jo causon quote web

This week’s ‘divorce deal’ discussions between Theresa May and EU leaders have brought speculations about the post-Brexit business landscape back to the fore.

The pound is falling in value - which means goods brought in from outside the UK will cost more - so it should come as little surprise that an Institute of Customer Service survey has found that two-fifths of Brits intend to buy from British businesses once a full Brexit occurs.

This loyalty presents an opportunity for UK food retailers. The key way to achieve this is not only through their ranges but by understanding the needs of their customer, and making it easy for people to do business with them.

UK retailers are currently faring well - our European Customer Satisfaction Index found the UK has the best customer service in Europe, with the retail (food) sector ranked higher than any other sector measured.

However, the UK score for customer trust was below the EU average. Following a range of high-profile issues that have damaged trust - from horsemeat to misleading pricing tactics - Brexit offers an opportunity for British retailers to rebuild it.

Our UK Customer Satisfaction Index finds a correlation between customer satisfaction and trust. The data also shows a clear correlation between organisations who ‘get it right first time’ when interacting with customers, and their overall UKCSI score.

That requires greater insight about customer behaviour, priorities, needs and preferences. Yet to glean insight, organisations need to persuade customers to share personal data. Trust is, therefore, the essential ingredient linking customer experience and insight. Investing in employees’ knowledge, emotional intelligence and problem solving skills is central to bridging any gap that exists. If customer-facing staff have the appropriate skills it improves the chances of building trust, and with it, loyalty and spend.

The British public understands its custom will make or break UK business and will stand by home-grown industries. Retailers need to repay this reawakened allegiance with excellent customer service from start to finish.

Jo Causon is the CEO of the Institute of Customer Service