A joint release with Sheffield Hallam Universi

Customer service - a key to business success?

On May 14th Sheffield Hallam University's School of Business and Finance will host the Sheffield Management Lecture, a key annual event in the regional business calendar. This year's topic, Competitive Advantage through Customer Service, uses a powerful real-world example to reflect the increasing emphasis successful companies are giving to the need to deliver superior customer service. Attendees will hear how doing so can differentiate an organisation and develop long term profitable relationships in both the private and public sectors.

The lecture will be delivered by Philip Williamson, the Chief Executive of Nationwide Building Society, recently heralded as the UK customer service champion by Unisys and Management Today magazine, having won the overall 2002 Service Excellence Award for its outstanding service differentiation and delivery.

Organised jointly by Sheffield Hallam University and the University of Sheffield, and sponsored by Sheffield First for Investment, the Sheffield Management Lecture - now in its eighth year - offers managers in the region the opportunity to hear an influential person from the private, public or governmental sector talking about a highly topical issue. The lecture series encourages debate about the issues being presented, and provides an invaluable opportunity to network with up to 400 fellow senior managers from regional organisations.

Colin Gilligan, Professor in Marketing at Sheffield Hallam University said:

"Over the years the Sheffield Management Lecture has proved to be a stimulating and informative event, regularly attracting over 300 guests from regional organisations. Philip Williamson is the latest in a line of notable keynote speakers who have included John Bridgeman, the then Director of the Office of Fair Trading, Mary Chapman, Director General at the time of the Institute of Management, and more recently Professor Jim Norton, Executive Chairman of Deutsche Telecom.

"This year's lecture offers the opportunity to hear how Nationwide's passion for customer service excellence has differentiated them in an extremely competitive market, and how they continue to apply the learning they gained through the Unisys / Management Today awards for the benefit of both the organisation and their members.

"Issues such as how they measure the commercial value of service and whether they can see a link in to the bottom line, as well as the importance of employee retention, will also form part of the discussion."

There is no charge for the lecture, which will take place in the evening. To reserve a place please contact Teresa Corcoran on 0114 225 5101, or email T.Corcoran@shu.ac.uk.

For further information: Please contact Jeanette Newcombe on 0114 2221032 or email mediateam@sheffield.ac.uk.