Many small businesses these days are looking for ways to improve their revenues and better position themselves for growth in the near future, and it seems that the vast majority of owners who feel this need will do so by increasing their attention to customer service.
Today, 82 percent of small businesses say that they believe customer loyalty is the best way to grow their businesses today, though 66 percent also said they’ll try to focus on online marketing efforts, according to a survey from Constant Contact. Interestingly, half of those polled said that they think a great way to increase the prosperity of their companies was simply to wait for economic recovery. Nearly as many cited a need for skilled employees.
“Eighty-two percent of small businesses reported new customers find them through referrals, meaning satisfied customers are one of the most important drivers of new customer acquisition,” said Gail Goodman, chief executive officer of Constant Contact. “Creating meaningful customer engagement, from attracting new customers to keeping loyal ones happy, remains a top priority.”
A potential disconnect
Interestingly, though, plans to more actively engage customers largely involve doing little apart from “offering a great product or service,” which nine out of 10 owners cited, the report said. In addition, three in five said they wanted to rely more heavily on email marketing to keep in contact with customers, and nearly half also said they’d use social media to do so.
Many may ramp up efforts during the holiday season, though, because more than half believe that new customers gained in the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas will keep coming back, the report said. In all, 31 percent said that they start planning for this busy season two or three months in advance, but nearly as many – 28 percent – also say that they don’t do any planning for this time in advance. Only 41 percent increase in-house marketing during this time, and just 35 percent boosted promotions.
Owners who want to prepare for growth may also do well to ensure that they’re not paying too much for their small business insurance. Doing so can cost companies thousands of dollars annually, so finding more affordable liability insurance, and other types of coverage, may go a long way toward making sure that an independent business is as financially fit as it possibly can be.