UK SMEs are getting a raw deal from large service providers, according to a survey released today by Companeo, Europe's leading online purchasing service for SMEs. The survey shows that two thirds of small businesses believe that they are ignored by large service providers and receive poor customer service simply because of their size.
The survey also reveals that poor customer service on the part of large service providers is creating a vicious circle. Sixty-two per cent of SMEs are deterred from working with large service providers because they perceive them to lack interest in their business.
The results are a blow to large organisations' attempting to tap in to the lucrative SME market - there are 4.3 million small businesses in the UK, which contribute more than 50 per cent of the UK's turnover [source:
Federation of Small Businesses, http://www.fsb.org.uk/data/default.asp?id=64&loc=policy].
Andrew Blackwood, UK Country Manager, Companeo, comments: "We've seen a huge number of large organisations acknowledge the value of the SME market and outline new models for servicing it. However, the results of the survey show that the reality of the situation falls far short of the
"In particular, poor customer service is undermining these efforts. No matter how developed its SME channel, if a large enterprise doesn't get the basics right and put an excellent customer service system in place, it will always find it difficult to forge new relationships with the SME market.
"The two groups can be reconciled - but it's up to larger organisations to make SMEs feel valued and show that they really understand their needs and the pressures they're under. For example, 95 per cent of SMEs employ less than five people and will, typically, really appreciate the personal touch - if a large enterprise tailors its customer service accordingly, the relationship is far more likely to grow."