Over 80% of British consumers reported feelings of happiness and contentment when they purchase goods or services from small and independent businesses, compared to just 53% who buy from large chains, according to new research.

This comes from a new survey of 2,000 UK adults by Avery WePrint, during Small Business Advice Week (31st Aug – 6th Sept), that reveals a consumer trust issue when it comes to dealing with large corporations, with only 6% saying they consider CEOs of large corporations to be 'trustworthy'. In comparison, small business owners have been described as hard-working (75%) and honest (31%).

The services that British consumers prefer to get from a small business rather than a large corporation or chain are haircuts (47%), restaurant meals (41%), fresh produce (38%), takeaway coffee (36%) and card and gifts (31%).

Both large and small businesses need to learn from each other so that consumers aren't left frustrated, as 58% of Brits say they have experienced poor customer service at the hands of a large chain. The main complaints of corporations include 'unpleasant or rude staff' (60%), 'being ignored or forgotten about' (53%), and 'impersonal service' (53%).

In line with Small Business Advice Week, Fiona Mills from Avery WePrint gives her tips on how businesses can gain the trust of their consumer:

"Businesses of all sizes can learn from one another, what's important as a business grows is not to lose sight of the values and service levels that were there in the beginning. Customers say they feel valued by small companies and that's something every business should be trying to emulate.

"For example, a personalised service is part of what makes small businesses so popular, so it's important for compaies to take every opportunity to show that they care about their customers' individual needs.

"The old adage about 'first impressions' really is true, potential customers can make judgements in less than a second. This means a company's product packaging, business cards and overall presentation has to look the part and communicate high standards.

"It's also 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."

SBAW-consumer trust

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