Skip to content
Vector illustration of groups of people who inject money into an idea on a swing and outweighs it, the concept of overweight, value, purchase

Those who follow our weekly updates and recent media appearances know that I have been vocal about the current cycle of short-termism seen across business, the public sector and Government that is holding back growth in the UK.

While the economy narrowly escaped recession last week, concerns around future growth persist, fuelled by a cooling labour market and now rising unemployment. As a nation, we have reached a critical juncture in our journey towards economic stability.

A key question remains to be answered: where will the UK’s next phase of growth come from?

To me, the answer is there in plain sight. We know that 80% of the UK’s GDP is generated by the services sector. Within manufacturing too, service – and relationships more broadly – is critical and something that we as a nation should nurture. I hinted at this last week, and the service sector feels like a natural place to focus for the UK economy, particularly if we are serious about attracting inward investment and encouraging countries and organisations to trade with us.

Our Manifesto – a plan for growth and change with service at its heart

Any plans for driving business productivity and improving economic performance must start with the service agenda. Plainly put, we need to build a true Service Nation to power a thriving future.

As you may have heard me mention on the BBC’s Wake Up to Money programme yesterday morning, the Institute’s Manifesto for Building a Service Nation is all about driving growth through service. The Manifesto can be read in full here.

To achieve a Service Nation, our Manifesto sets out four key asks of the next Government:

  1. Encourage organisations to invest in their staff, to upskill both customer-facing staff and business leaders and build a culture of professionalisation and service excellence
  2. Review policy which leads corporate governance to steer businesses towards sustainable growth and performance
  3. Protect vital public-facing workers in every sector from abuse and hostility at work
  4. Ensure regulated sectors consistently deliver the customer service standards the public rightly deserve

Over the coming weeks, I’ll address each of these pillars in greater depth, but for now, I want to focus on the first.

Investing in staff and service

Two-thirds of UK employees spend a significant amount of time engaging with customers. It is crucial these staff have the skills, equipment, and confidence needed to deliver a high level of service. Embracing a “right first time” approach to service will build trust and restore confidence.

And this extends beyond frontline workers. Service excellence should be a key tenet of any organisation’s culture, spanning all levels of the business – including the board and C-suite.

To support this, we’re calling for a review of the Apprenticeship Levy to allow organisations that contribute to draw on the Levy’s funding to improve their service delivery and foster an excellent service culture.

Customer service is a vital business asset that requires investment like any other to drive long-term growth. Businesses that do this already are reaping the rewards of greater customer loyalty and staff retention, both of which translate to repeat business and profitability.

Your thoughts on Building a Service Nation

I would be delighted to hear from you – as we explore each of these pillars – about how your organisation is investing in the service proposition and how we might utilise service to fuel economic growth and build a more prosperous future.

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.

Back To Top