Connectivity in a disrupted world - Institute of Customer Service Conference 2017

By Ellie Scott / 07-04-2017

In March, The Institute of Customer Service held its annual conference, bringing together over 300 business leaders from a cross-section of industries to discuss the importance of the customer. Each year, the conference aims to challenge, inform, and provide fresh insight and thinking in a world and time which is far from simple and constantly changing. The theme this year was ‘Connectivity in a Disrupted World.’

The opening address from Institute CEO Jo Causon looked back on 2016 - a year of surprises, shocks and disruption. The impact of Brexit will take years to unfold, but the effect was instant. The appointment of Trump was a shock for the world of business. We have seen evidence of the polarisation of society – and the challenges for young people having to struggle to get by. In the midst of these challenges, we have seen genuine developments and moments of real connectivity. Technology can increasingly connect us all – and social media can be a force for good.

So how does this bring us to customer service?

In the most recent UK Customer Satisfaction Index, customer satisfaction has increased to its highest since 2013. This is due in part to increases in the traditionally low performing sectors, such a transport and utilities. However, customer effort and problems are up. Employee skills, behaviours and attitudes are therefore key priorities: employee engagement and investment in skills has moved from a differentiator to an imperative. Indeed, with almost 80% of GDP being service related, skills development must be a priority.

Organisations are always going forward or backwards, never standing still. In a time of constant change, agility and innovation are the keys to survival.