Businesses identify customer service weakness

Four fifths of small businesses feel their customer service could be improved, despite two thirds identifying that responsiveness is the most important factor in their company.

According to a study of 700 managers of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) by Avaya, 68 per cent see responsiveness as the most important factor driving their business decisions today, followed closely (66 per cent) by a desire to build solid customer relationships.

However, 81 per cent of respondents feel their current customer service is not at the level it could be. In addition, more than half (52 per cent) feel they need to improve communications overall with customers and prospects.

The area highlighted by SMEs as most pressing overall in meeting customer demands is finding more effective ways to balance staff resources and skills (48 per cent).

Providing access to staff at more convenient times is a key focus for decision-makers (41 per cent), while almost as many (39 per cent) stress that the quality of service they offer could be improved greatly by enabling customers to access the right expert at the times that suit them.

More than a third (34 per cent) of SMEs acknowledge that offering employees more flexibility in their day to day working hours could be the key.

Avaya EMEA president Michael Bayer says, ‘There is no doubt that in today’s challenging business environment, companies across the board need to go the extra mile to meet and exceed customer expectations.

‘It’s often SMEs that act as the litmus test for the overall direction of the market, so it’s interesting to see that such a vast majority are prioritising responsiveness, customer service and relationships above all else. In today’s fast-moving, increasingly global environment, it’s critical that businesses have the tools and solutions to communicate with and serve customers effectively.’

Related: Customer service is a key differentiator for businesses

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