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Addressing the hostility faced by front-line staff

In July 2020 we launched our new campaign: Service with Respect. BBC Breakfast helped highlight this important issue, interviewing our CEO, Jo Causon, about the aims of the initiative.

With nearly 80% of the UK’s workforce working in customer-facing roles, mounting abuse is affecting staff across every sector – from retail to public services; financial institutions to our public transport networks.

Our research reveals more than half of customer-facing staff have experienced abuse from customers since the start of the pandemic – ranging from verbal abuse such as shouting and abusive language to, in the most extreme cases, physical assaults.

After our All-Party Parliamentary Group meeting on New essential workers: Lockdown, ‘new normal’ & customer service, we wrote an ✉ open letter (co-signed by Philip Davies MP and Chris Evans MP) calling on Government, businesses and customers to take action to address this issue.

Service with Respect Logo

BBC Breakfast - combating abuse (March 2021)

BBC News Feature & Interview (March 2021)

Campaign supporters
Total employees
Combined turnover

What your organisation can do

We know from our research that the majority of staff feel well supported by their employer, but as we continue to face tough business conditions ahead, we urge all organisations not to let this fall by the wayside. We’re asking that organisations across all sectors:

  • support the campaign by displaying the logo and spreading the word on social media
  • adopt a zero tolerance approach to hostility and abuse against your employees
  • hold regular catch ups with your front-line staff and keep close to what is happening in their day – encourage them to report incidents
  • invest in appropriate training and tools for staff to handle the new (and increasingly challenging) duties they are being tasked with, and to deal with potential conflict as it arises

Show your support

Please show your support for this campaign – and the safety and wellbeing of all front-line workers – by displaying the campaign logo on your website.

Please also spread the message on social media using the hashtag #servicewithrespect and tag us @instituteofcs (Twitter) and @Institute of Customer Service Institute (LinkedIn).

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