New government trailblazer standard focuses on customer service

17th Sep 2015

The Institute of Customer Service welcomes the publishing of the new Customer Service Practitioner Apprenticeship Standard which has been approved by the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills. The new standard will ensure that businesses benefit from equipping new employees with the customer service expertise that will make a real impact on their bottom line.


The Customer Service Trailblazer Employer Group responsible for developing these standards has been chaired by Boots UK with The Institute acting as the expert professional body. As part of the government’s drive to reform apprenticeship standards, this group has worked collaboratively to provide a framework for the development of customer service based apprenticeship programmes that can be used in all sectors and roles where there is a focus on delivering service excellence. The skills knowledge and behaviours built into the standard will provide the apprentices with the support they need to succeed in the workplace. 


Consisting of organisations from numerous sectors, including utilities, retail and telecommunications, the employer group will ensure that consistent levels of excellence in customer service are rolled out across UK plc. Crucially this will equip the UK’s workforce with a core set of transferrable customer service skills that can be applied in any role, in any industry.


With more than 70% of the UK’s workforce operating in customer-facing roles, access to these skills will prove a huge benefit to employees and employers alike. Individuals with these skills will become a key competitive advantage for their companies, as they will be equipped with transferrable skills to contribute positively to a rapidly changing relationship between customers and organisations. This opens the door for ongoing personal career progression in customer service which simultaneously, puts organisations on a strong footing to grow and increase market share. 


“Businesses have to realise that we have moved from a transactional economy into a relationship economy, where companies need to engage in a two way conversation with increasingly demanding customers,” comments Jo Causon, CEO of the Institute of Customer Service.


“New people entering the workplace are going to play a huge part in building these relationships. The majority of the roles they are going into will be underpinned by customer service, so it is crucial that they can make a positive impact for UK plc from day one. This is why we believe our work with leading employers and the government to set consistent standards for customer service is so important. If we do not, UK plc will suffer and many businesses will see their market share diminish.” 


Simon Roberts, Executive Vice President of Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. and President of Boots, comments:  “Caring for customers and patients is at the heart of our business, so we are pleased to have been able to work with like-minded businesses and the Institute of Customer Service through the trailblazer programme to help continue to set the standard for customer care.  The new Customer Service Practitioner Apprenticeship Standard will provide the platform for further training for apprentices and help to further improve the quality of customer care and service skills across all industries in the UK.”


Notes to editors

For further information please contact:
Nathan Field / Michael Creane / Tom Ingoldby

E: [email protected]

T:  020 7680 5500


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 400 organisational members – from the private, public and third sectors – and over 5,000 individual memberships.  For more information about the Institute of Customer Service go to:

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