Small Business Survey: Quality of Service and Key Employees Drive Customer Loyalty

Ann Arbor’s DaySmart Software, which provides business management software to small businesses, has released a survey that found consumers of small business services prioritize their patronage based on quality of service and helpful employees.
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graphic depicting consumers' scheduling preferences
Consumers increasingly value the ability to schedule appointments online, according to DaySmart Software. // Image courtesy of DaySmart Software

Ann Arbor’s DaySmart Software, which provides business management software to small businesses, has released a survey that found consumers of small business services prioritize their patronage based on quality of service and helpful employees.

The report was specific to the hair and nail, pet service, spa, and tattoo industries. The survey, taken in February, polled 2,000 U.S. consumers who had visited these types of businesses in the last year, prior to the escalation of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The study revealed 62 percent of consumers believe quality of service is the most important trait when identifying go-to businesses. This is followed by cost (40 percent), convenience, and reputation (both 32 percent).

Once the customer starts feeling comfortable at a given business, 51 percent say it takes 10 visits or fewer to consider themselves regulars.

Findings show that 67 percent of consumers are more likely to be loyal to a particular employee than the overall business. Further, 48 percent say they would follow an employee from a business where they were a regular if they moved to a new business.

“Employees are the heroes of the customer loyalty story, and the keys to unlocking critical benefits such as repeat business, referrals, constructive feedback, and more,” says Jeff Dickerson, CEO of DaySmart Software. “This survey supports the importance in investing in business management software to free up employees from repetitive, time-consuming tasks so they can pay more attention to learning employee preferences and building social rapport. By implementing the right tools, small businesses are investing in their two greatest assets: their team and their customer base.”

Findings also show that 60 percent of consumers would never go to a business again if that business ruined the service they went there for, such as a haircut, manicure, or tattoo. Moreover, 50 percent say they would never go back if an employee was rude to them, and 77 percent are less likely to visit a business again after receiving bad customer service.

According to the survey findings, consumers are pickier when it comes to finding a hairdresser or barber who they are comfortable with than a doctor. They are also picker when choosing a pet kennel or pet daycare than a babysitter or nanny.

About 74 percent of respondents said they are more likely to continue visiting a business if they can use online resources to book appointments. This number jumps to 81 percent for consumers ages 18-23 and 79 percent for consumers ages 24-39.

DaySmart says that as businesses start to reopen, they will have to regain relationships with clients, and business owners and managers will need to emphasize an increase in the quality of their services.

The full report is available for download here.

DaySmart offers Salon Iris, Orchid, 123Pet, and Inkbook software. Its desktop and cloud-based apps are designed for the salon, spa, pet, and tattoo industries.

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