2017 and beyond: what will drive success for business as UK plc faces up to Brexit

16th Dec 2016

Reports of a slowdown in growth, nervousness in UK Boardrooms and uncertainty over future investment may dominate debate as 2016 draws to a close, but with data suggesting that consumer loyalty is increasingly driven by the attitude and behaviour of customer-facing staff, 2017 could be a year of opportunity for British businesses that prioritise capability over costs.

Analysis of the UK’s organisational landscape by The Institute of Customer Service suggests that 1 in 4 customers want better levels of service, even if it costs more.  Where service standards are rated as excellent - expressed as nine out of ten – 96 of consumers will remain loyal to an organisation, but this figure drops to 66 percent if standards are viewed as ‘good’.

Against this backdrop The Institute has identified the core trends it expects to witness during 2017.  Focusing on Brexit, automation, regulatory requirements and demonstrating a return on investments made, key elements are:

- backing British business: customer satisfaction is higher in the UK than across 7 other European countries surveyed.  Organisations that continue to develop the skills of their customer-facing employees, recognising and promoting their capabilities as a key asset will be better able to secure investment and global opportunities

- a blend of emotional and artificial intelligence: customers want fast, efficient, service, together with empathetic advice.  It means that 2017 is likely to be a year in which technology may lead to a fall in jobs focused on functional transactions and an upturn in organisations combining technology and people-based support services that place personalised care at the forefront of everything they do

- regulating for excellence: 2016 has seen a focus on transparency in sectors such as utilities, banking and telecoms and 2017 is likely to witness a growing momentum for consistent, visible, measures of performance.  Those organisations committed to shining a light on their service capabilities and aspirations are more likely to build long-term customer relationships

- proving a return on investment: in an uncertain economic climate, organisations that view customer service as a cost centre, rather than an asset will risk jeopardising relationships with their customers.  It will mean that, in 2017, it will become more important than ever to demonstrate value from service strategies, showing Boards how a commitment to service excellence drives revenue.

Jo Causon, Chief Executive of The Institute of Customer Service says: “Over the past 12 months there have been noticeable differences in the performance of organisations committed to responding to their customers and those carrying on regardless.  Consumers are increasingly comfortable with the opportunities they have to express their dissatisfaction in open and forthright ways and whilst this may feel intimidating for organisations, the ones that will success in 2017 will be those who respond with honesty, authenticity and transparency.

“In 2017 there will be a renewed sense that the quality of relationships – with customers, employees, partners and stakeholders – will be key to business success and a decent society.  The leaders that build and foster relationships based on respect will be best placed to achieve sustained customer engagement.”


Notes to editors
For further information please contact: 

Helen Glover, Institute press office
E: [email protected]
T: 020 7260 2698 

About The Institute of Customer Service
The Institute of Customer Service is the professional body for customer service delivering tangible benefit to organisations and individuals so that our customers can improve their customers’ experience and their own business performance.  The Institute is a membership body with a community of over 500 organisational members – from the private, public and third sectors – and over 4,000 individual memberships.  For more information about the Institute of Customer Service go to www.instituteofcustomerservice.com.

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