Belfast Telegraph

Smile - and keep your customer

A smile and a friendly greeting can make consumers feel loyal towards small and independent companies, according to new research.

People are willing to pay more for a product from a small and medium-sized firm (SME) rather than deal with a large, corporate retailer, suggested a study by Kingston University and Barclays Bank.

Three out of five feel loyal towards small and independent retailers if they are greeted with a smile, a survey of more than 2,000 adults showed.

Professor Robert Blackburn, from the Small Business Research Centre at Kingston University, said: "SMEs are in a unique position to embrace these traditional values of loyalty and should consciously build on their natural competitive advantage of being a smaller business as this can make a real difference to business survival and growth."

Sue Hayes, managing director of Barclays Business Banking, said: "This research shows just how important loyalty is and how something as simple as a smile and a friendly hello, or remembering a customer's order can help the profitability of SMEs."

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