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The issue of prestige for frontline service workers (“Want to understand 21st-century power? Look at PizzaExpress”, Opinion, April 7) is critical for the UK’s service economy.

Customer-facing staff account for 61 per cent of the nation’s workforce. They are the very bedrock of our economy, and yet, as your columnist Stephen Bush points out, very few operate in “credentialed” roles.

Failure to take seriously and professionalise service and so-called “soft skills” is now biting many industries hard and holding back our national productivity.

Recent flight cancellations, paralysis of our airports and difficulty submitting electricity readings highlight the scale of lost knowledge and capability caused by pandemic lay-offs.

There is no shortcut to replacing customer skills. There is, however, an opportunity for employers to lock in future productivity gains by showing they value their customer-facing colleagues and engaging in professional training and accreditation of their skills.

Jo Causon
Chief Executive
Institute of Customer Service
London SE1, UK

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