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UK SMEs Show Their Flexibility by Pivoting Again in the Face of Rising Customer Expectations

American Express

New research from American Express reveals that three-quarters (75%) of small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) are pivoting again in response to shifting consumer expectations brought on by the challenging economic environment by strengthening their customer relations and services.  

As a result of rising cost of living pressures, six in 10 (60%) of UK SMEs say that consumer expectations are increasing, with over half (52%) stating customers are increasingly driven by price, and over two-thirds (68%) reporting that customers are looking for ways to cut back on spending.  

The research, conducted by Opinium on behalf of American Express and Small Business Saturday, found that SMEs are proving agile in response to this challenge, most notably by diversifying their customer offer (54%), improving customer communication (37%), and providing additional services (30%). Around a quarter (23%) plan to launch more special offers. Furthermore, exactly half of SMEs say they are more focused on broadening their customer base rather than increasing spending from existing customers. 
Aside from the impact on their customers, SMEs are also mindful of the ongoing effect of rising prices on their own operations. More than half (52%) state that the rising costs of goods, services and energy present the biggest challenge to the running of the business in the next six months. Over a quarter (28%) are looking at additional ways to improve their cashflow as a result.