EDITOR ’ S QUESTION
MARTIN BROWN , CCO AT FM OUTSOURCE
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 critical to small businesses ’ on-going success . Not only to retain customers , but also in attracting new ones .
The cost of doing business 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 .
Early-stage businesses , in particular , may not recognise the necessity or value of having a customer service function . They may have experienced some customer enquiries , but not on a large scale yet . This means too often that small business founders take on the role of customer service agent themselves , creating more tasks for their already lengthy job list . Consequently , the business is unable to give customer service the care and attention it deserves .
An outsourced customer service team can fill this role . Having a highly trained and wellprepared team available on a flexible basis offers protection to small businesses .
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
Using an outsourced team means the founder doesn ’ t need to take full responsibility for customer care or employ and hire someone specifically for the role . Instead , they can enjoy peace of mind that if an enquiry comes in , it will be handled efficiently .
Tech-enabled customer services can also play a pivotal role in small business operations . Using technology – carefully and appropriately – can allow for a greater volume of customer requests to be dealt with in a shorter space of time .
By using an outsourced service , alongside implementing the correct technology , small businesses can give customers the care they deserve to maintain satisfaction and encourage new customers . x www . intelligentcxo . com