Customer service critical for success

Going the extra mile in customer service is a must for small businesses, finds poll

Competition around customer service is set to intensity, according to the new Sage Business Index survey.

The survey, conducted on more than 10,000 business owners across Europe, North America, Africa and Asia, suggested that:

  • more than half of surveyed companies have improved their customer service in the past 12 months in an attempt to win new business
  • two-thirds of those that had increased their turnover in the last six months said that going the extra mile in customer service was more important than everĀ 

The poll also found that over half of small businesses interviewed felt that good customer service was becoming more necessary as a means of standing out from competitors. Four in ten small business owners stated they were increasing their customer service budget to improve their offer this year.

Among those who said they had no intention of spending more on improving customer service, 70 per cent said they had already met or exceeded customer expectations, while 14 per cent admitted that improving service levels was not their priority.

Competing in a buyer’s market

Gary Young, head of customer operations at Sage UK, said that: “Any company that takes a laissez faire attitude to customer service is seriously hampering its ability to compete in today’s environment. Consumers know it’s a buyer’s market and they, quite rightly, want more than just a product when they make a purchase. They want the company to recognise and treat them as an individual and for the business to prove that they value their custom by going the extra mile on their behalf. Delivering an extraordinary customer experience used to be the exclusive preserve of small businesses, but over the coming months we’re going to see more and bigger businesses encroach in this space as firms seek to win the hearts and minds of consumers.”