Jo Causon: “In many sectors, average levels of customer satisfaction are likely to drop”
A pre-event interview with the CEO of The Institute of Customer Service
With less than one week to go until our Customer Engagement Summit, we reached out to the CEO of the Institute of Customer Service Jo Causon to get a sneak peek of her presentation. In an interview, we asked what the event’s attendees will learn from her session and what she predicts for the future of CX in 2024.
PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF AND YOUR ROLE.
I am CEO of The Institute of Customer Service, which is the UK’s independent professional customer service body and exists to help its members improve their performance by enhancing their customer experience. We are also responsible for raising the profile of the importance of service, and how it relates to the performance of the UK.
I have led the organisation for 14 years, working across the public, private and third sectors to ensure The Institute’s vision – of a world where customer experience makes a positive and sustained impact on individuals, organisations, society, and the economic wellbeing of the UK – is fully realised.
As part of this role, I work with businesses, policy makers, and regulators to help build sustainable business practices with a long-term focus on service culture. I also provide strategic advice to boardrooms to focus on raising the standards of service across the UK and demonstrate the connection between customer satisfaction and operational efficiency, long-term growth, and profitability.
The role has given me diverse perspective on UK business, gained through board-level interaction with companies across a wide range of regulated and non-regulated industry sectors – from FTSE 100 companies right across to the public sector. This enables me to have a unique perspective on the impact that the customer service agenda has on all areas of an organisation, whether it’s reputation and risk management, productivity and financial performance, or the appropriate deployment of AI and how we build the workforce of the future.
I have led on our Service with Respect campaign which helped bring in new legislation protecting public-facing workers from customer abuse.
WE ARE DELIGHTED TO HAVE YOU SPEAKING AT OUR UPCOMING CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT SUMMIT THIS MONTH. CAN YOU GIVE US A SNEAK PEEK OF WHAT YOU WILL BE TALKING ABOUT?
I plan to cover a wide range of business areas at the Customer Engagement Summit, with the aim of giving a holistic view of the state of customer service as we enter 2024 – as well as providing some key takeaways for business leaders.
To underpin the session, I’ll be highlighting the significant research undertaken by The Institute of Customer Service. Our latest UK Customer Satisfaction Index (UKCSI) shows a drop in customer satisfaction across all industries. I’ll be digging into why this might be happening, what sectors are faring better than others, and providing some examples of what great looks like and what changes businesses can make to improve their service and business offerings and ultimately their return on investment and profitability.
Naturally, I’ll be discussing the current state of the UK economy and markets, how customer requirements are changing, and how we all need to respond.
WHAT CAN OUR ATTENDEES EXPECT TO LEARN FROM YOUR SESSION?
I want attendees to go away from my session with a stronger understanding of how to build effective service cultures in their workplace.
Crucially, I’ll cover how to use the evidence of the link between employee engagement, customer service, and long-term productivity and profitability – as well as how to measure success effectively.
Essentially, I want business leaders to take away some practical actions and recommendations – whether that’s ensuring service is on the agenda at board level, focusing on a blended approach to service between human interaction and technology, or investing in training and upskilling of service staff.
I’ll also cover the latest customer and consumer trends, and how they interact with and impact the service agenda.
LASTLY, WHAT ARE YOUR PREDICTIONS FOR THE FUTURE OF CX?
Given the external landscape, customer service will continue to be under pressure. In many sectors, average levels of customer satisfaction are likely to drop – our latest UKCSI (July 2023) saw the lowest score since 2015 in customer satisfaction, and we expect this to fall further. There will also be a growing gap between organisations that consistently deliver high standards of service and those that underperform – we are seeing this already with our latest UKCSI results.
Another trend I don’t see going away anytime soon is the rise in hostility against customer service staff we’ve seen post-Covid. In fact, research we just released shows over one-third of public service staff have faced abuse from customers in the last six months. This issue is pan-sector, from retail to financial services to transport, and organisations need to ensure they are training and best-equipping staff for this while utilising technology that promotes both staff and customer safety.
We can’t discuss future trends without mentioning the rise of AI and other technologies. Emerging technology will play an important role and can help ensure customers are quickly directed to someone with the necessary skills and expertise, who can solve their issues promptly and professionally. However, we shouldn’t look to prioritise AI over a human experience – technology is set to remain just one of many tools to utilise when providing great customer service.
If you are interested in attending Jo’s session and learning from other industry experts, make sure you reserve your free ticket for the Customer Engagement Summit.
Location: The Brewery on Chiswell Street, London
Date: Tuesday, 28 November 2023