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UK Productivity: how great service generates sustainable delivery

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The Institute of Customer Service, of which Peace is the ONLY UK recruitment consultancy to be a member, has just produced some really interesting research, looking at productivity in a service context and examining the perspectives of senior managers, employees and customers. They examine how organisations have sought to improve both their productivity and customer satisfaction and  recommend a framework to plan action and measure performance.  

With 80% of UK GDP generated by the service sector, improving service productivity needs to be at the forefront of the wider debate about how to encourage sustainable growth. Productivity in the UK is on average lower than in many other advanced economies. After the financial crisis in 2008, productivity fell and has been slow to recover.

Service productivity has distinctive features which impact on business performance.  It has wide and varied inputs including different sets of employees, premises, information and technologies, which may change over time

We  need to note the diistinctive role of customers as influencers on organisations’ productivity – through their interactions with organisations and word of mouth to other customers. This means that there is a key relationship between quality and productivity.  From our perspective at Peace, this is crucial.  That's why we introduced our 'Rate my Recruiter' scheme, which allows clients and candidates to mark each of our consultants for the quality of their service.  At the time of writing, I'm pleased to say that we are averaging 8.7 out of 10 from our clients and 8.9 out of 10 from our candidates. 

This ties in with several of the Institute's key findings, namely the importance of "Measuring customers’ perception of quality as key outputs" and "Evaluating service productivity not just in terms of transactional activities but in the context of the overall value of customer engagement."

One other interesting aspect of this research is that it identifies “hidden costs” related to productivity issues.  For example, employees spend an average of 2.2 days month dealing with issues caused by suppliers and an average of 2.6 days per month dealing with consequences of their organisation getting something wrong for a customer.  The estimated cost to the UK economy of this is over £10 billion per month

The full report makes fascinating reading and can be found at this link.

Chris Peace, MD, Peace Recruitment


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