UK Boardrooms are out of touch with customer needs

In a report called ‘Leading By Example’, it was found that only 51 per cent of employees and line mangers think their CEO and Board are interested in customer insight.

In addition to this, less than half believed that their senior executives understand customer needs, and only 36 per cent of managers think their senior executives ‘actively listen’ to customers in an effort to improve service.

Worryingly, only 44 per cent of frontline staff also feel that their ideas are taken on board.

Employees also raise concerns that customer needs are not taken seriously enough.  Only 28 per cent say that, in their organisation, a Board member has taken responsibility for customer service, and half (51 percent) also believe Boardrooms ‘put profits before the delivery of a great customer experience’.

Jo Causon, CEO of The Institute of Customer Service, believes that the statistics may cause businesses to lose customers.

“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.

“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.”

The research was compiled of the views of 650 employees and line managers, as well as 30 business leaders which were interviewed to provide examples of best practice customer service.