Like most of us I suspect, I’ve learned more about the steel industry in the last week than I have in a lifetime. For something that provides the fabric of our every day lives, whether it is buildings, clothes, chemicals, cars, lamps or drinks cans – we all depend on it at some point. 

Consumed by the acronym driven lingo of our new economy, we possibly forget that we still possess an enviable prowess in the skills to produce steel. Unless of course you are one of the Tata employees, or part of the extensive supply chain that relies on its continued production; estimated at 40,000 people. 

The media have been relentless in bringing this matter to the fore; the Government have been caught ‘asleep at the wheel’ on this one trying hard to play catch up under the spotlight of 24 hour news. 

Whether it’s a Cabinet meeting or a main board of a large organisation, the challenge of ensuring that all critical issues are addressed is becoming greater; for the Government it is claimed that Brexit has had an unfair share of the pie, whereas for many organisations issues around short-term shareholder value may squeeze out hitherto vital issues about customer feedback. 

When things are ticking along, and/or they are in the ‘too hard pile’, it’s tempting to leave them and focus on the urgent higher profile activities. The sight of the business minister abandoning his Australian trip under media pressure is not too dissimilar to the beleaguered CEO apologising for being awarded the Daily Mail wooden spoon for poor customer service. In each case media pressure and the threat of brand damage and loss of consumer and voter loyalty generally oils the wheels for action, initiatives, projects, no stones left unturned.  

Interestingly this type of reaction costs more than ongoing regular maintenance and development, the costs of temporary nationalisation and sweeteners will surely be greater than taking the necessary actions over the last 10 years. In the same way the costs of emergency customer service overhauls, extensive consultancy reviews and last minute investments will be more than keeping customer service firmly on the board agenda with a dogged determination not to let it get drowned out. 

Recognising the changing nature of business in a more complex ecosystem Kaplan and Norton introduced the Balanced Scorecard back in 1996. Their thinking was that purely financial measures are inadequate for guiding and evaluating the journey that information age companies must make to create future value through investment in customers, suppliers, employees, processes, technology, and innovation. Most organisations and government have their version of a balanced scorecard to direct activity and ensure that risks are mitigated, but many lack the discipline to adhere to their prescription. 

Guided by this principle the CCA network worked together in 2015 to produce a balanced scorecard blueprint of the Global Standard for Customer Service, giving organisations an unobtrusive yet powerful toolkit to ensure that customer service remains on the agenda enterprise-wide and certainly in the boardroom. Anchoring what’s good during times of change, and ensuring that there is accountability and consistency for each route into the organisation sound like common sense; but in fact are a challenge if they are not nurtured daily within an organisation that has the DNA of customer service in the Board. The many organisations who are working towards or who have achieved accreditation report a hugely positive change in focus in terms of bringing together everyone who impacts customer on a common agenda. 

Come to Pearson Vue, a leading global learning organisation who have achieved CCA Global Standard for many consecutive years, on 28 April to find out more