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In the first half of 2016 the number of outsourcing contracts agreed by local authorities increased by 50% on a year-on-year basis, according to Local Gov. Many local authorities were affected quite severely by the government cuts in the 2015 Spending Review and, it would seem, they are turning to outsourcing as the solution to reduced resources. With outsourcing contracts in the United Kingdom now amounting to £3.91bn in total, this is an industry which continues to rise rapidly.

But, despite its positive cost-saving capabilities, Gary Baker, Customer Service Excellence Assessment Manager at SGS United Kingdom Ltd., believes that outsourcing can sometimes have negative implications to an organisation if not monitored correctly. “During outsourcing your operations become harder to regulate, and it can be easy for the quality of customer service to diminish,” says Gary. “It is important to remember that customers do not always differentiate between you and your outsourced departments, so any negative experience will reflect entirely on your organisation.”

Recent polls have suggested that only 22% of the public think major outsourcing firms are motivated by providing the best service to the public - while 80% think that this should be important to them. However, as strategy becomes increasingly cost-focused, the headache of balancing the books whilst delivering exceptional customer service continues to plight local authorities.

Offering the customer a seamless journey can be a really tough task when integrating services,” says Gary, “however, this does not mean that organisations should lose focus of it, and should instead look at formalised ways to ensure that their end-to-end service is to their own high standards.”

One way that organisations, including both local authorities and major outsourcers, are ensuring that their customers are receiving a consistent and high-quality service is through the Government led Customer Service Excellence (CSE) standard.

“We’re seeing an increasing number of organisations, public and private, take to CSE as a means of sustaining great customer service across their services,” says Gary. “For public organisations, it’s a great means of ensuring that the services that are being outsourced are consistent with their expectations. For private organisations, such as outsourcers, this helps provide them with a competitive edge, separating them from rivals when competing for contracts”.

SGS has gained extensive experience from undertaking hundreds of customer service assessments and strategic customer service training sessions. Using this information, SGS is able to help organisations consider the full customer journey when developing and implementing outsourced contracts.

This valuable knowledge and understanding has been incorporated into a free-of-charge breakfast seminar that SGS has recently announced. The seminar will address the importance of CSE in the current outsourcing market and the effect that this has on the customer journey.

Taking place on 14 October 2016 at the state-of-the-art Network Rail training facilities in Coventry, the seminar will look at how an organisation can gain a competitive edge through their improved customer journey, as well as how organisations can stay ahead of the curve in the current outsourcing landscape.

With successful implementation to Customer Service Excellence, organisations are able to deliver a robust, tried and tested and customer focussed approach,” says Gary Baker. “By working in collaboration to a set of agreed customer standards, organisations can increase their customers’ confidence in them, in turn strengthening and extending partnership arrangements.”   

The breakfast seminar will also provide delegates with a networking opportunity, in which they will be able to discuss the topics of the day with their peers, as well as the opportunity to hold a one-to-one consultancy with an SGS Customer Service expert.

To book your space at the breakfast seminar, and for more information on the morning, please head to


SGS is the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company.  SGS is recognized as the global benchmark for quality and integrity.  With more than 85,000 employees, SGS operates a network of over 1,800 offices and laboratories around the world.