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Small-Business Owners Won’t Put Up with Poor Customer Service

Bad customer service is the most common mistake marketers targeting small businesses make

More than three-quarters of US small-business owners (SBOs) expect their companies to grow this year. And results from a February 2014 study by Cargo and Toluna suggest that marketers should pay attention to their customer service if they’re looking to benefit from such growth.

Nearly half (47.3%) of SBOs said that poor customer service was the most common mistake brands made. Marketers must also make an effort to relate to SBOs: Talking at SBOs (instead of with them), as well as failing to understand their businesses, were also big no-nos, cited by 44.7% and 40.7%, respectively.

Even when marketers win SBOs over, customer service is a must to keep them around. Polling found that bad customer service was the top reason SBOs changed brands or companies they did business with, cited by 17.3%.

Better products, services and support from a new brand ranked second, at 16.7%, and a bad experience took third place, with 14.0% of respondents—both of which can relate at least somewhat to customer service.

Q4 2013 polling by CMO Council and Penton Media found that marketers were struggling with certain aspects of customer service. One-third of senior marketing executives in North America said that managing the customer experience at the point of sale and point of service was a challenge when serving small and medium-sized businesses. However, just 6% said the same when it came to ensuring satisfactory resolutions for customer problems and issues.

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