The old adage about ‘first impressions’ really is true, as new research has revealed that over 80% of British consumers feel happier when they purchase goods or services from small and independent businesses, compared to just 53% who buy from large chains.

This comes from a new survey of 2,000 UK adults by Avery WePrint, which presents a consumer trust issue when it comes to dealing with large corporations.

Shockingly, only 6% say that they consider CEOs of large corporations to be ‘trustworthy’. In comparison, small business owners have been described as hard-working (75%) and honest (31%). Customers say they feel valued by small companies and that’s something every business should be trying to emulate

Both large corporations and small businesses need to learn from each other to avoid frustrating their customers, as 58% of Brits say they have experienced poor customer service at the hands of a large chain. The main complaints include ‘unpleasant or rude staff’ (60%), ‘being ignored or forgotten about’ (53%), and ‘impersonal service’ (53%)

So, what can business, large and small do to ensure a satisfied customer?

Firstly, as a business grows it is important not to lose sight of the values and service levels that were there in the beginning.

A personalised service is part of what makes small businesses so popular, so it’s important for companies to take every opportunity to show that they care about their customers’ individual needs – potential consumers can make judgments in less than a second. Every company’s product packaging, business cards and overall presentation has to look the part and communicate high standards.

It’s advisable to use both digital and traditional communication methods to reach customers. It’s not about choosing one over the other, in order to be consistent and gain trust, online and offline need to work together seamlessly.

Lastly, it is worth spending a little time and effort on marketing and branding in the early stages of business, it’s important to develop a brand that can evolve naturally as a business grows.

Services Brits prefer to get from a small business rather than a large corporation or chain:

  • Haircuts (47%)
  • Restaurant meals (41%)
  • Fresh produce (38%)
  • Takeaway coffee (36%)
  • Cards and gifts (31%)

consumer trust