Customer-service employees: love ’em or lose ’em

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The message from a major new report is that if you have staff involved in customer service you better get them engaged and trained up: the alternative could be loss of competitiveness, an increase in your staff turnover rate and even longer-term business failure. Why? Because technology and increased international competition will make good service even more important to business success in the coming years and decades.

“While weaker firms are investing more heavily in standardised service processes, leading firms are prioritising staff training and development, and also working harder to define service standards and goals.” This was one of the conclusions of the Economist Intelligence Unit report, which questioned nearly 500 business leaders from across the world on the customer service ‘megatrends’ they expected to see over the next few years.

Customer service staff – key findings

Economist Intelligence Unit Service 2020 report

  1. Global competition will drive up standards of customer service: 55% expected to compete primarily on service by 2020, not quality or cost of their products and/or services.
  2. Customers will expect service faster, and won’t compromise quality: 82% said their clients and customers expected faster service than they did five years ago, and expected that trend to continue, with companies that save their customers time likely to be more successful.
  3. Good employees will remain vital to good service: While there’s more focus on ‘DIY service’, like buying online or using self-serve kiosks within businesses, the importance of qualified, competent staff will remain vital – 82% said personal interaction would remain part of their customer service.
  4. Outsourcing service will increase: Many companies forecast they would employ specialist experts, perhaps on a freelance basis, to handle specialist queries.


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