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PiRA Judge: Jo Causon of The Institute of Customer Service

We are delighted to welcome Jo Causon, CEO of the Institute of Customer Service, as our latest judge for the People in Retail Awards. With over… View Article


PiRA Judge: Jo Causon of The Institute of Customer Service

We are delighted to welcome Jo Causon, CEO of the Institute of Customer Service, as our latest judge for the People in Retail Awards.

With over a decade of leadership at the helm of the Institute, Jo has steered its growth, achieving a remarkable 150% membership increase and establishing the UK Customer Satisfaction Index as a national benchmark. Her extensive background includes key roles at Aviva plc, Aegon UK, and director positions in brand consulting, policy development, and research. Jo’s emphasis on the vital connection between employee engagement, customer service, and organisational performance makes her a distinguished addition to our judging panel.

What inspired you to become a judge for the People in Retail Awards?

I was inspired to take part in the judging panel for the People in Retail Awards because of its commitment to recognising and uplifting our service heroes who work tirelessly to set high standards across every service-focused industry. Here at The Institute of Customer Service, one of the four key pillars we build our Service Nation agenda upon is ‘Customer Service as a Respected Profession’. A vital part of promoting this respected profession is by acknowledging and awarding the gamechangers, movers, and shakers within the industry – and I am proud to be part of a judging panel of talented leaders who will no doubt choose some fantastic winners.

What role do rewards and recognition, particularly through awards like this, play in the retail industry, and why do you think they are important?

Awards like this are key in celebrating customer service achievements – both within the industry and to the wider consumer. According to our research at The Institute, only 39% of UK consumers believe customer service is a respected profession. This number needs to be higher, and highlighting the achievements of our best and brightest plays an important role in changing perceptions.

We are also in a challenging time for UK businesses – customer service is under pressure, with The Institute’s latest UK Customer Service Index showing customer satisfaction is at its lowest level since 2015. Investment in people, engagement, and retention will be a key factor in turning this around, and strong awards entries should be a part of this investment.

In your perspective, how integral are people to the success of a business, and why do you believe focusing on individuals is crucial?

People, particularly those who are the face of your business, are integral to your success. Around 60% of the UK’s workforce is employed in customer-facing roles, with a large chunk working in retail. Keeping this workforce happy, engaged, and wanting to stay with your business not only improves their working lives, but it improves your bottom line – reducing staff churn and increasing customer satisfaction.

Recognising the accomplishments of individuals both internally and externally is crucial to any strong employee engagement campaign, creating a positive environment for staff and a drive to go above and beyond in their roles.

What criteria or qualities are you particularly looking for when evaluating nominations for the People in Retail Awards?

I will be looking for several key things when evaluating nominations. Firstly, I will look for a strong and concise story that highlights the passion and innovation of the entrants involved. I will also be reviewing based on a clear understanding of the brief and criteria, and how the submission relates back to it at each point.

And importantly, I will evaluate based on measurable or tangible results for the business based on the actions of the entrants.

Any advice or top tips for companies entering?

I have a few pieces of advice, and the first one seems like a no-brainer – but always read and reread the criteria. Ensure you are providing the right data, insights and measurables, but also crafting a narrative to go alongside your proof points.  Don’t underestimate the length of time you will need ahead of the deadline and leave time for internal info gathering and approvals. Finally, remember that the judging panels are human like you, and are looking to connect with your story emotionally.


To find out more, visit The People in Retail Awards 2024.




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