C-Suite Fails to Lead Delivery of Quality Customer Service

Majority of employees believe boardrooms put profits before the delivery of a great customer experience.

You may find that it can be difficult to get the entire C-suite within your company on the same customer-centric path, and new research from the Institute of Customer Service has found that you're not alone.

The report, titled "Leading by Example", concludes that most UK CEOs and boards have no understanding of what customers want and ignore experienced frontline employees.

In addition, many fail to lead by example by exhibiting the skills front-line staff judge as vital to the delivery of quality customer service.

SEE ALSO: Winning Customer Advocacy at the C-Level

Based on the views of 650 employees and line managers it also reveals that only half (51 per cent) think their CEO and board are interested in customer insight. Additionally, less than 50 per cent also believe that senior executives understand customer needs.

Only 36 per cent of managers think their senior executives 'actively listen' to customers in an effort to improve service, whilst fewer than half (44 per cent) of frontline staff also feel their ideas are taken on board.

And just 28 per cent of employees said that, in their organisation, a board member has responsibility for customer service. Half (51 per cent) also believe boardrooms 'put profits before the delivery of a great customer experience'.

Jo Causon, CEO of The Institute of Customer Service, said: "If employees suggest that customer needs are not understood in the boardroom, what must customers be feeling?

"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.

Creating C-level customer-centricity

So what steps can you take to create a customer-centric vision at board level?

Key findings from the report suggest that boards need to:

  • create a boardroom language around customer service to reflect business performance, risk and reputational issues;
  • develop reporting metrics based on customer service, so their organisation can be forward-looking rather than simply reporting on financial results; and
  • improve their collaborative and listening skills, so the C-suite is better informed about what customer-facing staff learn and deal with on a daily basis.

SEE ALSO: How to Get Your CEO "on Board" of Your Customer Experience Strategy

In addition, 30 business leaders were asked to provide examples of best practice customer service. They agreed with line managers responding to the survey who suggested that their CEO should:

  • recruit people with the right attitude (53 per cent);
  • invest in better customer service technology (51 per cent); and
  • provide more customer service training for staff (43 per cent).