Survey conducted by AXA Business Insurance shows that, in enterprise, size isn’t everything
Given the nature of our publication, it’s unsurprising that we’re unabashed champions of smaller companies. A strong part of that is our conviction that small enterprises are able to deliver a disruptive service that can outstrip multinational corporations. Well, AXA Business Insurance has offered some vindication for those in our field, with the news that three times as many consumers would rather use a small enterprise for products and services when they match corporations on price and convenience.
According to research conducted by the enterprise-facing wing of the insurer, the most significant factor that attracts consumers to larger organisation is their longer opening hours. Whilst price is listed as the second most influencing factor, the public aren’t as fickle as all that and are prepared to pay up to 5% more when purchasing from a small business, showing that there is clearly something more to a valued service than just rock bottom prices.
In key areas, the research demonstrated that small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are trouncing their larger brethren in the public’s perception. Three-quarters of those spoken to felt that customer service was better with smaller businesses, offering a more personal point of contact. Even more astonishing was the revelation that consumers feel SMEs are almost three times as likely to offer quality services or goods and nearly four times as likely to treat their employees well. Clearly then, running a small business offers extra opportunities to edge out competition from more doughy rivals.
Darrell Sansom, managing director at AXA Business Insurance, commented: “While much of this may come as no surprise to SMEs, we do think that there are some real positives for small business that come out of this research and also some areas where many small businesses could make themselves more competitive."
Whilst the research does reveal that, over the last five years, consumer spend on goods and services from SMEs has declined, it’s probable that this is the result of the economic downturn. And now we’ve gone back into a growth phase, it seems the UK’s SMEs are in a prime position to clean up from the special place they hold in their customers’ hearts.