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

The Institute of Customer Service Annual Conference 2021

Redefining the Service Nation - Building a better future

The effects of this crisis will be felt for years to come – and businesses should be prepared for turbulent times ahead. Applying the lessons learnt over the last year, and maintaining a focus not only on short-term survival, but long-term purpose, will survive and flourish long into the future.

Join us on 19 October for our Annual Conference, we have a real opportunity to think creatively and re-shape our future – building back better to provide a working environment that delivers for both businesses and employees.

📅 19 October 2021

⏰ 09:00–17:00

 📍   London Hilton on Park Lane

🎫 Discounted member pricing

Grab your tickets for 19 October 2021!

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

8.00 – Registration Coffee and Exhibition
9.15 – Conference opening statement

Welcome and agenda for the day, enabling delegates to get the most from the conference and exhibition

9.20 – Defining customer behaviours and business cultures for the new Service Nation

Jo Causon, CEO, The Institute of Customer Service

As the nation comes to terms with the aftermath of Brexit, economic uncertainty and the Coronavirus pandemic, Jo explores how businesses are changing their culture to retain customer support. The focus is on how essential services compared to the branded experience, and how through resilience the service nation kept the country running effectively. Jo identifies the positives and charts the developments that will build a better future.

9.50 – Keeping focus in a crisis

Chris Stylianou OBE, Chief Operating Officer, Sky

Having re-aligned the business around the service agenda, Sky has continued to flourish in the face of stronger competition and challenging market conditions. The sudden downturn in content but increase in demand due to social distancing rules, is a scenario many businesses in several sectors experienced. This session looks at how customer centricity and a strong service culture was the ideal combination to combat the most difficult and unlikely set of circumstances.

10.20 – Taking trusted brands and developing sustainable business

Alison Jaap, Customer Director, first direct

first direct were the forerunners of what was then ‘a new way of banking’ – online, appealing directly to a specific audience and putting customer service at the core of its operations. Their business model has since been replicated by new entrants as well as incumbents. So how does an organisation continuously adapt and flex to stay ahead of the curve and introduce sustainable measures to satisfy a demanding customer base.

10.50 – 11.20 – Coffee and Exhibition

11.20 – The vital components for commercial success

Lord Karan Bilimoria, Founder & Chairman, Cobra Beer Partnership

In this session delegates will be able to acknowledge the positive outcomes from the most turbulent year since the second world war and reflect on the lessons that can be learned to harness both the power of change and the power of resilience. The projections for the economic future through a micro and macro lens will offer insight which may shape the way leaders adapt to the challenges ahead.

11.50 – The change in human behaviour and its effect on the Service Nation

Dr Nilufar Ahmed, Behavioural Pyschologist, Lecturer in Social Sciences, Bristol University

Lockdown and social distancing will have lasting effects for years to come, from a young generation starved of education for three months, to the older generation starved of social interaction for three months. This session explores what the behavioural patterns and changes mean for customers and employees and how it will play its part in redefining the Service Nation

12.20 – The Customer Panel

Chaired by Ayesha Hazarika, Conference Moderator with comment from Dr Nilufar Ahmed, Lecturer in Social Sciences, Bristol University

An insight into real customers and the changing behaviours that have emerged as a result of the pandemic, the changing political and economic environment, and Brexit. Here, delegates will be able to gain customer intentions for the mid- to long-term whilst benefiting from the Behavioural Scientist’s commentary explaining the effects if the panel’s behaviour was replicated across the country.

13.00 – 14.00 – Lunch and Exhibition

14.00 – Coming soon…

14.30 – When business does the right thing

Joanna Jensen, Founder & Chairman, Childs Farm

The coronavirus pandemic saw a raft of businesses positively reacting as the country scrambled to meet demand. From food and hygiene products to PPE and Ventilators organisations adapted their business models. Some developed new revenue streams and some donated products free to those in most need. Joanna reflects on the changing landscape and discusses this new social business development and explains how it can help create new business opportunities.

15.00 – The economic effect of seismic change: what the future holds

Dr Peter Carter OBE, Former CEO, Royal College of Nursing

In this session delegates will be able to acknowledge the positive outcomes from the most turbulent year since the second world war and reflect on the lessons that can be learned to harness both the power of change and the power of resilience. The projections for the economic future through a micro and macro lens will offer insight which may shape the way leaders adapt to the challenges ahead.

15.30 – 16.00 – Coffee and Exhibition

16.00 – Re-imagining the future

Dr Andy Wood OBE DL, Chief Executive, Adnams

Coming soon…

16.30 – Serve and deliver – taking a different approach

Nick Jenkins, Founder, and Former Dragon’s Den Dragon

Coming soon…

17.00 – Conference close.

The UK Customer Satisfaction Awards follows in the evening.


Kantar is the world’s leading evidence-based insights and consulting company. We have a complete, unique and rounded understanding of how people think, feel and act; globally and locally in over 90 markets. By combining the deep expertise of our people, our data resources and benchmarks, our innovative analytics and technology, we help our clients understand people and inspire growth.


More 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.

A glimpse of our last conference - March 2020

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.

Annual Conference 2021 Speakers

Ayesha Hazarika MBE: Columnist and Broadcaster (Annual Conference Host)

Ayesha Hazarika MBE is a columnist and broadcaster who is known for her insightful and witty opinions and observations on current affairs and politics. She hosts the weekend drive time show on Times Radio where she discusses the weeks news and events across Westminster and beyond with a plethora of interesting and engaging guests.

In 2019 she took over as Editor of The Londoner, the Evening Standard’s Daily Diary section, where she distils the latest news and insights from across the capital. Ayesha has presented shows on LBC and was previously a part of the panel discussion show on CNN Talk three times a week (CNN international). She is also a much sought after pundit due to her unique position to analyse and comment on current affairs with great wit and insight appearing regularly across shows including Question Times (BBC), Good Morning Britain (ITV), Sky Papers (Sky News), The Andrew Marr Show (BBC1), Newsnight (BBC2), The Agenda (ITV) and The Today Programme(BBC Radio 4) as well as using her comedy chops on Have I Got News For You (BBC), The News Quiz (BBC Radio 4), Breaking the News (BBC Radio Scotland) and Matt Forde’s Unspun (Dave). She has also presented BBC Radio 4’s Saturday Review leading discussions of cultural events.

Nick Jenkins - Founder, and Former Dragon's Den Dragon

Nick Jenkins is the founder of, the online greeting card retailer. Nick read Russian literature at University before spending eight years working in Moscow running as a commodity trader for Glencore. He left Russia in 1998 and studied for an MBA at Cranfield while trying to develop a number of business plans to start his own business. A week after leaving Cranfield Nick started Moonpig. After five years of losing money the business finally made a profit in 2006 and by 2011 it had five million customers.

Moonpig merged with Photobox in 2011 and Nick sold his remaining shares in the business in 2016 when it was bought by Exponent. It has recently separated from Photobox as an independent company and has twelve million customers. It remains the most popular online greeting card retailer in the world. Nick has since invested in a number of e-commerce and tech businesses and remains a firm believer that customer service is integral part of the product.

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.

Chris Stylianou OBE - Chief Operating Officer, Sky

Chris Stylianou OBE 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.

Joanna Jensen - Founder & Chairman, Childs Farm

Joanna Jensen is the Founder & 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.

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.

Dr Nilufar Ahmed - Behavioural Psychologist, Lecturer in Social Sciences, Bristol University

Dr Nilufar Ahmed, Psychologist, Academic, and Psychotherapist specialises in behaviour and identity. Driven by a passion for equality and inclusion, she works closely with organisations of all sizes from small charities to global multinationals, helping them achieve their visions of cultural change and inclusion. Whether it is one person seeking therapy, or a giant corporation looking to effect change, she delivers the same passion and commitment in working with clients to identify their needs and support them in achieving their goals.

At the University of Bristol she is a leading Covid Expert, and has been commenting on behavioural change and communication since the start of the pandemic. She also holds a position as Antiracism and Inclusion Lead, and teaches professional communication skills. Her expertise in human motivation and behaviour and her ability to engage effectively with different audiences make her an in-demand media contributor across multiple platforms and in different languages.

Dr Andy Wood OBE DL - Chief Executive, Adnams

Andy Wood joined Adnams in 1994, he joined the Board in 2000 as Sales and Marketing Director becoming Managing Director in 2006 and Chief Executive in 2010.

He has a DBA from Cranfield University and Honorary doctorates; in Business from Anglia Ruskin University, in Science from Cranfield University and Civil Law from the University of East Anglia. He was also awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2013 and between 2014 to 2016 was HRH The Prince of Wales’ Ambassador for Responsible business in the East of England.
In 2010 Andy founded and was Chairman of the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership. He is Non-Executive Chairman of SGWM a wealth management company operating throughout East Anglia and a Non-Executive Director of The Hotel Folk and Roys (Wroxham) ltd. Andy is a Governor of Norwich School, a Board Member to the VisitEngland Advisory Board and is Chairman of Visit East of England.

Dr Peter Carter OBE - Former CEO, Royal College of Nursing

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.

A glimpse of our last conference - March 2020

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.

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