Bad customer service can be fatal for small businesses, new research suggests.
A study by O2 Business shows 72% of customers will never forgive a small business if they experience poor service from them. And 67% (more than two out of three) will make sure other people know about their bad experience, telling an average of eight friends and family members.
The survey highlights the need for start-ups and small businesses to focus on the needs of their customers and act quickly when they receive complaints or negative feedback. Ignoring criticism and failing to put things right could see you lose customers and cause lasting damage to your reputation.
O2 Business also claims a good website is now essential for all small businesses. And companies need to make sure they are easy to communicate with. Seven out of 10 consumers who took part in the survey said they expect to be able to get in touch with a business quickly and easily. And 20% want to be able to communicate with a business 24 hours a day, for example by sending an email.
The report claims a company’s web and social media presence influences how people view the business.
The poll claims 63% of people see businesses with a website and social media profiles as up-to-date and progressive, while 46% saw them as focused on the customer.
Almost 80% log on to the internet to check out a small business before they decide whether to use them. And one in four say they would not use a company that does not have its own website, making it crucial for small business owners to make sure they have a digital presence.
Paul Lawton, General Manager of SMB at O2, says: “We believe customers should be at the heart of any business, and this includes our own organisation. As the research shows, customer service and the ability to respond and be flexible is a key requirement for small businesses.
“Technology not only helps a business develop strong customer relationships, but also build a credible reputation online. As our research shows, a company’s website or email address is often the first thing a customer sees and first impressions online are as important as they are face to face.”
According to the research, the small businesses people feel are the worst at using technology to communicate with their customers are independent retailers like greengrocers and butchers. Tradespeople and restaurants were next on the list for being the least technologically savvy.
At Bizspace, we make it easy for our clients to keep up with technology. We offer serviced offices, which are ready furnished with the IT and telecoms systems already set up for you so you can start communicating with your customers straight away. Our staff can also provide you with secretarial support to help you maintain a professional image. They will answer the phone for you and greet any guests who visit you in person.
If you work from home but want a more professional image, we offer a virtual office service. This will give you a business address to use and we will handle your mail and answer the phone for you so you won’t risk missing a call from a customer.