Infographic: Small Business Customers Have Big Expectations

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The small businesses of today face some pretty big challenges. According to “Small Businesses: Then & Now” by Constant Contact, 59% of small businesses surveyed say that it's harder to run a small business today than it was five years ago, citing the economy (55%), keeping up with technology (49%), and more direct competitors (40%) as some of their major obstacles. Customer retention and acquisition also pose problems for these businesses; 75% of small businesses list finding new customers, having enough time (65%), and retaining customers (58%) as primary concerns.

Although customer acquisition is at the forefront of small business owners' minds, they appear to be split on the ease of finding new customers.  According to the study, while 35% of small businesses think finding customers is harder today than it was five years ago, 35% believe that it's about the same, and 30% actually believe it's easier. Those who believe that finding customers is more difficult today cite customers paying less attention to marketing (49%), more direct competition (45%), and more expensive to “do” marketing (23%) as their greatest challenges. On the flip side, those who say finding customers has gotten easier say more affordable online marketing tools (53%), time-saving marketing tools (40%), and customers responding to marketing (28%) have lightened their loads.

However, small businesses agree that customers are setting their expectations higher. In fact, 63% of small businesses surveyed believe that their customers have higher expectations than they did five years ago. So why are customers setting their expectations so high? According to the study, 71% of small businesses say their customers expect more value, 48% say they want better customer service, and 44% say they expect more deals and coupons. 

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