A study of small business owners has revealed that poor customer service from suppliers is hampering their ability to focus on rising costs and inflation.

Small businesses frustrated as suppliers blame poor customer service on pandemic

The research, undertaken by connectivity provider TalkTalk Business, shows that two thirds of SMEs (67%) say they work with a supplier that has blamed poor customer service on the pandemic, despite almost six months passing since the last set of Covid-19 restrictions.

It comes as 8 in 10 small businesses worry they are facing a ‘cost-of-working crisis’, where the cost of doing business threatens the viability of the business itself.

SME owners say that a better standard of customer service from suppliers will enable them to focus on overcoming the financial challenges posed in the current climate. On average SMEs are spending 16 hours a month on the phone to supplier customer service teams, which almost two thirds (62%) say diverts attention away from their core business.

Being on hold (55%), being passed between customers service agents (48%) and not having issues dealt with in one call (44%) are the most common customer service issues SMEs face.

Just 4 in 10 (40%) independent enterprises say that the customer service they receive has improved since the pandemic, while 64% say poor customer service from their suppliers impacts their bottom line.

Small business owners say improvements in customer service would enable them to focus on tackling the cost-of-working crisis. The most commonly cited examples of standout support are:

  • Having issues dealt with efficiently (59%)
  • Speaking to a human customer service representative rather than an automated system (54%)
  • Speaking to the same agent throughout (41%)
  • Receiving friendly service (37%)
  • Speaking to an agent who understands their business (36%)

TalkTalk Business customer Yifat Castle, Owner of Artisan Gelato and Sorbet Company, Mooka in East Hampshire, said:

“As a business that sells a luxury product, we’re apprehensive of what’s to come in the next few months despite a strong start to the year. Our factory is energy intensive, so we know that unfortunately we’re going to be paying higher bills.”

“Good customer service from my suppliers is imperative, so it’s reassuring to know I have it with TalkTalk Business. Speaking to a human to resolve issues quickly is the absolute priority, as it allows me to focus on the things that matter for my customers.”

The research shows that energy, telecoms, and water are the areas where companies are most regularly failing their small business customers.

TalkTalk Business and The Growth Company, an award-winning social enterprise that aims to facilitate growth in the small business sector, have partnered to provide advice to small businesses on how they can secure better customer service from their supplier.

Jonathan Kini, Managing Director, Direct Consumer and B2B, said “The past two years have been incredibly challenging for small businesses, who are the beating heart of our economy. We’re proud to partner with The Growth Company to provide advice to small businesses on how they can secure the best customer support to enable them to focus on the issues that matter.”

“TalkTalk Business strives to offer its small business customers the best value packages on the market, combining fast, reliable connectivity with industry-leading customer service.”

Richard Jeffery, National Director of The Growth Company, said “In these challenging times, it is critical business leaders are able to devote their full time and attention to the core issues surrounding their organisation. This report shows the impact of poor customer service, and the amount of time SMEs spend dealing with it, time which would be better spent focused on their business.”

NEWS RELATED

Column:  The huge political mistake the Jan. 6 committee could easily avoid

Will the Jan. 6 committee issue a “criminal referral” to the Justice Department for Donald Trump? Committee members can’t give an interview without being asked that question. Pundits can’t stop talking about it, cable TV anchors can’t stop asking legal experts for their predictions. It’s nothing less than a ...

View more: Column:  The huge political mistake the Jan. 6 committee could easily avoid

Editorial: The Supreme Court ruling on school prayer deserves a big fat F

Ruling last week in favor of a football coach who insisted on praying on the field, the U.S. Supreme Court threw out 60 years of legal precedent, leaving the nation’s schools in the untenable position of having little recourse to protect students from religious coercion on campus. The court ...

View more: Editorial: The Supreme Court ruling on school prayer deserves a big fat F

Op-Ed: Abortion ban ‘exceptions’ cannot protect life

The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade has already set into motion legal processes to criminalize abortion in at least 15 states, with immediate and catastrophic health consequences for pregnant people. Antiabortion lawmakers argue that the “exceptions” written into many of these laws — most commonly permitting ...

View more: Op-Ed: Abortion ban ‘exceptions’ cannot protect life

Mona Hammond: who was Eastenders’ Blossom Jackson and Desmonds actress dead at 91, cause of death and tributes

Tributes have been pouring in for actress Mona Hammond who has died at the age of 91. The Jamaican-British actress was best known for her role playing Blossom Jackson in the BBC soap EastEnders and also her role as Susu in Desmond’s during the early nineties. The sad news was ...

View more: Mona Hammond: who was Eastenders’ Blossom Jackson and Desmonds actress dead at 91, cause of death and tributes

Actress assault case: Kerala High Court allows state's plea for forensic analysis of memory card

Kerala High Court. ANI Kochi: The Kerala High Court on Tuesday allowed the state’s plea for forensic examination of a memory card containing visuals of the actress assault incident of 2017, but made it clear that this cannot be a reason for prolonging the trial or investigation in the ...

View more: Actress assault case: Kerala High Court allows state's plea for forensic analysis of memory card

Kaali poster row: Indian High Commission in Ottawa urges Canadian authorities to withdraw 'provocative material'

Poster of Kaali. Twitter/@LeenaManimekali Toronto: The Indian High Commission in Ottawa has urged the Canadian authorities to take down all “provocative material” related to a controversial film after it received complaints from leaders of the Hindu Community in this country about the disrespectful depiction of Hindu Gods on the ...

View more: Kaali poster row: Indian High Commission in Ottawa urges Canadian authorities to withdraw 'provocative material'

Still hopeful that rebel MLAs will return, Uddhav Thackeray's Shiv Sena always in talks with them: Sanjay Raut

Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut. ANI Shiv Sena Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut on Tuesday said that his party is “still hopeful” that the rebel Sena MLAs, who joined the Eknath Shinde group, will return to the Uddhav Thackeray’s faction. Invoking a Hindi idiom, Raut said that it is ...

View more: Still hopeful that rebel MLAs will return, Uddhav Thackeray's Shiv Sena always in talks with them: Sanjay Raut

Wimbledon 2022: Activists with Peng Shuai T-shirts searched at All England Club

Activists for Free Tibet pose for the media in T-shirts reading “Where is Peng Shuai” at the Wimbledon Tennis tournament. AP Wimbledon: Four activists wearing “Where is Peng Shuai?” T-shirts were stopped by security at Wimbledon on Monday and had their bags searched. Peng is a retired professional tennis ...

View more: Wimbledon 2022: Activists with Peng Shuai T-shirts searched at All England Club

PV Sindhu receives apology from Badminton Asia Technical Committee for umpiring error

International Bikini Day 2022: Here's five exotic bikini looks of Bollywood actress Sara Ali Khan

The best pubs and bars in Prague

Best UK beaches: 10 hidden shores to enjoy this summer

Parents 'disgusted' as convicted paedophile allowed on grounds of primary school

Portugal changes travel entry rules for Brits ahead of the summer holidays

Horoscopes today - Russell Grant's star sign forecast for Tuesday, July 5

NHS in 'crisis mode' over blood shortages amid fears hospitals will run out

Supermarket 'hacker' mum left with just £27 a week after bills in cost of living crisis

TOWIE's Yazmin Oukhellou and Jake McLean 'in furious club row' moments before fatal crash

Aldi insider reveals five ways to save money - and why you might want to avoid BOGOF deals

Karnataka: Vastu expert Chandrashekhar Guruji stabbed to death in hotel

OTHER NEWS