Consumers will turn their back on a small businesses that fail to offer digital service, according to Small Business Digital Resilience, a study by Moxtra.
Of those polled, 84% will consider seeking an alternative provider if digital capabilities are lacking in certain fields, the study says.
Moxtra surveyed 1,500 small business personnel and 1,500 small business customers in the financial services, legal and real estate fields.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, 40% said digital capabilities were a primary requirement when searching for a small provider.
That has jumped to 52% in the wake of COVID-19.
However, 63% complain that the sheer number of digital technologies is making some tasks more complicated.
At the same time, 48% seek to avoid in-person business when not absolutely necessary. And 43% prefer a mix of digital and in-person service. Only 8% crave more in-person engagement.
But 66% say the pandemic has made them want to use SMBs in the future.
For their part, 92% of SMBS have adopted new technologies during the pandemic, and 64% rated their satisfaction as 4/5 or 5/5.
Moreover, 69% have rated new solutions as very important to customer engagement during the pandemic, versus 31% before the pandemic. And 74% say the same about their impact on business efficiency, compared with 38% prior to the pandemic.
Rating vertical sectors, 71% of financial consumers say the SMBs they used during the pandemic were ready to meet operational changes. And 50% report that their experience was “smooth, seamless and highly sufficient.”
In the legal field, 91% of consumers who used SMB providers during the pandemic were satisfied, but 66% would use one again.
At the same time, 40% of firms have suffered some level of unpreparedness. But 46% have identified new opportunities due to the pandemic.
In the real estate field, consumers say that “returning an email and answering question on the phone quickly and efficiently” would have resulted in a better experience during the pandemic.