In an age of turbulent times it’s often risky to stick your neck out and make predictions.  But as the SAS say, “he who dares wins”!

So, looking ahead with respect to the customer service sector, what’s in store for us? I have outlined below, and in no particular order, some of my predictions for the foreseeable future.

1. Price deflation across many sectors

Increasing global competition will further drive down prices. Margins will be tighter than ever before.

Organisations will need to re-engineer their interaction and engagement with customers. The internet makes every company accessible 24/7 and with a click of the PC mouse organisations will need to become so much more customer-centric to compete effectively. Customer service will become ever more important in gaining a strategic competitive advantage.

2. Customer engagement will become more complex

Telephone, text, fax, email, online forms – today there are a plethora of methods for contacting an organisation.

Organisations must resource to mirror customers changing and preferred contact methods. Failure to do so will result in customer frustration and ultimately dissatisfaction.

3.  Social networking

Is a valuable route to customer feedback and manage opinion. A key marketing route to get your product and services adopted.

4.  Increased workplace stress

The increased stress levels amongst customer service operatives, has been well documented.  Current budget cuts mean that there is less customer contact time available and, in particular, staff working in call centres are coming under more and more pressure.

Expect to see absenteeism rise even further; particularly in the public sector.

5. Increasing marketplace dynamism

The world today is changing faster than ever before and companies who innovate and resource their customer service strategy the most effectively will have a distinct competitive advantage.

6. The return of the UK call centre will continue

Companies now realise that when delivering customer service, cost isn’t the only driving force. The almost universal customer opinion that overseas call centres are not user-friendly has even seen a number of organisations featuring their UK call centre proposition heavily in television advertising.

7.  New York New York the city that never sleeps

This will now need to apply to all geographies and industrial sectors.  Access and turnaround times will need to be 24/7. We want things fast and we want them now.

8.  The UK will continue to be a service based economy.

It is no good operating in a service based economy if we fail to provide excellent customer service. Either get on the bus or jump off. Standards will only increase as customers become ever more demanding.

9. Increasing consumer power

Consumer opinion prevented the X Factor single from reaching No. 1 at Christmas 2009.  Expect to see more of the like across all sectors where customers can vote with their feet or at the press of a button!

10.  Everyone is an expert

Consumer rights, health and safety, legal rights et al, have both an upside as well as a downside. But one thing is for sure, you better understand their implications for both your personal and working life.


Continue to innovate and place the customer at the heart of your business. Make sure you advocate transparency and engage in an active customer dialogue. Remember, reputations take lots of investment and a long time to build.  However, reputations can be destroyed in hours – remember Hoover, Northern Rock, Birmingham Social Services to name but a few.