With small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) representing 99% of all businesses across the continent, according to the European Commission, the research flags huge opportunity to build consumer loyalty by trading on customer service excellence. But aspiring SMEs must be wary of being overly intrusive. 61% of consumers say brands of all sizes should be transparent in what data they collect on them to personalize communications.
Javier Diez-Aguirre, vice president, Corporate Marketing, CSR & Environment, Ricoh Europe, says, “Consumers have infinite choice in how and where they spend their money, with stand-out brands making sure their customers feel valued. Small and medium-sized brands are clearly moving in the right direction, but they must use the quality of their customer service to gain an edge over their larger rivals. This starts with using technology to improve efficiency and speed as well as familiarity with their customers.”
Smarter use of technology to communicate with consumers is clearly a big draw. Only a quarter (27%) of respondents disagree that the best brands, no matter their size, are those that use innovative technology with their customers. However, it seems smaller businesses have a way to go.
Moloney continues, “Research we commissioned looking specifically at medium-sized businesses found that only 36% believe they have improved customer service by using digital technologies. Investing in business intelligence to personalize communications, thereby capturing consumers’ hearts and a larger share of the market, has to be a core focus for this engine room of the European economy.”