris Stylianou was appointed Chief Operating Officer, UK and Ireland, in March 2016, expanding his previous role – Managing Director of Sky’s Customer Service Group – which he has held since August 2011.

He is responsible for Sky’s sales and service operations (including our contact centres, digital capability, in-home service and retail division), as well as Sky’s property and data departments, Sky Business and OTT services in Europe.

More speakers to be confirmed soon…

Coming soon!

The Institute are working closely with London Hilton on Park Lane to ensure that this will be going ahead as a live event and in the safest capacity possible. The Hilton themselves have partnered with Lysol Protection on their CleanStay Program to provide guests with peace of mind when visiting. This involves deep cleaning of rooms and common areas, in addition to sanitizing stations throughout the hotel.


For more information please click here.

Date Change FAQs

What is the rationale behind changing the date?

Our Annual Conference is renowned for being at the forefront of strategic thinking for the service profession. We are increasingly confident that in March 2021 we will still be going through some form of restrictions whereas in October, Organisations will have emerged the other side and we will have more important and valuable content to help steer us into the new environment.

Why change the date?

The Institute’s flagship event, attracting 350 to conference and 850 to the Awards celebration is unlikely to be permitted in March – even if large gatherings are allowed, we believe that there may still be a lack of confidence form organisations and individuals to participate in large numbers.

Why not hold a virtual Conference?

Our conference over the past 10 years has grown to be the ‘Annual Calendar event’ for the service profession. It has been designed to be intimate enough to generate meaningful networking and informative enough to shape future thinking. Neither of these causes, we feel, can be adequately served by a virtual event.

Why not hold a virtual Awards?

The UK Customer Satisfaction Awards celebrate service excellence at its absolute best. Our experience of ‘virtual awards’ or ’behind closed doors events’ is that they are lacklustre, impersonal and do not adequately reflect the importance of the achievement.

What is the new date?

We have moved the Conference and Awards to Tuesday 19th October 2021. The venue remains the same, Hilton on Park Lane. All areas of the venue will be Covid-safe and all government guidelines (if any are still in place) will of course be adhered to.

I have paid for my Conference attendance, what happens now?

If you are able to make the new date (and we hope you can) you need do nothing. We would like to offer all paid for ticket holders a small gesture of our appreciation in the form of:

  • Priority seating at the conference
  • 10% discount on our online store for the next 12 months
  • A personalised video recognising service excellence in your organisation if you have undertaken one of our qualifications recently (members only)

If you are now no longer able to make the date, you can transfer your place to a colleague just by dropping an email to and your colleague will benefit from the above benefits.

If you are no longer able to attend and no other colleague is able to take place, we will of course refund you in full for the amount you have already paid.

Will the speakers still be the same?

We are eagerly negotiating with our existing speakers and only one has not yet confirmed availability for the new date with us. At the time of writing we have not had any speakers stand down, but this can change over the coming days. We can assure all delegates that the speaker line up will be peppered with excellent speakers whose knowledge and experience will undoubtedly add value.

I entered the awards – what happens now?

The awards will re-open for entries with a new deadline. Because of the change of date, the Awards organisers will redact all financial information supplied on entries already received so that it doesn’t become out of date. New submissions received before the revised deadline will not require financial information due to the effects of the Coronavirus. Existing entrants can:

  1. Do nothing, and your entry (with financial information redacted) will be seen by the shortlisting panel in the normal way, albeit in June 2021
  2. Use the extended deadline to update their entries at any time before the new deadline
  3. Submit completely new entries to replace existing entries or enter new categories
  4. Withdraw from the awards (all materials submitted will be deleted in this instance)

Please email to let us know your decision.

When is the new awards deadline?

Friday 21 May 2021

If the financial information is redacted will it disadvantage my entry?

No. The financial information – as a measure of the customer service impact – is less reliable this year than in previous years due to the extraordinary trading conditions. All entries into the awards will have the financial information removed, creating an even-playing field.

Are the awards still Free to Enter?

The Awards remain Free to Enter. Organisations can enter as many categories as they feel appropriate, but only one entry per category is permitted.

When will I hear if my entry has been successfully shortlisted or not?

All entrants will be notified of the status of their awards entry during week commencing 14 June 2021.

My organisation is planning a re-brand/restructure early next year does that affect the awards entry?

The re-brand or restructure does not directly affect the entry, however, as we publicise the Finalists on our website and in Awards Programme if you are launching a new logo please make sure that you inform and provide the new logo in hi res eps / png / jpg format so that it may be replaced.

Are ticket prices rising?

No. The Institute is committed to offering value for money and has held prices for another year.

Key Dates

Booking Conference Tickets                      Ongoing

Booking Tables at Awards                          Ongoing

Entering Awards /Amending
Entries / Awards Deadline                         21 May 2021

Awards Shortlisting                                     01 June – 11 June 2021

Finalists Announced                                    14 June 2021 (the week of)

Conference & Awards                                 19 October 2021


We sincerely hope that you are not disappointed by our decision to create a live event which ultimately will add value, provide opportunity and express the right amount of recognition for some of the greatest examples of customer service ever witnessed. We appreciate that in certain circumstances the date change may prove difficult if diaries are already committed, however, if you are able to block out the 19th October 2021 for our conference and/or awards you will experience a truly impressive event which will herald a return to sharing knowledge and celebrating success as it should be.

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