Poor supplier communication sees SMEs taking business elsewhere

man typing on a computer

Suppliers who neglect to review the spelling, grammar and appropriateness of their customer communications risk hurting their relationships with their small business customers, according to a new study.

The study by CR Cards revealed almost 70 percent of the 320 SME owners surveyed regularly received poorly targeted communications from mid-tier suppliers. CR Cards founder Matt Sandford said mid-tier suppliers were chosen as there tends to be a “higher churn rate and less customer loyalty” in that area.

The survey revealed just over 25 percent of business owners took issue with the ‘amateurish design’ of supplier email and mail communication, while almost one third admitted to having seen both their personal and company names spelt incorrectly.

Over 40 percent said the ‘one-size-fits-all’ communication sent en masse by suppliers to be impersonal and ill targeted, and the most common gripe (cited by 43 percent of SMEs) was communication that’s addressed incorrectly or when suppliers attempt to sell a service that’s already been received.

Carelessness by suppliers could lead to a loss of customers, with one-in-five business owners who experienced this considering taking their business elsewhere, while 38 percent admitted to perceiving the offending supplier negatively. Almost 50 percent considered poorly targeted communication indicative of a supplier’s lack of interest in, and understanding of, their business.

“What’s surprising is that it appears these suppliers are neglecting the very basics. Direct mail or email communication can be a fantastic way to stay in touch with clients and build relationships, and, if done correctly, can take minimum effort. However, it appears that lack of care, attention and creativity could be causing more damage than good.” Sandford said.

Conversely, some 25 percent of businesses surveyed would be more likely to engage with a supplier whose communications were relevant and personalised, while a further 35 percent said it showed the supplier cared for their business.

  • No surprise that poor communications adversely affects people’s perception of a business, but would have thought more than 38% would have said so.

    Pretty poor that a third have had their name spelt incorrectly though – that is just poor attention to detail and rude really.