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Why the UK is still a world champion when it comes to service excellence

Tue, July 26, 2016

The turbulence of the last few weeks cannot be underestimated, yet it is still too premature to predict how Brexit will affect the wider contact centre and service industry. Even if there are any effects, these won’t come on stream for at least another two years. As a UK outsourcer that services both global and European customers, there was some initial shock and sadness at the ‘leave’ result, however in contrast to the negative reactions from some business leaders, we remain incredibly bullish about the future.

Why? because the UK has a proven and enviable track record when it comes to managing customer relationships and for many leading brands provides a cost-effective centralised service hub for national and international companies that maximises sales and boosts long-term loyalty and retention.

One of the reasons of course that the UK is so successful is down to the maturity of its service culture, which in many cases outperforms its foreign counterparts whether in Europe or further afield. Access to a vast multi-lingual population has also been a crucial factor in providing a localised yet centralised service, and for many of our clients they have seen a threefold increase in sales conversion rates as a result of adopting such an approach. With London being considered France’s sixth largest City in terms of French residents, you can understand why the UK is such an attractive destination for organisations to tap into a rich, cosmopolitan labour force.

So has anything changed as a result of Brexit? The short answer is no, and there are no reasons why this will alter in the future. Service has never been about short-term thinking or cost-cutting for cost-cuttings sake, and any strategies based on these low quality foundations have usually come back to bite the instigators in the shape of disgruntled customers and damage to the overall brand.

The biggest gamble of all in my view is to overlook or reject the UK on the basis of rhetoric, hype or a knee jerk reaction. Rather, for those brands that are still looking to differentiate themselves through service, then they really need to look beyond the headlines and find the real story. The story of a country that has managed to build a strong economy based on providing service across multiple channels and languages around the clock, that has supported thousands of enterprises of all sizes to meet and surpass growth targets year on year and to a country that now represents the largest on-line market in Europe worth £52 billion.

These are the facts and those who focus on the long game will always be the winners. As Kipling’s famous poem said, “If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs” then you surely have the qualities to lead rather than follow. The question though is whether brands have the vision to see the bigger picture and have the courage to provide their customers with what they crave - professional service delivery in their preferred language, communications channel at a time of their choosing. In my opinion, the UK remains the best location for companies to achieve the optimum customer experience, providing a key competitive differentiator, in both the immediate and longer term.