The role of government in customer service

5th Feb 2018

A loss of £28 billion in productivity through poor customer service has focused Parliamentary minds on the bigger national picture. “If we can all understand how better service improves productivity, we’d get more of our legislation to support this,” says Liberal Democrat peer Lord Scriven.

Scriven sits on the All Party Parliamentary Group on Customer Service. “The connection service has with the bigger national picture – on what’s driving the economy – couldn’t be more important,” he says.

He has a point. With nearly £28 billion worth of productivity lost to bad service, Scriven thinks that MPs can play a part in changing this.

But what kind of service changes can we expect once MPs step in? So far, legislators have scrapped mobile roaming charges and broadband speed is now being scrutinised. “This is partly because MPs are becoming more aware of their constituents’ wants,” Scriven says.

Since legislators introduced fines for late-running trains, rail companies are now more likely to update their passengers on the status of late services. “Not all companies change their service promises with they’re forced to, although many do, which is where legislation – government – has a role,” he explains.

Broadband is one area where the sector has been slow to respond to consumers, which is why the government is stepping in to help. In January 2018’s UK Customer Satisfaction Index (UKCSI), the telecommunications and media sector scored 74.2, which is well below the UK’s all-sector average of 78.1.

“Customer service now means so much more – it’s not just how complaints are dealt with,” Scriven concludes. “Customer service needs to encompass strategies like driving up skills, and responding to how we invest in our industrial strategy. It needs to be thought through.”

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