Zendesk has released a newly commissioned report titled Big Expectations, Small Businesses: What Customers Want, revealing that small businesses have a distinct advantage over big businesses when it comes to the customer service they provide. In fact, customers are happy to pay more to a small business for this reason alone.
Almost all customers reported clear benefits from working with a small business when compared to a larger company. It’s the small, personal touches that make working with a small business so good. For customers, it comes down to working with someone who knows their specific situation and creates the feeling of having a valued relationship.
Beyond this, customers enjoy working with small businesses as they feel good about supporting smaller organisations and find the relationship convenient. As a result, customers are actively looking for ways to support small businesses. Over two-thirds of customers will find ways to work with small businesses – even when it is less convenient for them.
Amy Foo, Managing Director, Zendesk A/NZ said, “Australia is well known as being a nation that champions the underdog, and it is no different when it comes to purchasing behaviour.
“Small businesses have a unique advantage in the personalised, earnest customer service they provide, giving them the one up on larger businesses. By maintaining a focus on providing positive and unique experiences, small businesses have a great opportunity to be competitive against bigger, more well-known competitors,” Foo added.
With almost all Australians reporting a good customer experience with small businesses, this has a big impact on behaviour. Nine out of ten customers will positively change their buying behaviour following a good customer experience – by buying more or recommending a brand to friends and family.
While this is a clear advantage for small businesses, customers have now come to expect a high level of customer service. To meet these high expectations, business owners should ensure they are communicating with customers when, how and where they want.
Digital channels like social media, live chat and texting have become increasingly popular methods of communication. Yet, small business customers still show a preference to look for self-service options before reaching out. Making it easy for customers to answer their own questions is the first step in providing good customer service.
“One thing is clear – it’s not just about providing the best experiences for the customer. Small businesses should also be thinking about their front-line employees. Armed with the right tools and resources to have a complete view of the customer, they will be empowered and enabled to create better customer experiences,” Foo said.