NEWS2 July 2015

UK boardrooms ‘out of touch with customers’

News UK

UK — Most UK CEOs and boards “have no understanding of what customers want, yet ignore experienced frontline employees”, according to a report from the Institute of Customer Service (ICS).


The report, Leading by Example, revealed that only 51% of employees and line managers believe that their CEO and board are interested in customer insight. Less than 50% believe that senior executives understand customer needs.

The report is based on the views of 650 employees and line managers. It also suggested that many leaders are failing to set an example by exhibiting the skills that frontline staff judge to be vital to the delivery of quality customer service.

Just 36% of managers believe that their senior executives actively listen to customers in an effort to improve service, while just 44% of frontline staff feel that their ideas are taken on board.

“If employees suggest that customer needs are not understood in the boardroom, what must customers be feeling?” said Jo Causon, CEO of The Institute of Customer Service. “Unless the UK’s C-suite takes the time to analyse customer preferences, behaviour and levels of satisfaction, they should not be surprised if the bottom line is hit as customers go elsewhere.  

“Our research shows that there are many leaders who adopt a customer-centric approach to business strategy, but all boards need to have representatives who either have direct experience of customer service roles.  If such a role doesn’t exist, they need to develop the skills, insight and vision to ensure that the customer is a constant reference point.”