Intelligent Issue 29 | Page 41



How can small businesses effectively cope


To cope with the challenging economic environment , small and medium enterprises need to strengthen their customer relations and services to help them stand out from the crowd . Martin Brown , CCO at FM Outsource , explains in this article how efficient customer service will lead to business growth and should not be ignored . But it doesn ’ t have to be taken on by a member of the team and can be outsourced , on a flexible basis .
HE COST OF doing business

T is rising with fuel , wages , raw materials and energy all continually increasing . This is , unfortunately , resulting in a high number of corporate insolvencies , with levels reaching 1,964 in December . That is 32 % higher than the same month in 2021 .

As small businesses continue to feel financial strain , maintaining good customer relationships is paramount . In fact , research shows that 75 % of small- and medium-sized businesses are seeking to strengthen their customer relations and services to cope with the challenging economic environment .
The importance of customer service
Small businesses should not underestimate the role customer service has in brand reputation . When we asked 1,000 people for the factors that are most likely to have a positive impact on their perception of a brand , efficient customer service was the most widely cited response , with half ( 50 %) of respondents valuing it most highly .
There is a tendency among businesses of all sizes to treat customer service as an additional overhead , rather than an integral growth opportunity . However , there is a powerful ripple effect that a positive or negative customer service interaction can have on a business ’ s reputation .
Poor customer service can have a huge impact on customer retention : our research shows that nearly half ( 47 %) of consumers have stopped purchasing from a brand altogether due to a negative customer service interaction . This can be crippling for a small business .
Considering the challenging business landscape ahead , protecting reputation will be
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