Improvements in delivery service and online ordering helped win customers over to shopping with smaller, local retailers during the height of the pandemic, according to new research.
It showed that the improvements were key factors in customers believing that small businesses had improved customer service during the pandemic with nearly half (48%) of UK customers saying this had happened.
In contrast, over a third (35%) of UK consumers thought large businesses had got worse at customer service. As such, they plan to extend the local shopping boom with priorities for spend including shopping for clothing, accessories or at shopping centres (41%).
Consumers around the world largely showed empathy for brands during the pandemic, with 32% saying they were patient with those offering slow customer service or fulfilment and one in four (25%) claiming they were extra kind or complimented a customer service representative. By contrast over a quarter (27%) of UK consumers said they were already sick of Covid-related excuses, or never accepted them in the first place.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has driven a customer service upheaval among the small business community, as a crucial segment of the economy strives to diversify how they reach customers,” said John Crossan, vice president and general manager, Europe, at Freshworks who commissioned the study. “This is leading to a resurgence in the high street and traditional town centres, as bricks and mortar businesses develop new digital engagement to complement their in-person offerings.”