Article 50 is triggered. What next for Britain?
Let’s be honest, both before and since the Brexit referendum, confusion reigned supreme. There was gibberish being flung from both sides of the debate and, as opposed to offering a streamlined user experience, websites that positioned themselves as the place to go to learn about things that profoundly affected us – the British public – simply added to the confusion, offering incomplete information and being openly one-sided.
How will the next 2 years play out?
To this end, it’s unlikely that it will be any different during the next (potentially) 2 years. As talks get underway with European Union officials, followed in the summer by negotiations with other EU countries, we have no idea what we citizens will hear about developments on Teresa May’s seven negotiation principles in her letter to European Council President Donald Tusk, which focused on engaging in sincere cooperation; putting citizens first; working towards a comprehensive agreement; paying attention to the UK’s relationship with the Republic of Ireland; prioritising the biggest challenges and work together to protect and advance shared European values.
Oh yes, and minimising disruption and offering as much certainty as possible.
As if that’s likely.
Once again, as in the run up to the referendum, any consumer feedback that exists will probably be marred with confusion and a weighted view of proceedings, giving the public little satisfaction and doing nothing to diminish disruption or deliver assurance.
Add to that the atmosphere of uncertainty – financial markets initially responded unfavorably and forecasters predict a decline in GDP and rises in inflation and unemployment – and we could be in line for 2 years of ambiguity until the exit strategy is defined and negotiations are completed.
Of course, British businesses – from financial institutions and retail to pharmaceuticals and food production – are already lobbying the Government to ensure their voices are heard during negotiations.
From a retail perspective, consumer spending fuels the economy, so the industry’s number one priority is no new tariffs on EU goods, so, with the end-user in mind – they can avoid price increases.
A British Retail Consortium (BRC) spokesperson said: “There are only so many costs retailers can absorb. They are already dealing with business rates, the National Living Wage and higher import costs due to the weaker pound. Migration is an issue too. Retailers employ about 120,000 EU nationals.”
Best of British
And yet, delve a little deeper and it seems as though – despite uncertainties, hopes and confusion – for the most part we Brits are doing what we do best: putting on a brave face and getting on with things.
Although no one can predict what’s the future holds, compiled by the Institute of Customer Service, the UK Customer Satisfaction Index (UKCSI) earlier in the year revealed that the UK has an average customer satisfaction rating of 77.8%.
This rating pegs UK customer satisfaction as the highest in Europe, compared to France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain and Sweden.
Joanna Causon, Chief Executive of the Institute of Customer Service commented: “This is the first UKCSI to include survey data collected since the Brexit referendum. Customer satisfaction has continued to improve, suggesting that many organisations are performing better on some of the essential elements of customer service, especially in getting things right first time and dealing with problems and complaints. “
All of this is really is great news for British businesses: if we work hard to focus on end user experience monitoring and continue to enhance our customer service capabilities, we can impact on the country’s economic growth by attracting investments and winning international trade, regardless of the outcome of the Brexit negotiations.
So, how do we go about it?
It’s time to forget about the risks posed by the uncertainty of the next two years and seize the opportunities. We need to understand and act on the preferences and ideals of our clients – whether new or existing – and pay exceptional attention to them.
Any insights we achieve from customer comments and data from customer insight feedback should be utilised to design improved product or service offerings and experiences.
Customer service investment has to be key and it is important to retain a strong focus on service and value, delivering what customers want and when and how they want it. Get it right – focus on consumer satisfaction, strengthen your brand and build customer loyalty – and your business has the power to prosper during these uncertain times.
For assistance in understanding and exceeding customer expectations to help your business to flourish, get in touch with The Monachie Project team.