Tuesday saw the publication of ‘Customer Trends and Predictions 2024’ from The Institute of Customer Service, with some interesting thoughts on what will be critical if we are to enter a new era in which service is redefined as a powerful brand differentiator:

·      Businesses have often underestimated the importance of a human, personal connection in delivering emotionally satisfying customer experiences. To realise the potential, the focus should be on combining technology, process and people to provide an efficient service delivered with empathy and care.

·      The UK Companies Act is overdue a reform to ensure that boards have more time devoted to customer experience and employee engagement, leading to an increased focus on values and culture in recruitment and development of senior leaders.

·      Those leaders need to understand that customer satisfaction, employee engagement, productivity and shareholder value are interconnected. The ability to articulate these links will have a sharper focus, along with sensitivity to delivering a fair and inclusive customer experience.

·      Customer service will involve a broader range of skills and capabilities, including dealing with complex issues, empathy, personal connection, confidence in technology, resilience, curiosity and commercial awareness. Businesses will need to plan for these, focusing on training impact while demonstrating development and career pathways to retain staff.

·      Forward-looking organisations increasingly recognise good customer service as a reputational asset and poor service as a reputational risk.

Alison Jones, Senior Vice President at global automotive group Stellantis, speaking at the publication’s launch webinar, emphasised that businesses need to move from a basic ‘customer satisfaction’ focus towards genuine ‘customer service’ and ultimately a lasting, positive ‘customer experience’ that acts as a catalyst for improved business performance. 

The full report is available from the ICS as a download here: https://lp.instituteofcustomerservice.com/trends-2024. And of course Please let us know if you would like help with any of the above!


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